UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods

In 1988, the United Nations ratified the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). This treaty forms a binding agreement among nations by establishing international trading rules with countries that have ratified the treaty. These countries agree that, in general, CISG rules become a part of that country’s laws.
 
The CISG treaty addresses issues such as how agreements are interpreted, how changes to agreements can be made, and the obligations of both importers and exporters.
 
As of 2018, there were 89 countries within the treaty. Note that the CISG covers only goods, not services. And although attorneys can draft contracts under CISG guidelines, you and your counterparty aren’t required to do so. You can even agree that the CISG does not apply at all.
 

Game Plan

  • The United Nations CISG site provides even more details.
  • If you’re about to enter a contract with an international trading partner, decide whether the CISG should apply. An attorney who specializes in this area can help. You can find a list of attorneys who specialize in international trade at Lawyers.com.
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