United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Vienna, Austria
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 01/01/1988

Category

Contracts

Sub category

Sale of Goods

Groups

OPENESS TO MTRSUNCITRAL

What is it about?

This Convention establishes a comprehensive code of legal rules governing the formation of contracts for the international sale of goods. The Convention is divided into four parts. Part One deals with the scope of application of the Convention and the general provisions. Part Two contains the rules governing the formation of contracts for the international sale of goods. Part Three deals with the substantive rights and obligations of buyer and seller arising from the contract. Part Four contains the final clauses of the Convention concerning such matters as how and when it comes into force, the reservations and declarations that are permitted and the application of the Convention to international sales where both States concerned have the same or similar law on the subject.

Why is it relevant?

The present Convention provides uniform rules that govern contracts for the international sale of goods by taking into account the different social, economic and legal systems. It contributes to the removal of legal barriers in international trade and promotes the development of international trade.

Additional Information

Preparation of a uniform law for the international sale of goods began in 1930 at the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) in Rome. After a long interruption in the work as a result of the Second World War, the draft was submitted to a diplomatic conference in The Hague in 1964, which adopted two conventions, one on the international sale of goods and the other on the formation of contracts for the international sale of goods. Almost immediately upon the adoption of the two conventions there was widespread criticism of their provisions as reflecting primarily the legal traditions and economic realities of continental Western Europe, which was the region that had most actively contributed to their preparation. As a result, one of the first tasks undertaken by UNCITRAL on its organization in 1968 was to enquire of States whether or not they intended to adhere to those conventions and the reasons for their positions. In the light of the responses received, UNCITRAL decided to study the two conventions to ascertain which modifications might render them capable of wider acceptance by countries of different legal, social and economic systems. The result of this study was the adoption by diplomatic conference on 11 April 1980 of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, which combines the subject matter of the two prior conventions.

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