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1. What is the binding legal power of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) adopted in Vienna in 1980?
The convention has the binding power of a law for the parties that have the headquarters located in states that are signatories. Yet, article 6 indicates the fact that the provisions of the Convention have a facultative character. This means that the parties in a contract can choose not to have the entire Convention or parts of it apply to the contract. The choice of not having the provisions of CISG apply to the contract is done only by explicit specifications in the contract (contractual clauses to this purpose) or in an implicit manner (another regulation applicable to the contract is indicated.)
Therefore, pay attention! If the country where the headquarters of your company is, signed the CISG and you did not expressly specified in the contract (explicitly or implicitly) that you exclude the applying of its provisions, the provisions of CISG have the power of a law.
Dan Livescu

2. What is better in the case of an international contract: to have the provisions of CISG apply to it or to exclude their being applied?
It depends on the particular features of your business. Keep in mind: in business in general and in international business even more, TRUST PLAYS A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE. Applying the provisions of an international convention, which contains uniform clauses and was adopted by a great number of states, CREATES TRUST. The partner will be easier convinced of your good intentions. Thus, blockages in concluding a business will be avoided.
Dan Livescu

3. In what cases do the CISG provisions apply?
According to art.1, (1): "This Convention applies to contracts of sale of goods between parties whose places of business are in different States;
(a) when the States are Contracting States; or
(b) when the rules of private international law lead to the application of the law of a Contracting State"
A few clarifications:
Before they conclude the contract, the parties must be aware of the fact that the headquarters are in different states.(Article 1, paragraph 2)
Contracting states, in the sense of the CISG, means the signatory states. (art.91).
Some states do not accept the criterion under letter b). These states are specified in the list of UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law)
Dan Livescu

4. Do the provisions of CISG apply in the case of a contract on the selling of goods made with a US partner?
Yes, they do. The Convention has been applying in the USA since 1988.
Dan Livescu

5. What are the signatories of CISG (United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods - Vienna 1980)?
According to the data provided by UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) by November 2, 2000, the Convention on Contracts For The International Sale of Goods (Vienna 1980) had been signed by 59 states: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Chile, China, Kirghizstan, Croatia, Cuba, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Switzerland, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Iraq, Italy, Yugoslavia, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Norway, New Zealand, Holland, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Sweden, USA, Ukraine, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zambia.
Dan Livescu

6. CISG uses the term "goods" when specifying the object or when regulating. Does the term "goods" apply to the selling of services, too?
CISG does not define the term "goods". There are, however, elements that make us consider that the term applies only to the trading of mobile goods. Precisely:

  • Article 3, point 2: "This Convention does not apply to contracts in which the preponderant part of the obligations of the party who furnishes the goods consist in the supply of labour or other services "
  • Comment on the CISG made by the UN Secretariat.
  • The spirit of the Convention; the manner it approaches the issues related to the trading of goods.
    Dan Livescu

    7. Is the written form mandatory in the case of an international contract to which the CISG applies?
    According to Article 11 of CISG: "A contract of sale need not be concluded in or evidenced by writing and is not subject to any other requirement as to form. It may be proved by any means, including witness."
    However, it is highly recommended, even more than in the case of a domestic contract, that it be concluded in the written form.
    Dan Livescu
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