On June 25th, an international symposium was held in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The event is co-hosted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM), China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), and China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC). Lu Pengqi, Vice Chairman of the CCPIT, Li Yongsha, Director General of the Department of Treaties and Laws of the MOFCOM, attended the opening ceremony and delivered a speech. Anna Joubin-Bret, Secretary-General of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), delivered a keynote speech via video. Wang Chengjie, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of CIETAC, presided over the opening ceremony.
Lu Pengqi pointed out that since its adoption in 1980, CISG has gone through 40 years of ups and downs, and established a modern and fair international goods sales contract system, which provides an important basis for enhancing the legal certainty of international trade and reducing transaction costs. In the face of the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing uncertainty and instability of the world economy, the Chinese arbitration community should work with UNITRAL and colleagues around the world to promote the application of CISG and further study and improve it, keep up with the demands of economic globalization and high-quality development of the times, and uphold and strengthen international cooperation and establish a stable order for international economic development. China’s arbitration community should speed up the research and judgment of new legal issues, enhance the new impetus for the development of international trade and dispute settlement rules, promote the wider application of CISG, and create more space for international dispute settlement. He added that standing at a new and higher starting point in history, it is imperative to push for new development of the CISG, firmly uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core, and accelerate the construction of a more stable and win-win international economic and trade order and governance system.
Li Yongsha said that over the past 40 years, the CISG has been widely applied in international trade practices and provided useful guidance for the legislative and judicial processes of various countries. China joined the CISG in the country’s early days of reform and opening up, which demonstrates its desire to open up to and integrate with the rest of the world. At the same time, it also promotes the internationalization process of China’s legal system, and has a far-reaching impact on its legislative and judicial practice. China will continue to deepen cooperation with UNITRAL and other international organizations with an open and positive attitude, and make new contributions to the formulation and improvement of international economic and trade rules, so that economic globalization can develop in a more open, inclusive and mutually beneficial direction.
Anna Joubin-Bret said in her keynote speech that the CISG has played a huge role in promoting the unification and coordination of trade laws and regulations and has become one of the most influential uniform legal documents in the world. China is one of the early signatories of the CISG and has flexibly applied its provisions to the domestic contract law and the latest civil code. The CIETAC has taken the lead in applying CISG in case trials and making contributions to the application and improvement of CISG. UNITRAL hopes to demonstrate through this symposium the advantages of the CISG to all countries in the world, especially non-contracting states, so that the scope of application of the CISG can be further expanded.
At the seminar, Wang Chengjie delivered a special report on the application of the CISG to arbitration in China. In his report, he fully affirmed CISG’s positive role in establishing a modern, unified and fair system of contracts for the international sale of goods, and introduced in detail CISG’s close ties with China and Chinese arbitration. In addition, he also summarized the rich practice of CISG in the trial of cases, and conducted in-depth analysis on its application, contract validity, contract execution, electronic data and other key issues. He also said that in the future, the CIETAC will make unremitting efforts to improve the applicability of CISG, explore the transparency and sharing of CISG relevant cases, and promote the wide application of CISG worldwide.
In order to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the adoption of CISG, CIETAC organized the publication of its Chinese and English versions that are applicable in arbitration in China, which were officially released at this symposium.
At the conference, representatives from international organizations and “Belt and Road” countries, well-known legal professionals and dispute resolution experts from home and abroad centered around four themes “Experiences and Challenges of Application of CISG in China”, “CISG-Right Solution for B&R Trade Disputes”, “E-CISG” and “Dispute Settlement Regarding Sales of Goods”. The discussions aim to share the latest practical results of the CISG in the settlement of disputes over international sales of goods.
Xie Changqing, Vice President of the CIETAC Arbitration Council, delivered a speech at the closing ceremony, stating that the CISG has provided a solid guarantee for the rapid development of international trade. Facing the complex international trade pattern, it is urgent to strengthen the building of international legal environment. The CIETAC stands ready to deepen cooperation with UNITRAL to jointly promote the development of international dispute settlement and contribute to the prosperity and stability of the world economy.
The 40th anniversary commemoration is aimed at summarizing the successful experience of CISG application in China, showing the rich experience of CISG application by international arbitration institutions represented by CIETAC, and providing important reference for the unified interpretation and application of CISG, so as to further expand its scope of application, and maintain a stable, fair, transparent and predictable global multilateral trading system and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
The symposium was held online and offline and made available to global audience through live streaming platforms. It was attended by 150 legal experts and business representatives, and made available through live broadcast platforms to 35,000 people from 38 countries and regions.
The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), organized by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), was adopted at a diplomatic conference held in Vienna in 1980. Since its adoption, the CISG has played an important role in establishing world-prevailing economic and trade laws and rules, promoting legislative reform of contracting states, upholding the global governance system with the United Nations at its core, and advancing the process of economic globalization. As one of the early signatories, China submitted its instrument of approval to formally participate in the CISG to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1986. Since it came into effect in China in 1988, CISG has exerted a profound influence on the development of China’s market economy and contract law.