Identification of Contracting States

Countries that have adopted the CISG and information on its status and application

Current status

The CISG is the uniform international sales law of countries that account for over three-quarters of all world trade.

Table of Contracting States:

Specific identification of each of the countries that have subscribed to the CISG

Effective dates and declarations or reservations, if any, applicable to each


At the United Nations Diplomatic Conference which adopted the CISG, "62 states took part: 22 European and other developed Western states, 11 socialist, 11 South-American, 7 African and 11 Asian countries; in other words, roughly speaking, 22 Western, 11 socialist and 29 third world countries". Eörsi, 31 Am. J. Comp. L. 335 (1983). All of these "blocs" are represented in the Table of Contracting States. The text the delegates to the Diplomatic Conference unanimously approved came into effect in 1988. Its subsequent ratification pace has been comparable to that of a prior United Nations convention on international commercial law - - on arbitral awards, the 1958 New York Convention. Arbitration is relevant to the CISG because a high proportion of all negotiated international sales contracts contain an arbitration clause.

Ratifications of conventions on international commercial law normally proceed at a glacial pace. The New York Arbitral Convention was a notable exception to this rule. The CISG is proving to be a similar exception to this rule. If the current trend continues, the CISG will in time be subscribed to by over 100 countries.

General information on the application of the CISG

The CISG is the domestic law of each Contracting State identified in the Table of Contracting States. Important conclusions and recommendations follow from this:

  • For parties with their relevant places of business in different Contracting States, where their contract falls within the scope of the CISG, the contract is automatically governed by the CISG, unless the parties indicate otherwise. In other words, where without reference to the CISG, the parties state that the contract is governed by the law of a Contracting State (e.g., parties from the United States and Germany state, "This contract shall be governed by the law of the state of New York") or the applicable law so holds, the contract is likely to be governed by the CISG. For parties to such international sales transactions who do not wish to have them governed by the CISG, the recommended procedure is to so state in their contracts.
  • The above conclusion and recommendation can also apply when only one of the parties has his relevant place of business in a Contracting State if the applicable domestic law regards the law of that Contracting State as the governing law. This is subject to Article 95 of the CISG.

In these two situations -- contracting parties from different Contracting States, and a contract between a party from a Contracting State and a party from a non-Contracting State -- the relevant CISG provisions are Articles 1(1)(a), 1(1)(b) and 95 (see the Annotated Text of Article 1 for further information on this subject; see the data accompanying the Table of Contracting States to identify the several Contracting States that have made Article 95 declarations).

  • There are also cases in which principles of the CISG can apply to transactions between parties neither of whom has his relevant place of business in a Contracting State. The CISG can apply to such a contract solely by the election of the parties. For example, in the case of a transaction between parties from U.K. and India (neither of which is currently a Contracting State), the CISG can apply to their contract if the parties so elect, subject to the fact that when the CISG applies by law it can supersede otherwise applicable domestic law to the contrary; when the CISG applies solely by contract, it acts somewhat like a set of terms and conditions incorporated in the contract -- in other words, in this situation it does not supersede mandatory provisions of the applicable domestic law where that law does not so permit.
  • In addition, there are situations in which principles of the CISG can be deemed applicable even when neither party has his relevant place of business in a Contracting State and the parties have made no reference to the CISG in their contract. There are cases in which tribunals have so held (see, for example, ICC Arbitration Case No. 5713 of 1989).
Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law
Last updated: 
Monday, September 28, 2020
Last updated: 
Gizem Alper