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North Korea joins the CISG

UNCCA is pleased to share UNCITRAL-RCAP’s recent success.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has joined the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG).  In doing so, the DPRK becomes the 90th State Party to the Convention, and effectively becomes part of a modern, uniform, and fair framework for the contract of sale, which is the backbone of international trade in all countries.

The CISG entered into force in 1988 after it reached the required number of States Parties with the ratifications by China and the United States. The CISG establishes a comprehensive code of legal rules governing the formation of contracts for the international sale of goods, the obligations of the buyer and seller, remedies for breach of contract and other aspects of the contract.  It governs contracts for the international sales of goods, excluding sales to consumers, services, and sales of certain specified types of goods; purely domestic sale contracts are not affected by the CISG and remain regulated by domestic law.

The CISG has been ratified by 90 countries around the world of all levels of economic development and representing different legal tradition and political systems. Together, their economies represent more than 2/3 of the world trade in goods, including such important economies in the Asia and Pacific region such as Australia, China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russia, but also large economies in other parts of the world, such as most European Union countries, Brazil, Canada and the United States. Uncertainty as to the governing law of contracts, and the diversity of domestic sales laws, may represent a barrier to trade and make the outcome of international commercial disputes highly unpredictable. Most countries that joined the CISG have done so with a view to providing their import and export businesses with a uniform substantive law framework that was especially conceived for international contracts.  Consequently, the CISG is considered one of the core international trade law conventions.

At its 35th anniversary in 2015, the CISG was hailed as a “an ingenious compromise, a bridge between treaty law and commercial practice . . . between different legal cultures, concepts and languages . . . between the past and the future.”  The CISG’s entry into force for the DPRK on 1 April 2020 will coincide with the 40th anniversary of its adoption. The DPRK will then join a large group of countries representing all economic and legal systems in crossing this bridge.

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