For information only - not an official document

18 January 2013

China Withdraws "Written Form" Declaration Under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)

VIENNA, 18 January (UN Information Service) - On 16 January, China deposited an instrument with the Secretary-General of the United Nations withdrawing its "written form" declaration under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). With this action, China joins the vast majority of CISG States Parties that do not require the written form for contracts for the international sale of goods. China's action will take effect on 1 August 2013.

Under the CISG, contracts for the international sale of goods do not need to be concluded in writing in order to be valid unless a State deposits a specific declaration to that effect. By withdrawing the declaration it made upon approval of the CISG in 1986, China now accepts the provisions allowing freedom of contractual form. China's action is part of a current trend for States to reconsider declarations made upon acceding to the CISG. Withdrawal of these declarations increases the level of legal uniformity in the scope of application of the convention.

The CISG provides an equitable and modern uniform framework for the contract of sale, which is the backbone of international trade in all countries, irrespective of their legal tradition or level of economic development. The CISG is therefore considered to be one of the core conventions in international trade law.

The CISG, which has been adopted by a large number of major trading countries, 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. The CISG currently has 78 State Parties.

Further information on the CISG is available on the UNCITRAL website at


The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. Its mandate is to remove legal obstacles to international trade by progressively modernizing and harmonizing trade law. It prepares legal texts in a number of key areas such as international commercial dispute settlement, electronic commerce, insolvency, international payments, sale of goods, transport law, procurement and infrastructure development. UNCITRAL also provides technical assistance to law reform activities, including assisting Member States to review and assess their law reform needs and to draft the legislation required to implement UNCITRAL texts. The UNCITRAL Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria.

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For information contact:

Timothy Lemay
Principal Legal Officer
UNCITRAL Secretariat
Email: timothy.lemay[at]