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United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)

(law) A United Nations-sponsored multilateral treaty containing a commercial code that governs the rights and responsibilities of buyers and sellers in international sales contracts. The CISG was designed to foster international trade by establishing a unified legal framework for the sale of goods internationally. The CISG was finalized at a United Nations conference held in Vienna in 1980 and as a result is sometimes referred to as the Vienna Sales Convention.
There are many similarities between the U.S. UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) and the UN CISG which both serve to avoid misunderstandings when one set of rules govern the buyer and another set of rules govern the seller. The U.S. UCC is designed to avoid differences in the laws of the fifty U.S. states while the CISG is designed to avoid misunderstandings in the laws of the countries of the world.
The CISG specifically does not apply to the sale of services or labor and as a result agreements involving distribution, licensing, leasing, transportation, carriage, insurance and financing are generally not covered. The CISG does not apply to the sale of goods for consumption directly by consumers; goods sold at auction; securities or negotiable instruments; ships, vessels or aircraft; or electricity. The CISG also does not cover liabilities or injuries caused by goods.
Transactions for the sale of computer software, the sale of both goods and services, or sales of leases with purchase options are considered gray areas where the validity of the CISG is in question and subject to legal challenge. For information go to: www.uncitral.org.

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