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Cite as Evans, in Bianca-Bonell Commentary on the International Sales Law, Giuffrè: Milan (1987) 661-663. Reproduced with permission of Dott. A Giuffrè Editore, S.p.A.

Article 97

Malcolm Evans

1. History of the provision
2. Meaning and purpose of the provision

ARTICLE 97

(1) Declarations made under this Convention at the time of signature are subject to confirmation upon ratification, acceptance or approval.

(2) Declarations and confirmations of declarations are to be in writing and be formally notified to the depositary.

(3) A declaration takes effect simultaneously with the entry into force of this Convention in respect of the Stale concerned. However, a declaration of which the depositary receives formal notification after such entry into force takes effect on the first day of the month following the expiration of six months after the date of its receipt by the depositary. Reciprocal unilateral declarations under article 94 take effect on the first day of the month following the expiration of six months after the receipt of the latest declaration by the depositary.

(4) Any State which makes a declaration under this Convention may withdraw it at any time by a formal notification in writing addressed to the depositary. Such withdrawal is to take effect on the first day of the month following the expiration of six months after the date of the receipt of the notification by the depositary.

(5) A withdrawal of a declaration made under article 94 renders inoperative, as from the date on which the withdrawal takes effect, any reciprocal declaration made by another State under that article.

1. History of the provision

     1.1. - Precedents for the provisions of Article 97 are to be found in so many international conventions, often with minor variations as regards the language employed, that it would seem sufficient to recall that Article 97 corresponds substantially to the Article H submitted by the Secretary-General of the United [page 661] Nations to the Vienna Conference (Official Records, I, 69), subject to the deletion by the Conference of paragraphs (3) and (4) of that draft article relating to declarations by federal States, which had become superfluous in the light of the wording of Article 93 of the Convention as adopted by the Conference.

2. Meaning and purpose of the provision

     2.1. - Article 97 defines the manner of making a declaration under the Convention and of its withdrawal, as well as the time at which a declaration or its withdrawal becomes effective.

     2.2. - As regards declarations made at the time of signature, paragraph (1) provides that they are subject to confirmation upon ratification, acceptance or approval. In the absence of confirmation such declarations will be without effect. According to paragraph (2), declarations and confirmations of declarations must moreover be in writing and formally notified to the depositary. This provision also relates to declarations made at the time of accession, to which no reference has made in paragraph (1) since accession presupposes the absence of signature.

     2.3. - Paragraph (3) lays down two rules of general application and one specifically related to Article 94. The first sentence of paragraph (3), which provides that a declaration takes effect simultaneously with the entry into force of the Convention in respect of the State concerned, contemplates the normal case of a declaration made at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance or accession which will precede the entry into force of the Convention in respect of that State.

     2.4. - In accordance with the second sentence of paragraph (3), a declaration of which formal notification is received, by the depositary subsequent to the entry into force of the Convention in respect of the State concerned takes effect on the first day of the month following the expiration of six months after the date of its receipt by the depositary, a rule which was already to be found in Article 40(1) of the Limitation Convention and which has the advantage of giving other Contracting States some time [page 662] to become aware of the change in the law of the State making the declaration. For businessmen in States other than that which has made the declaration, the benefit to be derived from the time lapse of six months may however be more theoretical than real.

     2.5. - The third sentence of paragraph (3) provides that reciprocal unilateral declarations under Article 94 shall take effect on the first day of the month following the expiration of six months after the receipt of the latest declaration by the depositary, a proposal to reduce the six month period having been defeated at the Vienna Conference for the reason invoked in favour of the six month rule in 2.4., supra (Official Records, II, 457-458).

     2.6. - Paragraph (4) constitutes a pendant to paragraph (2) and the second sentence of paragraph (3) in that it permits the withdrawal by a State at any time of a declaration by formal notification in writing addressed to the depositary, such withdrawal taking effect on the first day of the month following the expiration of six months after the date of the receipt of the notification by the depositary.

     2.7. - The general rule established under paragraph (4) is confirmed in paragraph (5) in connection with the special case of reciprocal declarations made under Article 94. The withdrawal of a declaration made under that article, whether joint or unilateral, will therefore, on the first day of the month following the expiration of six months after the date of receipt of notification of such withdrawal by the depositary, render the declaration inoperative as between a State withdrawing its declaration and the other State or States involved in a joint declaration or which have made reciprocal unilateral declarations with the withdrawing State. [page 663]


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