CISG: participating countries - China (PRC) Go to Database Directory || Go to List of Contracting States

China (PRC)

Effective date: 1 January 1988

Declarations and reservations: China had filed an Article 95 declaration and a declaration on the general subject of Article 96. “On 16 January [2013], 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.” <>

Historical editorial comments (dated pre-January 2013):

"The People's Republic of China does not consider itself to be bound by subparagraph (b) of paragraph 1 of article 1 . . . "

Comments: This is an authorized Article 95 declaration. It restricts the role of private international law in determining the applicability of the CISG when both contracting parties do not have their relevant places of business in Contracting States. See the Cross-reference editorial analysis of Article 1 for further discussion of this subject.

"The People's Republic of China does not consider itself bound by . . . article 11 as well as the provision of the Convention relating to the content of article 11."

Comments: See entry on Article 96 for general data on Article 96 declarations. This declaration by China is a requirements-as-to-form declaration that is like the Article 96 declarations taken by various other countries, but its language is not as encompassing. Whether this difference in declaration language is significant remains to be determined.

Status of Hong Kong

Effective 1 July 1997, Hong Kong became a "Special Administrative Region" of the People's Republic of China. An instrument filed by the Government of China with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 6 June 1997 refers to Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region that "will enjoy a high degree of autonomy".

The conclusion we draw from this is: pending the filing with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of a suitable CISG-related depositary notification by the People's Republic of China, the courts of China and Hong Kong are unlikely to regard the CISG as in effect in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. If, as and when such a notice is filed, one can access its text at the website of the United Nations Treaty Section.

There is a risk that courts of other jurisdictions may rule otherwise for Hong Kong and for Macao also. See Ulrich Schroeter, "The Status of Hong Kong and Macao under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods". However, the one foreign court that has squarely addressed this issue, the Supreme Court of France, has not done so. Plaintiff in the proceeding before that court alleged that, if China did not want the CISG to apply to the territorial unit of Hong Kong:

   -    The procedure prescribed in the CISG would have been to file an Article 93 declaration;
   -    The People's Republic of China has not done so, ergo, the CISG applies to Hong Kong.

The court disagreed, stating:

"[T]he People's Republic of China deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations a declaration announcing the conventions to which China was a party at that date which should apply to Hong Kong. The CISG did not figure on that list, nor had the CISG applied to Hong Kong before the retrocession of this territory to the People's Republic of China by the United Kingdom. Thereby, the People's Republic of China has effectuated with the depositary of the Convention a formality equivalent to what is provided for in Art. 93 CISG. Consequently, the CISG is not applicable to the special administrative region of Hong Kong."

The citation to this ruling is: FRANCE, Cour de cassation (Telecommunications products case) 2 April 2008 <>. Accord: UNITED STATES. Federal District Court [Georgia] (Innotex Precision Limited v. Horei, Inc., et al.) 17 December 2009 <> For a contrary conclusion, see UNITED STATES Federal District Court [Arkansas] (Electrocraft Arkansas, Inc. v. Electric Motors, Ltd et al.) 23 December 2009 <>

Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated October 10, 2014