The Global Challenge of International Sales Law

I just returned from a conference at the University of Florida devoted to Global Challenges of International Sales Law. The organiser of this conference was Larry DiMatteo from the UF Warrington College of Business Administration. He managed to bring together experts on the CISG from around the world, including many German and American colleagues. I enjoyed the conference very much, not only because of the excellent organisation and the great hospitality exposed to the participants, but also because of the substantive discussions. I am not an expert on the CISG, but my job was to talk about the ‘problems of uniforms laws.’ This meant that I could play the role of the contrarian. The feeling among most CISG experts is that the Convention is a huge success because of the 77 countries that ratified it. However, my own perspective for measuring success is the extent to which the CISG is in fact preferred by commercial parties over the applicability of some domestic law – and here I am skeptical.

There is one thing that struck me at the conference. This is that the circle of people writing about the CISG is usually not very much aware of the debate about European private law, and the other way around. This is a pity: in my view both discussions are about a similar question: do we need uniform laws and, if so, how should we put these into place? Perhaps the recent proposal of the European Commission for a Common European Sales law will bring both circles closer together. At the roundtable conference that MEPLI will organise on 9 December 2011, Nicole Kornet will in any event talk about the relationship netween the CISG and the proposed CESL.

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