Vietnam and Vienne Convention on Contracts for International Sales of Goods

Time: 8:00 - 11:30 Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 

Place: No.08, Chu Van An street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi City. 

On 11/05/2010, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) held a seminar “Vietnam and Vienne Convention on Contracts for International Sales of Goods” in Ha Noi. More than 150 participants from State agencies, business associations, companies, press agents and related agencies attended the seminar.

This event is part of VCCI’s Program “Enterprises and International Trade Policies” in the framework of Project MUTRAP III (Multilateral Trade Assistance Project, Component III EU – Vietnam) sponsored by European Union.

With 74 member countries including especially significant trade partners such as United States, France, Canada, Australia, Japan,… Vienne Convention on Contracts for International Sales of Goods (CISG) governs about 2/3 business transactions in the world and this is the convention used most commonly. CISG is considered to be a good example of success in an effort to unify laws on contracts in the world and goodwill to negotiate rights and obligations of buyers, sellers in compliance with different laws.

Up to now, Vietnam has not joined CISG yet although foreign and domestic specialists proposed this for many times. The objective of the seminar “Viet Nam and Vienne Convention on Contracts for International Sales of Goods” is to exchange ideas and discuss about whether or not Vietnam should join CISG, its advantages and disadvantages …

According to Mr. Tran Huu Huynh, Vice General Secretary of VCCI cum President of the Committee on International Trade Policies, due to Vietnam’s non-membership of CISG, Vietnamese enterprises have faced with many difficulties in choosing applicable laws in contracts for international sales of goods and become very passive when not stipulating any applicable law in contracts, therefore, in case of disputes, they don’t know which law will be used and when arbitrators decide to apply CISG, they seem to be embarrased and passive due to lack of knowledge of CISG…Therefore it is really useful for Vietnamese enterprises if Vietnam becomes a member of CISG.

Sharing the same opinions with Mr. Huynh, Dr Nguyen Minh Hang from Foreign Trade University – a research specialist of CISG – made a persuasive presentation highlighting advantages of joining CISG for Viet Nam in general and Vietnamese companies in particular in the context of increasing international integration and trade among countries, resulting in more and more international sale contracts. Ms. Hang also proposed a specific timeline for Vietnam’s membership to CISG.

A working group from EPLegal, a law firm with a lot of practical experience in advising companies on contracts for international sales of goods, presented an overall research on CISG members in the world and how they joined CISG, drew lessons for Vietnam from the case studies of UK, South Africa, Japan and ASEAN:– “there are no good reasons for Vietnam not to join CISG”.

Joining CISG, Vietnam will not have to pay any membership fees nor amend its national law. Moreover, the registration procedures are very simple. Meanwhile, not joining CISG, Vietnam will not have the chances of accessing to advanced unified law framework on contracts for international sales of goods recognized by more than 70 states in all continents; chances of expressing and confirming Vietnam’s prestige, experiences and position in building and developing a law on international contracts; chances of acquiring changes, advancement of the whole world (the United Nations) in international contract legislation…This is opinions of Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thi Mo, Foreign Trade University, from the perspective of a research specialist.

From a practical perspective, representatives of business associations and law firms also made speech and referred to many practical cases showing that Vietnam’s non-membership of CISG has been causing so many difficulties for Vietnamese companies in negotiating applicable law and mechanism for dispute settlement when concluding contracts for international sales of goods as well as settling disputes.

Concluding the seminar, participants reached an agreement on the necessity for Vietnam to join CISG and request VCCI, specifically the Committee on International Trade Policies, to represent the business community to complete the Statement proposing Vietnam to join the Vienne Convention and submit this Statement to the Government for immediate consideration.

Download the Seminar Documents here: