Saudia Arabia accedes to the CISG (except Part III), to become the 96th Contracting State

On 3 August 2023, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deposited its instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and will therefore become the 96th Contracting State of the Sales Convention (CISG).

The Sales Convention will enter into force for Saudia Arabia on 1 September 2024.

In acceding, Saudia Arabia has declared a reservation in accordance with Art. 92(1) CISG, according to which Saudi Arabia will not be bound by Part III of the Sales Convention. Pursuant to Art. 92(2) CISG, Saudia Arabia is therefore not to be considered a Contracting State within Art. 1(1) CISG in respect of matters governed by Part III (namely the rights and obligations of buyers and sellers under CISG contracts).

The reservation declared by Saudi Arabia is expressly authorized by the Sales Convention in its Art. 92(1), but its actual use is a far-reaching novelty in the Convention's history: No other Contracting State before has excluded Part III, which contains the core provisions of the Convention. In commercial practice, Art. 1(1)(a) and (b) CISG can therefore only result in the application of Part II (the CISG provisions on the formation of contracts) whenever a party from Saudi Arabia is involved, while the rules governing the buyers' and sellers' obligations and remedies will need to be determined by recourse to the forum's rules of private international law (conflict of laws).

However, it is important to note that the reservation declared could at any time be withdrawn in accordance with Art. 97(4) CISG, should Saudi Arabia so desire. It is therefore possible that Saudia will at some point in the future become a Contracting State also for purposes of Part III of the CISG by withdrawing its current reservation.

For details about the withdrawal of reservations under the CISG and other uniform commercial law conventions, see:

Ulrich G. Schroeter, 'The withdrawal of reservations under uniform private law conventions', 20 Uniform Law Review/Revue de droit uniforme (Unif. L. Rev.) (2015), 1–18 [– in English]