Promoting Sales Law Harmonisation and Integration between Hong Kong and Mainland with Properly Devised Policies and Strategies for Bilateral Arrangements

Based on the Research of Professor LIU Qiao and Professor WANG Jiangyu

The research conducted by Professor LIU Qiao and Professor WANG Jiangyu has been extensively relied upon by the Department of Justice (DoJ) of the HKSAR Government in a proposal submitted to the Legislative Council (Legco) for discussion with a view to drafting and enacting a legislation that allows Hong Kong to join the United Nations Convention on International Sale of Goods (CISG). This demonstrates that the two CityU colleagues’ research has contributed significantly to the legal development in Hong Kong, particularly with respect to solidifying Hong Kong’s position as an international business and legal hub.

Professor LIU Qiao’s research transcends the common law of contract, comparative Chinese law and international commercial law. In relation to the last area, Professor Liu’s studies focus on Chinese courts’ interpretation and application of unifying international commercial rules, including the CISG and the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts. His publications on this topic include a major article exploring Chinese courts’ treatment of the applicability of the CISG, which is published in the world’s most respected, top ranking comparative law journal (American Journal of Comparative Law) and a recipient of the most prestigious International Trade Academic Prize in China (An Zi Jie, 安子介 Prize) in 2018, as well as one edited book and several other refereed journal articles/book chapters. Most of his research outputs are published in highly regarded, top ranking outlets and cited and/or favourably reviewed by respected judges and scholars in the same field. Professor Liu has been invited to participate in the updating and revision of the 2016 UNCITRAL Digest of Case Law on the CISG, an authoritative guide provided by the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) as a member of the expert panel in 2015. He has been working productively with the UNCITRAL and the Institute of International Commercial Law (Pace University) on CISG-related matters.

Professor WANG Jiangyu works in the areas of international (economic) law, comparative business law, and law and development in China. He has published numerous articles on China and international law, focusing on China’s engagement with international treaties, international organisations and international dispute settlement in top-tier academic journals, in addition to two books with Cambridge University Press and one book with Edward Elgar. He is a highly-cited legal scholars from the global perspective. His recent article, “Dispute Settlement in the Belt and Road Initiative: Progress, Issues, and Future Research Agenda”, was selected as one of the ten best papers in the “Comparative Law” collection of the Best of 2020 Law Journals from Oxford University Press. He has been an invited expert/speaker for the WTO, International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/WTO), UNCITRAL and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). Having been the head of several internationally known research centres, the most current one being the Centre for Chinese and Comparative Law (CCCL) at CityU School of Law, Professor Wang is also an academic entrepreneur in terms of building forums and platforms for academic exchange between top scholars on Chinese, comparative, and international law.

The combination of the research expertise of Professors Liu and Wang makes it possible for them to make valuable contribution to the complex issues surrounding the application of an international convention like the CISG to Hong Kong, particularly between Hong Kong and the Mainland. On 27 May 2019, in response to a proposal made by the DoJ of the HKSAR Government - LC Paper No CB(4)908/18-19(03) the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services of the Legco approved that a public consultation be held to solicit views on the proposed application of the CISG to Hong Kong - LC Paper No CB(4)1224/18-19. A Consultation Paper, of which Annex 4.1 contains a draft of Sale of Goods (United Nations Convention) Bill was subsequently publicised. Based on a draft short article prepared by Professor Liu and after extensive discussions particularly through a symposium co-organised with CCCL (, Professors Liu and Wang produced a detailed report entitled "Policy Recommendations for the Proposed Application of the CISG to Hong Kong" and submitted the report to the International Law Division (Treaties & Law Unit) of the DoJ in September 2020. The DoJ made a proposal to the Legco for discussion on 22 March 2021 after considering all the submissions received ( The revised proposal CB(4)648/20-21(03) adopted the principal suggestions made by Professors Liu and Wang in their report, which clearly had a significant impact on the DoJ’s proposal:

  • Liu/Wang report was cited four times in total, one of the most cited public responses and by far the most referenced academic view;
  • Expressions used in Liu/Wang report were extensively quoted; 
  • Critically, the principal suggestions in Liu/Wang report were adopted and led to substantial revision to the proposal:
    • On the issue of Article 95 reservation, when the views of the two professional bodies (HKBA and HKLawSoc) diverged, Liu/Wang report was cited to great length as the clutching view, prompting the DoJ (at para. 13) to opt for the solution suggested in the report (abandon the reservation);
    • On the issue of Mainland-HK transactions, Liu/Wang report clearly recommended that clause 4(2) of the original proposal be removed and a bilateral agreement be negotiated with the Central People’s Government. Both suggestions were adopted by the DoJ (at para. 16).

It is expected that the proposed Ordinance, which incorporates the thrust of arguments in Liu/Wang report, will be enacted in due course. Professors Liu and Wang’s research agenda in the future period of time will follow closely upon the enactment of the Ordinance and its application in practice. Professor Liu’s research will examine Chinese courts’ interpretation and application of some of the most important provisions of the CISG, such as those relating to fundamental breach and damages, and will compare the sale of goods rules in Hong Kong and the Mainland, so as to better supplement the CISG and build an exemplary model for Belt and Road Initiative cooperation. Professor Wang’s research will explore the role of public international law in Hong Kong, especially on how the international treaties and agreements signed in the name of the People’s Republic of China can be applied in Hong Kong.