Journal of International Arbitration

Volume 33 (2016)

Volume 33 (2016) / Issue 3

Justin P. Lee, 'Lessons from Cuba: Case Commentary on Exemption from Damages and the Right to Interest under the CISG' (2016) 33 Journal of International Arbitration, Issue 3, pp. 289–310


This commentary analyzes a recent 2014 decision from the Cuban Court of International Arbitration, Empresa Italiana X v. Empresa Mixta Y. It addresses two issues raised by the case: (1) whether the Cuban buyer should have been exempt from liability for damages under Article 79 of the 1980 Vienna Convention on the International Sales of Goods, (CISG), because, after the conclusion of the parties’ contract, the Cuban government, through the Central Bank of Cuba, established a new regulation that required the buyer to obtain a letter of liquidity from the Central Bank, which it failed to do; and (2) whether the parties derogated from the right to charge interest under Article 78 of the CISG because they agreed in their contract that no penalty would be applied for late delivery of the goods or for late payment. The commentary concludes that the arbitral panel erred by failing to exempt the Cuban buyer from liability under Article 79 and by failing to award the Italian seller interest under Article 78. It hopes to aid international arbitration practitioners dealing with cases subject to Cuban law or who may have such matters in the future.

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ISSN: 0255-8106
ID: JOIA2016016