Journal Article

Certificates of Free Sale: Who is Being Protected from Whom?

Arthur E. Appleton and Claudio Dordi

in Journal of International Economic Law

Volume 14, issue 4, pages 719-763
Published in print December 2011 | ISSN: 1369-3034
Published online December 2011 | e-ISSN: 1464-3758 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jiel/jgr033
Certificates of Free Sale: Who is Being Protected from Whom?

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Certificates of Free Sale (CFS) are little known but widely used instruments in international trade. A CFS states that a product meets the regulatory requirements of the exporting country and can be sold freely in that country. Many developing countries require a CFS as a condition of importation in sensitive sectors, such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, cosmetics, and food products. This paper is the first major work to explore the legal implications of certificates of free sale. It describes various CFS requirements and examines the WTO-legality of trade restrictions imposed by importing countries based on the failure of exported goods to meet the domestic standards of the exporting country. The authors conclude that most CFS schemes are likely to violate WTO obligations. They suggest WTO-consistent ways of protecting legitimate developing country interests that eliminate the need for CFS schemes.

Journal Article.  20244 words. 

Subjects: Financial Law ; Public International Law ; Economics

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