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


  • Arthur E. Appleton
  • Claudio Dordi


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. Oxford University Press 2011, all rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur E. Appleton & Claudio Dordi, 2011. "Certificates of Free Sale: Who is Being Protected from Whom?," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 719-763, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:14:y:2011:i:4:p:719-763

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