Meaning of a Customs Union, Certificate of Analysis and Certificate of Free Sale

Exporting and Importing can often be an extremely complicated and mundane process as there are so many rules, regulations as well as countless  number of procedures to adhere to. This, many a times, may require to prepare and submit documents for import and export. Usually, freight forwarders would prepare it  for us, but it is also good to know for ourselves as to how to complete the relevant documents by understanding what the terms mean. As such, in our new article series titled “Export Terms”, we would  introduce you to all the various terms used in the international trade, be it through air, land or sea freight. We would roll out one related article on a regular basis, which would help you to get a comprehensive understanding as to the document preparation for the purpose of doing trade internationally. In this article, we would be covering the meaning of a customs union, certificate of analysis as well as certificate of free sale.

What is a Customs Union?

A customs union refers to an agreement between 2 or more countries to eliminate trade barriers as well as reduce duties when the partner countries engage trade with each other.  The union usually happens between countries that are geographically close to each other. However, in a customs union, only member nations can enjoy the discount in duties as well as the elimination of trade barriers. Non member countries still have to adhere to tariffs  imports on them and do not get to enjoy what members of a customs union get to do. The most prominent example of a Customs union is the European Union, also known as the EU. In the EU, there are a reduction of trade tariffs as well as other regulations that seek to make the importation and exportation of products from the member countries to move freely from one another.

Current members of the European Union, who enjoy benefits of low trade tariffs and free movement of goods for import and export.

What is a Certificate of Analysis

A certificate of analysis is essentially .document that certifies the purity as well as its quality of products that are plant or animal based. This also applies pharmaceutical products. As such, making the products valid through the authenticated document. The Certificate of Analysis is commonly used when it comes for export.

What is a Certificate of Free Sale

A Certificate of Free Sale is needed in some countries for certain commodities like pharmaceutical products for instance. The Certificate of Free Sale is used to certify that the products that have been imported are normally and freely sold in the country of export through its open markets and are also approved for the process of exportation.


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