Foreign exchange certificate

foreign exchange certificate, sometimes abbreviated to FEC, is a tool for foreign exchange control in countries where the national currency is subject to exchange controls or is not convertible.[1] The arrangements vary significantly case by case. Some of the main types of FEC are:

  • A certificate for purchasing foreign currency at a specified rate, often for a specified purpose, such as financing imports. This type of certificates were required in many European countries after World War II.
  • A certificate denominated in local currency, which foreign citizens are required to use for some or all of their purchases. The exchange rate may be more favourable for the visitor than the official commercial rate. The purpose is to channel the foreign exchange to the state coffers instead of the black market. This type of FEC’s were in use in China in 1980–1994.
  • A certificate denominated in foreign currency, to which local citizens are required to exchange any foreign currency they manage to get possession of. These certificates may be accepted as payment in specific stores, which otherwise sell goods only to foreign citizens in exchange for foreign currency. This type of FEC’s were applied in the Soviet Union in 1961–1991.

Some countries which have employed FEC’s or similar arrangements under some other name in the past include:

  • Soviet Union (1961-1991)[2]
  • China (1980-1994)[3]
  • Myanmar (Burma) (until March 2013)[4]
  • East Germany (forum checks, pegged to the West German Deutsche Mark)
  • Nazi Germany[5]
  • Ghana – it was illegal to import and export Ghanaian cedi banknotes (around 1980)
  • North Korea[6]
  • Cuba (today’s convertible peso, to an extent, is a form of FEC)
  • Czechoslovakia (Tuzex)
  • Bulgaria (Corecom)[7]
  • Poland[8](Bon Towarowy PeKaO)
  • Vietnam
  • Albania
  • Yugoslavia


  1. ^“Currency Certificate”. investopedia. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  2. ^“RUSSIA Paper Money, Foreign Exchange Certificates, 1961-91”. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  4. ^Mizzima (2012). “Burma to abolish foreign exchange certificate in 2013”
  5. ^Tooze, Adam (2007). The Wages of Destruction. London: Penguin.
  6. ^“North Korea new variety foreign exchange certificate reported”. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  7. ^“Bulgaria paper money catalog and Bulgarian currency history”. atsnotes. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  8. ^“POLSKA RZECZPOSPOLITA LUDOWA – POLAND Foreign Exchange Certificates, 1969 Issues”. numismondo. Retrieved 19 April 2014.

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