Selected Decisions and Selected Documents of the IMF, Thirty- Eighth Issue -- Unenforceability of Exchange Contracts—Fund’s Interpretation of Article VIII, Section 2(b)

Prepared by the Legal Department of the IMF
As updated as of February 29, 2016

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ARTICLE VIII, SECTION 2(b)
Unenforceability of Exchange Contracts

UNENFORCEABILITY OF EXCHANGE CONTRACTS—FUND’S INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLE VIII, SECTION 2(B)

The following letter shall be sent to all members:

The Board of Executive Directors of the International Monetary Fund has interpreted, under Article XVIII1 of the Articles of Agreement, the first sentence of Article VIII, Section 2(b), which provision reads as follows:

Exchange contracts which involve the currency of any member and which are contrary to the exchange control regulations of that member maintained or imposed consistently with this Agreement shall be unenforceable in the territories of any member.

The meaning and effect of this provision are as follows:

  • 1. Parties entering into exchange contracts involving the currency of any member of the Fund and contrary to exchange control regulations of that member which are maintained or imposed consistently with the Fund Agreement will not receive the assistance of the judicial or administrative authorities of other members in obtaining the performance of such contracts. That is to say, the obligations of such contracts will not be implemented by the judicial or administrative authorities of member countries, for example by decreeing performance of the contracts or by awarding damages for their nonperformance.

  • 2. By accepting the Fund Agreement members have undertaken to make the principle mentioned above effectively part of their national law. This applied to all members, whether or not they have availed themselves of the transitional arrangements of Article XIV, Section 2.

An obvious result of the foregoing undertaking is that if a party to an exchange contract of the kind referred to in Article VIII, Section 2(b) seeks to enforce such a contract, the tribunal of the member country before which the proceedings are brought will not, on the ground that they are contrary to the public policy (ordre public) of the forum, refuse recognition of the exchange control regulations of the other member which are maintained or imposed consistently with the Fund Agreement. It also follows that such contracts will be treated as unenforceable notwithstanding that under the private international law of the forum, the law under which the foreign exchange control regulations are maintained or imposed is not the law which governs the exchange contract or its performance.

The Fund will be pleased to lend its assistance in connection with any problem which may arise in relation to the foregoing interpretation or any other aspect of Article VIII, Section 2(b). In addition, the Fund is prepared to advise whether particular exchange control regulations are maintained or imposed consistently with the Fund Agreement.

Decision No. 446-4,

June 10, 1949

1 Ed. Note: Corresponds to Article XIV, Section 1 of the Articles of Agreement after the Second Amendment.

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