Industry Advisory Group Calls on Governments to Facilitate Global Trading
The Industry Advisory Group (IAG) of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) ePhyto Solution calls on governments to support the adoption of ePhyto to facilitate international agricultural trade, which would be crucial in safeguarding global food security beyond the Covid-19 recovery period.
Global trading operations of plant products rely on crucial communication and transparency of phytosanitary requirements to protect plant health and ensure international unrestricted and safe trade of goods. Phytosanitary certificates facilitate such trade and benefit plant production sectors as well as consumers.
Electronic certification as part of a broader endeavor for trade facilitation has proven itself indispensable during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to maintain continuity of agricultural trade despite limitations on air traffic and courier services. The IPPC ePhyto Solution is a globally uniform approach with improved crisis resilience, consistency, security, fraud prevention, sustainability and replacement of paper documentation.
The IAG, which is comprised of a consortium of industry associations representing the global trade of plant products, calls on policy makers to commit to a faster onboarding to the IPPC ePhyto Solution and accelerated access for all countries, including developing and least developed economies, regardless of infrastructure capacity.
The ePhyto Solution is founded in the standards of the only international convention for plant protection, the IPPC, and was intended to eventually become a permanent replacement for paper certificates even before the pandemic began. The ePhyto Solution is led by the IPPC Secretariat with the involvement of other international organizations and governments, to which 90+ countries are registered. A number of countries such as Argentina, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Samoa and USA are already operating the system to transmit phytosanitary certificates safely from NPPO to NPPO. The EU TRACES system was connected to the ePhyto Hub in May 2020 for imports only with the aim to be fully operational by the end of the year.
The IAG welcomes the actions of many governments to implement contingency plans that include acceptance of digital attachments, signatures, and copies for trade related documents during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.