Posted on Thu, 09 Sep 2021, 12:05
FAO/Joan Manuel Baliellas
Rome, 2 September 2021. The fifth and eagerly anticipated workshop in the series of ePhyto industry workshops continued with the People’s Republic of China. The workshops, organized by the ePhyto Industry Advisory Group (IAG) with support from the IPPC Secretariat aim to facilitate conversations between importers, exporters, trade associations and National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) on the benefits of adopting the IPPC ePhyto Solution to facilitate safe trade of plants and agricultural products.
During his opening remark, Mr Jingyuan Xia, Director of the FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP) highlighted that China’s system is now almost ready to exchange phytosanitary certificates digitally and that their participation will be a big leap forward for the IPPC ePhyto Solution. Mr Xia noted that during his time as IPPC Secretary, he saw the potential of the ePhyto Solution and fully supported its development. Now ePhyto is one of the eight priority programmes recognized by the IPPC Strategic Framework 2020-2030. And it is identified as a key component in helping countries implement both the IPPC’s International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) 12 on phytosanitary certificates as well as the Articles 7.9 and 10.1 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, which relate to trade facilitation measures for authorized operators and the formalities connected with import, export and transit.
Throughout the workshop, the other presenters repeated the importance of this workshop with China and their implementation of the IPPC ePhyto Solution given the vast array of agricultural products China import and export with a very wide range of traders at the regional and global level.
China joined the IPPC ePhyto Solution as one of the pilot countries using their own national system and connecting directly to the ePhyto Hub. Ms Ying Chen, Deputy Director at the Department of General Operation, General Administration of China Customs and ePhyto Steering Group member from China, informed participants that China customs are responsible for all commodity inspections and quarantine for plants, animals and their products.
Therefore, the implementation of the ePhyto Solution in China would facilitate a smooth customs clearance process. China currently has a national e-certification system in place and is currently testing ways to integrate the two systems. According to Ms Chen, the main challenge China is facing in their transition to the digital exchange of phytosanitary certificates through the ePhyto Solution is the actual sending of the electronic certificates. This is due to a difference between the SPS version China uses in their system and those used by the other Hub countries. Chinese phytosanitary authorities are working on this issue and they will continue testing in order to send and receive ePhytos in the production environment in the near future.
Ninety-one participants attended the workshop from government, the private sector and members of Trade Associations while members from the ePhyto Steering Group attended to answer questions. The IAG will continue to host similar workshops between NPPOs and industry groups in 2021, with continued support from the IPPC Secretariat to help foster relationships between local industry and NPPOs, as well as initiate discussions on the current status of implementation and how the systems works in that particular country.
To find out more on the IPPC ePhyto Solution please visit: www.ephytoexchange.org