At CPM-12, the IPPC Secretariat organized a Special Topic session covering the IPPC Recommendation on e-commerce and trade in plant and plant products. The primary objective of this session was to make known and discuss experiences on e-commerce with regard to existing mechanisms for identifying e-commerce traders and products of concern, promotion of compliance by customers and traders, strengthening coordination with postal and express courier services and investigating phytosanitary risks posed by distance selling. The Special Topic session was opened by IPPC Secretary Jingyuan Xia, chaired by IPPC Adviser Craig Fedchock, and attended by over 200 participants.
The session brought together a range of stakeholders associated with e-commerce. Sarah Brunel, the Capacity Development Officer of the IPPC Secretariat, introduced the IPPC Recommendation on e-commerce. Marième Fall, Counsellor in the Agriculture and Commodities Division of the World Trade Organization (WTO) presented the activities and role of the WTO with regard to e-commerce and trade in plants. The World Customs Organization’s Technical Officer and Programme Manager Michele Medina introduced their work in the area of e-commerce with a presentation entitled “Towards an inclusive risk-based approach in the cross-border e-commerce environment”. The Convention of Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Junko Shimura presented on the increasing risk of biological invasion posed by trade in wildlife via e-commerce and associated materials.
The private sector was also active in presenting their perspectives on the issues presented by e-commerce in plant and plant products. Carlos Grau Tanner, the Director General of the Global Express Association discussed the opportunities and challenges halting the entry of packages containing phytosanitary risks. Mike Carson of the e-Bay Regulatory Policy Group gave an informative presentation on eBay’s current Plants and Seeds Policy and Enforcement.
Australia and Republic of Korea presented some specific examples on preventing e-commerce trade in plant and plant products. Kim Ritman, Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer discussed ways in which Australia manages pre-border biosecurity risks, and Hong-Sook Park presented Korea’s phytosanitary measures for international postal and courier services.
The presentations were followed by a discussion by panelists and session attendees, including a plenary discussion on the way forward in implementing the IPPC recommendation on e-commerce. Decisions and conclusions of CPM-12 on a way forward were proposed. Endorsed actions included: enhancing collaboration among international organizations and at the national level; identifying and reporting risks to e-traders; for shippers, providing relevant shipment information and take appropriate measures in case of phytosanitary risks; raising awareness of e-marketers, suppliers, shippers and the general public on the phytosanitary risks associated with eCommerce.
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