- Electronic SPS certification can contribute to the faster movement of agri-produce and to reducing transaction costs. It can do this through improving compliance with regulations and policies, reducing errors and fraud, supporting risk management and enhancing trust among partners. Processes, institutions and legislation need to first be in place.
- Internationally recognized standards facilitate exchange of electronic SPS certificates by harmonizing requirements and exchange frameworks, reducing the resources required for bilateral arrangements amongst trading partners.
- Prior to embarking on automating certification systems, developing countries should carry out a comprehensive analysis of their export/import business process to identify outstanding needs. Any decision to invest in an electronic certification system should be made after due consideration of the costs and benefits.
Sessions included updates on and programmes from IPPC
and the European Commission
. 22 countries or regional blocs worldwide have fully implemented eCERT, the standard used for electronic SPS certificates, or are at implementation stage.
The seminar looked at the value of the Single Window as the single entry point for all import, export and transit requirements. If information is electronic, data is submitted once and reused for multiple procedures. 70+ countries have, or are close to having, a nationwide Single Window in place.
Developing countries were seen to experience the most challenges to going paperless, but they also stand to make important gains, as shared experiences from Kenya
and the Philippines
showed. More focus is needed on technology uptake and capacity building.