Building on the significant steps already taken in ambitious government digitalisation efforts, agricultural exporters can now apply for phytosanitary certificates online, saving time and money by no longer having to make in-person applications.
The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (the Alliance) through its implementing partner, GIZ, is supporting the Department of Agriculture (DOA)’s full integration into the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) ePhyto Hub through the country’s National Single Window (NSW), an electronic license system to support import and export information linkage between the public and private sectors, enabling Thailand to make exports more efficient, secure and cost-effective.
Exporters of plants or plant products require phytosanitary certificates to show that their goods are free from pests and comply with international plant protection regulations. On February 1, 2022, Thailand’s Department of Agriculture (DOA) launched the ePhyto (electronic phytosanitary certificate) system starting with a pilot online applications service, for an initial 22 key commodities for export to China.
By embracing electronic certification through the ePhyto Solution, Thailand’s traders can expect to reduce or eradicate the risk of erroneous, lost, or damaged documents, which can cause delays leading to damaged or spoiled produce.
At an event to officially introduce the ePhyto system and the ePhyto Thailand project held on May 3, DOA officials joined other key stakeholders from the Thai Customs Department, the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS), the National Telecom Public Company Limited and private sector associations and companies. A total of 151 participants joined on-site and online channels including personnel from the national and global network as well as from National Plant Protection Organisations (NPPOs) of various countries.
” In 2021, DOA issued a total of 409,279 phytosanitary certificates for exporting volumes of 784,259 million baht. The DOA implementation of the ePhyto system will help facilitate trade for exporters. It will also help to simplify the process, enabling the exchange of important data electronically, which in turn will reduce the use of paper and allow us to trace information from the destination country back to our farmers and producers,” said Mr. Rapibhat Chandarasrivongs, Director-General of DOA. “Furthermore, stakeholders from government and business can use this information in various ways, including in trade negotiations, in setting phytosanitary measures, and in analysing data to plan production more efficiently. All of this will lead to market expansion and increase the value of Thailand’s exports.”
Agriculture is a vital part of Thailand’s economy, representing 8% of GDP and employing around 6.4 million people – about one-third of Thailand’s workforce – and comprises mostly micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Thailand trades extensively with other ASEAN Member States and several large trading partners, including Australia, Brazil, China, the European Union, and the United States of America.
The Alliance’s work involves upgrading Information Technology systems to link the Single Window to the IPPC ePhyto Hub, allowing the digital exchange of ePhytos with other member countries. The project also involves training government officers and relevant private sector stakeholders in its use, as well as raising awareness among traders of the benefits of adopting the IPPC ePhyto Solution.
“The successful launch of this pilot service reflects the ambition of everyone involved to implement systemic trade reform,” said Mr. Philippe Isler, the Alliance’s Director. “Adopting the ePhyto Solution will benefit the entire economy, enhancing Thailand’s competitiveness.”
About the Alliance
The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation is a public-private partnership for trade-led growth, supporting governments in developing and least-developed countries in implementing the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. Alliance projects cut through red tape and end costly delays at borders by bringing together governments and businesses of all sizes as equal partners to deliver targeted trade reforms.
By emphasising digitalisation and delivering other best practices, Alliance projects enable businesses to trade more easily thanks to streamlined and more predictable processes. Governments save time and resources by modernising trade procedures while still safeguarding their borders. Ultimately, Alliance projects boost trade competitiveness and business conditions, which are key drivers of inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.
The Alliance is led by the Centre for International Private Enterprise, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the World Economic Forum, in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is funded by the governments of the United States, Canada, Germany, and Denmark.