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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Business Development l How do you obtain approval to export products subject to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures?

Business Development l How do you obtain approval to export products subject to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures?As the information provided by the International trade center, the basic rule is that goods can be exported if they meet the official requirements, including SPS requirements, of the importing country. It is the responsibility of the exporter to ensure that the goods conform to the relevant requirements, and typically there is no need for intervention by the authorities of the exporting country. Most goods do not require ‘approval’ to be exported. The importing country may check the goods on arrival to verify that they conform with local food standards, or are free of pests and diseases, before allowing entry. These checks are not usually referred to as ‘approval’ procedures.

However, in some instances, importing countries impose requirements for the inspection of goods in the
country of origin as a condition for entry into their markets. For instance, importing countries may specify
that commodities like fresh meat and seafood must be inspected and certified by competent official
bodies in the exporting country as a condition for entry into the import market. The protocols for such
inspection – as is the case for fresh meat destined for the EU and United States markets – may be
extremely detailed and their implementation may be subject to verification by relevant bodies in the
importing country. Often the rules for pre-export inspection will include a requirement for registration of
export establishments (e.g. abattoirs and fish-processing plants) from which products will be eligible for

In another instance, importing countries may require shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables to be
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the authorities of the exporting country. The
certificate should attest that the products have been fumigated or inspected, thus ensuring that there are
no quarantine pests present.

Information on such requirements can be obtained from the competent authority in the exporting country. It can also be sought from the local mission of the importing country, or from appropriate authorities in the importing country. An export promotion agency may also be able to assist.

Importing countries may ask private organizations to conduct on their behalf pre-export inspection or
approval of import consignments in relation to official requirements. For example, a certificate may be
required from an independent body (a ‘third-party certifier’) stating that a consignment of food meets the
food standards of the importing country. In this case, exporters should approach the certifying agent to
obtain information on the specific requirements that are applicable. Typically, a fee will be levied for the
inspection and certification services provided by third-party certifiers.

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act 2011, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States
has the authority to require certification by an accredited third-party auditor for imported foods and the
facilities they come from, depending on type, history or region. Third parties may be foreign governments
or private auditors who meet accreditation requirements.

Some countries, such as Australia, operate import control regimes under which, for certain kinds of goods
such as fresh fruits and vegetables, importation is prohibited unless the importing country authorities have set specific conditions for allowing imports on the basis of a risk analysis. In such situations, it will be necessary for the government of the exporting country to request the authorities of the importing country to establish the specific conditions under which market access can occur.

The operation of official approval procedures is subject to the provisions of Annex C of the SPS
Agreement. In brief, the provisions require that control, inspection and approval procedures should be
transparent, efficient and not unduly onerous. Since the conduct of a risk analysis by an importing country may mean that the authorities of the exporting country have to collect and supply a great deal of scientific and other data to their counterparts in the importing country, official market access requests can use up significant resources. Such requests should therefore be justified by the likely volume of export trade should a successful outcome be attained.
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