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Revised Codex text provides timely guidance on paperless electronic trade


The first virtual session of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS), hosted online by Australia from 31 May to 8 June 2021,discussed and recommended for adoption at the next Codex Alimentarius Commission, a draft guidance document on Paperless Use of Electronic Certificates.

When governments adopt CCFICS standards, they support fair trading practices, protect the health of consumers, and reduce food degradation and waste in international trade.

Erik Bosker is Senior Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality in The Hague. At CCFICS he heads The Netherlands delegation that led the work. This text “provides timely, solid and consistent Codex guidance for international paperless exchange of official certificates between Competent Authorities,” he said.

Since the global pandemic, providing countries with information on how to participate in paperless electronic business has become even more relevant in a global connected world. “With this updated guidance Codex Alimentarius at the same time provides a modernized instrument for other standard setting organizations that are involved in facilitating electronic business including Coordinated Border Management,” said Bosker.

The standard for this electronic certification will be UN/eCERT which was developed by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), a global standardization body which operates under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.


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This draft guidance is a revision of the ‘Guidelines for Design, Production, Issuance and use of Generic Official Certificates, (CXG 38-2001) adding electronic certificates to a remodelled text (which you can read here).

Read the UNECE press release

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