Friday, September 17, 2021

Aussie dairy exports to Japan go paperless

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All milk and dairy products exported to Japan must now be exported using electronic certificates, following negotiations between the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Australian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment.

Paper export certificates will no longer be available, with only the electronic certificates issued by the eCert exchange eligible for import customs clearance in Japan.

The change is part of the Australian Government’s Modernising Agricultural Trade initiative designed to streamline trade pathways. Introducing electronic, or paperless certification (eCert), for Aussie products into overseas markets forms part of this broad work agenda. Australian dairy now joins several other products like meat, wool, skins and hides that are already eCert traded with Japan.

The department sees electronic certification as the future especially in the current pandemic context. “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how our trade and export processes are conducted; eCert presents a unique opportunity to continue to trade in a secure and verifiable way, getting our products to the world”, said Nicola Hinder, Assistant Secretary of the department’s Meat Exports Branch.The department also believe electronic certification to be more secure and less likely to be susceptible to fraud. “Through the government-to-government exchange, eCert assists with the identification of potential fraudulent certification”, Ms Hinder said.

The Japanese certification shift follows others recent changes such as a comprehensive eCert agreement with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries. This has allowed Australia to progress eCert exchanges with New Zealand for meat, dairy, seafood, and phytosanitary certificates since August 2020.

“In our COVID-19 trading environment, eCert is not only a smarter way to do business – eliminating the need for paper-based documentation – but also helps to keep our people safe by reducing the need for in-person interactions in delivering hardcopy documents”, said Ms Hinder.

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