Pakistan advances agricultural trade with digital phytosanitary certificates

Pakistan has taken a significant step in digitalizing its agricultural trade by integrating with the E-Phyto Hub, enabling the electronic exchange of phytosanitary certificates (e-Phytos) for imports of agricultural goods and commodities. The Pakistan Single Window (PSW) platform, which spearheaded this integration, had already commenced sending e-Phytos for exports since its linkage with the E-Phyto Hub in November 2023, dispatching over 10,000 e-Phytos to 77 countries for Pakistani export consignments.

The e-Phyto, facilitated through the E-Phyto Hub of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), marks a concerted effort between the Department of Plant Protection (DPP), the Ministry of National Food Security & Research, and PSW. This digital leap signifies a pivotal advancement in digitizing Pakistan’s supply chain transactions, streamlining cross-border trade-related processes of DPP by digitizing applications, processing, and issuance of import permits, release orders, and phytosanitary certificates necessary under national and international laws.

One of the paramount benefits of this digital shift is the eradication of the necessity for paper submissions of certificates by traders during customs clearance, notably cutting down time and costs for importers. Now, Release Orders from DPP for clearance of import consignments are procured by merely indicating the e-Phyto certificate number in their single declaration (SD), sidestepping the need for physical document submission.

The Federal Secretary of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research has lauded the efforts of PSW and DPP in augmenting trade through this automation. Concurrently, the Chief Executive Officer of PSW extolled the collaborative spirit of the teams and vowed to fortify cooperation with the Ministry to further bolster cross-border trade.

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), an entity under the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, oversees the e-Phyto solution, which digitalizes paper phytosanitary certificates into electronic ones, thereby enhancing the safety, speed, and cost-effectiveness of trade. Pakistan’s integration with the E-Phyto Hub empowers it to exchange phytosanitary certificates electronically with 127 countries globally, marking a significant milestone in global agricultural trade facilitation.

The Pakistan Single Window initiative, propelled by the federal government of Pakistan, aims to automate and amalgamate cross-border trade-related procedures of Customs and other government agencies (OGAs). This not only simplifies trade but also makes it faster and more cost-effective. Through PSW, traders are enabled to submit customs declarations, permits, and other requisite information to various government agencies via a singular digital portal, signifying a substantial leap in trade efficiency and integration.

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