Chile becomes the first South American country to achieve electronic phytosanitary certification with South Korea

Chile becomes the first South American country to achieve electronic phytosanitary certification with South Korea

electronic phytosanitary certification
The implementation of these ePhytos would allow the industry to save close to USD$100 million annually
electronic phytosanitary certification

On January 1, 2024, the ePhyto or Electronic Phytosanitary Certification between South Korea and Chile came into effect, allowing both countries to take advantage of all the benefits that the initiative entails to facilitate trade and improve plant health management.

“This is great news for our fresh fruit exports to South Korea, because the use of this type of certification will mean savings in time and resources for the public and private sectors. “Chile becomes the first South American country to have the electronic phytosanitary certification approved with South Korea, since beside Chile, this country is working with this system only with Thailand, the European Union and China”, revealed Miguel Canala Echeverría, general manager of Frutas de Chile.

He added: “With the implementation of ePhytos, the sending of paper certificates to the destination port is eliminated, as well as the loss of documents, reissuance due to changes in ports, importers or others. In addition, these certificates provide greater security, since adulterated documents are avoided, benefiting traceability and responding more quickly to unforeseen events that may arise during the export process.”

On the other hand, he highlighted that this achievement in South Korea is key to advancing the implementation of ePhytos for shipments of Chilean fruits in all destination markets. “Today, there are markets such as the United States, Canada and the Middle East where 100% of our exports are made using electronic phytosanitary certification, while only 13% of shipments are made under this system in the Far East. Achieving the implementation of ePhyto in 100% of the destination markets could mean savings for the sector in the order of USD 100 million annually.”

Also, the representative of Frutas de Chile, observed: “We want to thank and highlight the important work of the professionals of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Chilean embassy in South Korea and its attaché office, and the professionals of the Agricultural and Livestock Service, to materialize this initiative. We believe that the first official visit of the Minister of Agriculture, Esteban Valenzuela, in the month of October 2023 to this country, in which we were invited to participate, was key to expediting the implementation of this system; meeting with the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency of Korea (APQA), headed by its director Koh, Kyung Bong, in addition to professionals Baer Hyung; Ra Youn-Kyoung; Lee Byoung-Guan and Jun OK-Kyoung. We also met with the Commissioner of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) of Korea, JungHee Kim”.

Rodrigo Astete, deputy director of SAG, in an interview with Frutas de Chile, indicated: “We are going to start with an initial model, keeping a paper copy of the certificate for greater security of the operation for up to 6 months, together with the ePhyto, while reviews the proposal submitted by the SAG on the use of a Contingency Procedure in the event of possible transmission problems. Electronic certification brings great advantages for exports. It provides security to our exports, reduces the costs of sending documentation and reduces all administrative aspects for sending documentation, providing greater security to the certification of our export fruit”.

Astete also revealed that the implementation of ePhyto between Chile and South Korea “was achieved in less than a year of work between both phytosanitary agencies,” all of which would reflect the good relations existing between both countries and their phytosanitary agencies.

He also reported that on November 30, 2023, a last technical meeting was held with APQA professionals in Seoul, definitively agreeing on the start of the ePhyto between Chile and South Korea, which was notified to the director of SAG, José Guajardo, through the official letter signed by Kyung Bong Koh, director of the APQA Export Management Division/Department.

The technical visit of the SAG was led by Rodrigo Robles, ECert coordinator of the Operations Subdirectorate Division and consisted of a visit to the offices of the Incheon Airport, where it was possible to visualize what the SAG is looking for and working to integrate the work with South Korea and Asia.

Regarding this last visit, Chile’s agricultural and commercial attaché in Korea, José Miguel Sepúlveda, commented: “It was a very fruitful visit, since it was part of the 8th round of negotiations of the Chile – Korea FTA, an occasion in which we reiterated “the importance of our commercial relations and that the electronic certification tool is essential to further strengthen this joint work of more than 20 years, starting a new chapter between both nations.”

Source: Frutas de Chile’s press release

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