We’re celebrating 100 days of paperless export trade with the European Union (EU).
Agricultural exports of edible meat, dairy and seafood are now traded without paper certificates.
Australia is the first country to implement a system-to-system exchange, allowing the transition to electronic certification (eCert) with the EU. As a bloc, the EU was Australia's second largest trading partner in 2020 and our seventh largest export destination, so streamlining our ‘paperwork’ has a big impact.
In just 3 months we’ve avoided printing over 2000 paper certificates and exchanged nearly 800 eCerts with EU governments instead. Just imagine, in a year’s time we will save nearly 20 reams of paper, which equates to a whole tree.
Electronic certification, or eCert, lets trading partners send and receive government certification electronically, in a secure government-to-government exchange.
This paperless exchange of certificates makes trade arrangements simpler, more efficient and secure, and more environmentally friendly.
Faster, simpler, safer – the benefits of paperless trade
eCerts are sent to overseas government agencies almost instantly, so producers can get their goods to market faster. This includes eCerts for animal health (sanitary) and plant health (phytosanitary).
eCert means exporting businesses no longer need to rely on the department to print, manually sign and seal paper certificates. And there’s no need to produce bilingual paper certificates because the exchange generates translations automatically.
eCerts also reduce the opportunity for fraudulent behaviour and eliminate the risks of lost or illegible paper certificates.
eCert uptake surges during the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we provide certification information internationally, with an increased interest in developing eCert exchanges and paperless trade.
Australia was already a pioneer and international leader in eCert practices and electronic export systems but the pandemic has boosted uptake in paperless exchange for our imports and exports. Moving to a paperless exchange has the unexpected bonus of avoiding face to face contact for businesses and our departmental staff.
eCert is now more important than ever in ensuring the department can support industry, facilitate trade and give our trading partners confidence that their export ‘paperwork’ is in order.
eCert aligns with our strategy to modernise our import and export services by moving more of them online.