What is eCert?
eCert allows importing and exporting government agencies to exchange government certificates electronically. It works via a secure and encrypted data exchange.
We use eCert to exchange:
- phytosanitary certificates for plant and plant-related products
- sanitary certificates (also known as health and/or veterinary certificates) for animal and animal-related products.
These electronic certificates (eCerts) contain the same information as a paper government certificate.
Importing and exporting with eCert
We can send and receive eCerts using our Australian National eCert Systems. This process varies between imports to Australia and exports from Australia.
Find out more about importing and exporting goods with eCert.
Learn more about importing goods with eCert.
Learn more about exporting goods with eCert.
eCert is recognised globally as the future of government certification. eCert prepares us for increases in the volume and complexity of global trade.
The benefits of eCert include:
- fast and secure transfer of certificates
- reduces fraudulent, illegible or lost certificates
- certificates transmitted using a consistent, internationally recognised digital format
- less reliance on paper in line with international standards
- early assurance that goods meet food safety, animal and plant health requirements
- certificates are easily traced
- a streamlined, less costly export experience
- pre-clearance of goods
- time to manage resources and potential risks before goods arrive.
Comparison between paper certificate process and eCert process
The paper certificate process takes 6 to 15 days and 6 steps to complete. The eCert process can be completed in 1 minute to 4 hours.
Developing an eCert exchange
We work with overseas government agencies to implement new eCert connections. After negotiations and testing, new eCert exchanges can be used in the clearance processes.
Several countries have implemented an eCert agreement with Australia. We continue to work with trading partners to expand the use of eCert for cross-border trade.
The ultimate goal of eCert is paperless trade, where only the eCert is used for clearance processes. However, there may be an interim stage where the eCert and paper certificate are issued together. This is called a parallel eCert exchange.
Any changes to the import or export processes, are communicated to affected industries and stakeholders.
Early adopters of eCert saw the need for standardised technical and business processes. The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) developed Sanitary and Phytosanitary data standards and associated XML schemas.
Many trading partners use these schemas to send eCert messages. The UN/CEFACT data standards are recognised by several international standard setting bodies. They include:
- Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)
- International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)
- World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH)
The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) have developed a global IPPC ePhyto Hub. This is used to exchange eCerts for phytosanitary certificates (also called ePhytos).
Australia is connected to the IPPC ePhyto Hub using our national eCert systems. We also have bilateral, system to system phytosanitary eCert exchanges with government agencies.
Australia has many sanitary eCert exchanges with trading partners. These are also known as health or veterinary certificates. We're continuing our work to implement more sanitary exchanges with trading partners who have an eCert system to transmit sanitary certificates.
For more information email eCert administrator.