Overview of Phytosanitary Certificate
A phytosanitary Certificate is a document which is obtained for exporting or re-exporting plants, plant products or other regulated articles. It is issued to indicate the consignments meet the phytosanitary import requirements of the importing countries. In India, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Government of India, issues this Certificate as per the guidelines of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
The objective behind issuing this Certificate is to attest that plant, plant product, or other regulated articles meet the importing country's phytosanitary requirements and to support re-export to other countries.
To ensure the phytosanitary and physical integrity of consignment, the validity of the Phytosanitary Certificate before export is valid for a maximum period of seven days for perishable consignments and thirty days for non-perishable consignments, and it ensures that the goods will be shipped immediately after certification. The applicant needs to file an application at least 2-3 days prior to the actual date of shipment of consignment, and in the case of export of seed consignments, such applications need to be filed 8-10 days prior to the actual date of shipment.
International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 12
Phytosanitary Certificate in India is required to meet the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (IPSM) No.12: Guidelines for Phytosanitary Certificates as described under the Minimum Documentary and Import Declaration Requirements Policy.
IPSM 12 states that an electronic Phytosanitary Certificate can be used in case of data exchanged using an agreed, secure, government-to-government system (eCert). Presently the department has an authorised eCert system for only goods imported from a few countries, and for other countries, Phytosanitary Certificate should meet this IPSM 12 requirements for Paper (hardcopy) Certificates.
Phytosanitary Certificates that are not according to ISPM 12 are not considered acceptable. When an unacceptable Phytosanitary Certificate is presented before the department for assessment, a Documentation direction is issued with a request for a copy that is signed and stamped by an authorised officer of the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO).
Phytosanitary Certificate Attestation
Phytosanitary Certificate attestation is a process of legalisation where an attestation stamp from the concerned authority is obtained. It is done from the Certificate issuing country. This Phytosanitary Certificate is issued generally by the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of such country where plants, plant products and regulated articles are processed. Attestation agents at PEC provide services like attestation of Certificates in India. Attestation starts with a notary and finishes with attestation by the embassy/consulate. In India, the attestation procedure comprises Chamber of Commerce Attestation, MEA Stamp and Embassy Attestation.
Products covered under Phytosanitary Certificate
Exporters need to obtain Phytosanitary Certificate for the following types of products:
- Regulated articles such as plants and tubers.
- some of the plant products that have been processed have a potential for introducing regulated pests (For example, cotton or wood).
- Contaminated articles like empty shipping containers, vehicles or other organisms.
- Seeds for propagation, cut flowers and branches, fruits and vegetables grain and growing medium.
Purpose of Phytosanitary Certificate
The followings are the purposes of the Phytosanitary Certificate:
- Phytosanitary Certificate states that a plant, plant product or other regulated articles comply with the importing nation's Phytosanitary Regulations.
- Exporters may use Phytosanitary Certificate to support Certificate for re-export to other nations.
- A phytosanitary Certificate is provided to show that consignments of plants, plant products or other regulated commodities/articles are fulfilling specified phytosanitary import standards and are in line with certifying statement of the applicable model certificate.
Types of Phytosanitary Certificate
There are two types of Phytosanitary Certificate, the first one is known as Phytosanitary Certificate for Export Purpose, and another one is known as Phytosanitary Certificate for re-export Purpose.
- Phytosanitary Certificate for export
A phytosanitary Certificate is issued by the country of Origin for Export purposes. It declares that the consignment meets the phytosanitary requirements of the country. It is also provided in some cases of re-export of regulated commodities/articles originating in a country different from the country of re-export if compliance with Phytosanitary import.
- Phytosanitary Certificate for re-export Purpose
A phytosanitary Certificate for re-export is granted by re-exporting countries where the commodity is not processed or grown to change its nature in that country and where the original Phytosanitary Certificate for export is available.
Documents required for Phytosanitary Certificate
Documents with the application form required for Phytosanitary Certificate are as follows:
- Permit granted by the importing country for exporting the seeds or propagating plant material.
- Wildlife Clearance Certificate (for exporting commodities under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Flora and Fauna)
- Packing list
- Shipping or airway bills
- Letter of credit
- Trade agreement
- Purchase order
- Export license
- Fumigation Certificate
- Export inspection fee and Fumigation charges
- Copy of invoices
Application Procedure for Phytosanitary Certificate
The step-by-step procedure to obtain Phytosanitary Certificate is as follows:
- Submission of Application: The exporter submits an application in the appropriate format to the officer-in-charge of the respective Plant Quarantine Station at the designated port.
- Examination of Application: Plant Quarantine Officer examines the application and, if the same seems complete, registers it. Plant Quarantine Officer also charges the inspection fee from the applicant.
- Applications about export o import-prohibited consignments and preserved, pickled or frozen plant products are denied.
- Quarantine Order: Officer-in-Charge of designated Plant Quarantine Station issues quarantine order for the applicant to deliver the product for inspection after receiving inspection cost. In case a rejected application is cancelled, an application is rejected applicant loses the inspection fee.
- Inspection of Consignment: As per the quarantine order, the exporter submits the consignment either to the Plant Quarantine Station's Office, scheduled for inspection at his premises or submits the containers at any other allowed location on the pre-decided day and time of inspection. For sampling, opening, repackaging and sealing exporter or agent supplies the appropriate transportation, labour and other facilities.
- Sampling of Seed for Propagation: International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) Rules, 1976 is followed while sampling seed for propagation. BIS checks a sample of pulses, grains, oilseeds and other foods for human use.
- Laboratory Testing: The sample is drawn to the proper size for extensive laboratory testing by Plant Quarantine Officer assigned to inspection. The samples of grain, pulses, spices, coffee beans, dry fruits, cut flowers, turmeric, groundnut, fresh fruits and vegetables, etc., designed for eating are visually inspected with the use of a lighted magnifier, especially for live insect infestation. X-ray examination is used to evaluate pulses.
- Fumigation and Treatment of Consignment: In case a live insect/bug infestation is found, then the exported organises for fumigation of the consignment at a designated site by an authorised pest control operator under the observation of the Plant Quarantine Officer. After degassing, an examination of the consignment is conducted to confirm that the consignment is free from live infestation.
- Issue of Phytosanitary Certificate: When the consignment/cargo is confirmed free from quarantine pests during the inspection, a Phytosanitary Certificate is issued against the applicant exporter. Phytosanitary Certificate is issued in re-export format as prescribed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in case of re-exported consignments.
Indian Government has also begun issuing Phytosanitary Certificate from an electronic web system and has advised giving access to the system to the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of importing countries, allowing them to see the Certificates.
Validity of Phytosanitary Certificate
To maintain the phytosanitary and physical integrity of consignment, the validity of this Phytosanitary Certificate before export is restricted to a maximum of seven days for perishable consignments and one month for non-perishable consignments. There must be an assurance that the consignments are sent immediately after the issue of the Certificate.
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Frequently Asked Questions
A phytosanitary Certificate is a certificate that is issued by an authorised officer at the Country of Origin of consignment or re-export in the model format prescribed by the International Plant Protection Convention of the Food and Agricultural Organisation to declare that the consignments meet the phytosanitary requirements of the country.
The National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of the country of origin issues the Phytosanitary Certificate.
Any person or entity that wants to export any agricultural commodity such as plants, plant products or any regulated article consigned from one party to another at any one-time shipment under Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003; required to obtain Phytosanitary Certificate.
Place of Origin refers to a place from which a consignment receives its phytosanitary status. It is generally the place where commodity was grown. However, in certain circumstances, there can be a list of more than one place if the commodity has been moved and stored at several locations in the case of place of origin.
The Phytosanitary Certificate is issued in both online and offline mode.
On exporter request, the consignment is inspected at places outside Plant Quarantine Station on payment of Inspection Fee per visit towards such inspection within municipal limits of a town or corporation limits of the city. The exporter pays travelling and dearness allowances of the Plant Quarantine Officer and staff went for inspection outside the place (city or town) as per the entitlement and accommodation charges.
The exporter has to pay additional charges per container in case of fumigation and treatment of consignment.
Pulses are inspected/tested using X-Rays.
Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import in India) Order 2003 regulates the import of plants and plant products in India. It also regulates the prohibition of such imports.
The steps to follow for Phytosanitary Certificate Attestation are as follows:
- Chamber of Commerce Attestation
- MEA Stamp
- Embassy Attestation