A. General Information

1. Title

e-SPS: The Netherlands

2. Status of the project
3. Implementation period of the project/service:
5. Geographical coverage
Participating countries: Australia, Chile, China, Kenya, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, United States of America
Hub Point: Netherlands
6. Participating agencies/entities of the project/service:
a. Development stage
Lead agencies/entities
International Plant Protection Convention Secretariat
Other participating agencies/entities
b. Operational stage
Lead agencies/entities (op)
International Plant Protection Convention Secretariat
Other participating agencies/entities (op)
7. Main stakeholders/beneficiaries of the project
Traders (big enterprises)
Traders (SMEs)
Customs brokers
8. Business process category of the project
Regulatory/official control

B. Lessons Learned

9. Summary description of the project/service
a. Objective(s)

Many agri-food products require sanitary or phytosanitary (SPS) government certificates to clear customs. SPS certificates serve as an official communication from the competent authority of the exporting country to the competent authority of the importing country that the cargo meets minimum sanitary requirements. Electronic certificates are also much more accurate than paper certificates. Electronic certificates lower the number of interceptions and reduce time in ports.

Countries are increasingly shifting to electronic customs and port clearance systems to enable better risk management. As a result, relevant regulatory bodies – including IPPC, OIE and CODEX – have recognized electronic certification as an alternative to paper certificates.

The Netherlands have launched programs for practical implementation of electronic SPS certificates. Based on bilateral agreements, currently the Netherlands has e-certification with the following countries.

-China (operating)

-USA (operating)

-Australia (operating)

-Chile (operating)

-Kenya (operating)

-South Korea (operating)

-Hong Kong (under construction)

-Columbia (under construction

-Philippines (under construction)

-Thailand (under construction)

-Turkey (under construction)

b. Business need for the project (background)

To face the challenges deriving from the use of paper certificates (paper certificates can be costly, are logistically complicated and difficult to protect against fraud).

c. Business process covered*

Exchange of electronic Phytosanitary Certificates  

d. Overall architecture and functionalities*

Electronic support system for import and export certification;

-Application of certificates

- Decision support to the certifying inspector

-Automated generation of certificates

Electronic messages

Signing and Verification Module

On line Verification module

e. Relevant document/figure
10. Documents and data exchanged via the project

Phytosanitary Certificates 

11. Data models/databases, proprietary solutions, hybrid approaches
12. Main challenges faced during the project

Funding & Technical Infrastructure

Technical Capacity

13. Lessons learned from the project
14. Main benefit(s) of the project
Enhanced regulatory compliance*
Transaction Cost savings*
Transaction Time savings
Simplified process
14A. Elaborations/detailed description on benefits gained

More efficient certification process

Contributes to Risk based enforcement

Contributes to Food Security

Reduced fraud


15. Technical/financial/capacity building/other assistance
16. Future plan for expansion of the project

Standardization of Exchange protocol

Make better use of electronic certification data

Border control assistance systems (virtual  inspector)

17. Other information or relevant references on the project
18. Relevant document regarding the project

C. Relevant Standards

20. Electronic message standard
20A. Electronic message standard supporting the project
20B. Type of standard for electronic message applied for the project
International standard
21. Technical communication standard
21A. Technical communication standard supporting the project
21B. Type of technical communication standard applied for the project
Please refer to the the link:
22. Security-related standards*
22A. Security-related standard supporting the project
22B. Type of security-related standard applied for the project
International standard
Common standards for authentication and encryption
23. Other Technical Information
23A. Interface developed for data exchange with an internal system
23B. Other technical implementation information