A. General Information
TRACES –Trade Control and Expert System
B. Lessons Learned
TRACES is the European Commission's online platform for sanitary and phytosanitary certification required for the importation of animals, animal products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plants into the European Union, and the intra-EU trade and EU exports of animals and certain animal products. TRACES is an indispensable tool used in about 90 countries, with more than 55.000 users worldwide for the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary certificates and official documents required for imports, exports and intra EU movements of live animals and goods. It facilitates the exchange of data, information and documents between all involved trading parties and control authorities and therefore simplifies and speeds up the administrative procedures.
The TRACES platform enhances cooperation and coordination between the competent authorities of EU countries and non-EU countries, but also between the traders themselves and their competent authorities. When a decision is taken on a consignment, the involved parties are notified and have access to the relevant documents. TRACES allows for the quick detection of fake certificates and therefore contributes to the fight against food fraud and enhances cooperation and collaboration between authorities.
The electronic certification capability of TRACES NT has revolutionized the traditional sanitary and phytosanitary certification practices by enabling both EU and non-EU authorities to stamp digitally official documents and certificates, thus, making the use of paper certification obsolete.
The system usage for EU countries was compulsory from 2015.
To comply with the European Commission’s digital strategy thus enabling implementation of electronic sanitary and phytosanitary certification practices.
Web based solution (All is accessible via Internet, no software installation needed)
Allows public, private sectors exchange official documents
Exchanges with other systems (customs, iRASFF, EUROPHYT, other Country’s systems, IPPC ePhyto hub)
Provides real-time consolidated statistical information using the data in the system
Sanitary and phytosanitary certificates
The electronic exchange of sanitary and phytosanitary certificates is performed via EU online platform TRACES.
Benefits of using Traces.
Ensure a degree of uniformity at Union level with regard to the performance of official controls along the agri-food chain;
Simplify administrative procedures and contribute to the efficient performance of official controls by the different responsible authorities.
Accommodate the different practical arrangements for official controls, including for the effective follow-up to such controls in their territory;
Support the determination, modification and application of the uniform minimum frequency of official controls according to the categories of animals or goods concerned;
Provide a tool for the collection of information and for monitoring and reporting on the performance of official controls or the outcome of official controls;
Harmonize the implementation of laws and procedures in cooperation with other information systems (Customs, RASFF);
Facilitate international cooperation and exchange of information between competent authorities, including decisions taken on consignments;
Enhance cooperation and exchange of information between authorities and operators in relation to the arrival of animals and goods;
Help trace operators’ past records and identify possible violations to the rules including those perpetrated through fraudulent or deceptive practices;
Support the fight against criminal activities along the agri-food chain shared between different competent authorities.
Enhance the use of the platforms for non EU countries trading with EU.
Further actions towards EU trade digitalization.
C. Relevant Standards
EU Regulation (EU) 2017/625
EU Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1715