A. General Information

1. Title

TRACES –Trade Control and Expert System

2. Status of the project
3. Implementation period of the project/service:
5. Geographical coverage
Global: Europe, Asia and the Pacific, North America, Latin America, Africa, Western Asia
Participating countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, North Macedonia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Türkiye, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Andorra, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam, Argentina, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Senegal, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Denmark, Greenland, Honduras, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Nicaragua, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Slovakia, Slovenia, United Arab Emirates, Cabo Verde, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Faroe Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Jamaica, New Caledonia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Solomon Islands
Hub Point: Belgium
6. Participating agencies/entities of the project/service:
a. Development stage
Lead agencies/entities
European Commission
Other participating agencies/entities
b. Operational stage
Lead agencies/entities (op)
European Commission
Other participating agencies/entities (op)
7. Main stakeholders/beneficiaries of the project
Traders (big enterprises)
Traders (SMEs)
8. Business process category of the project
Regulatory/official control

B. Lessons Learned

9. Summary description of the project/service
Brief Summary

TRACES is the European Commission's online platform for SPS certification required for the importation of animals, food and plants into the EU, the intra-EU trade and exports. It facilitates the exchange of data, information and documents between trading parties, simplifies and speeds up procedures.

a. Objective(s)

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.

b. Business need for the project (background)

To comply with the European Commission’s digital strategy thus enabling implementation of electronic sanitary and phytosanitary certification practices.

c. Business process covered*

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

d. Overall architecture and functionalities*

Source: file:///C:/Users/Ani/Desktop/EOI_project/Filled%20froms-right%20one/8.%20Traces/Ecert_Presentation_Carton_English.pdf23

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

Sanitary and phytosanitary certificates

11. Data models/databases, proprietary solutions, hybrid approaches

The electronic exchange of sanitary and phytosanitary certificates is performed via EU online platform TRACES.

12. Main challenges faced during the project
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

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.

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

Enhance the use of the platforms for non EU countries trading with EU.

Further actions towards EU trade digitalization.

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
21. Technical communication standard
21A. Technical communication standard supporting the project
21B. Type of technical communication standard applied for the project
22. Security-related standards*
22A. Security-related standard supporting the project
22B. Type of security-related standard applied for the project
23. Other Technical Information
23A. Interface developed for data exchange with an internal system
23B. Other technical implementation information