Exports from India
Consequent upon the inception of WTO regime, the exports of agri-commodities have also multiplied due to free movement of International trade. At the same time, Sanitary & Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement has empowered the countries to safe guard their biodiversity from the entry of exotic pests. This has resulted in stipulating stringent phytosanitary measures on import of plant/planting material and plant products. To refrain the countries on imposing unjustifiable restrictions, International Plant protection Convention, 1951 (IPPC) of FAO and its subsequent adoption as standard-setting body by WTO, has brought out scientifically based International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs). These have been discussed and deliberated in series of meetings by the members and subsequently finalized and adopted by all the member countries. The purpose of IPPC is to ensure common and effective action to prevent the introduction and spread of pests and diseases of plants and plant materials and to promote measures for their control. International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) are adopted by contracting parties to the IPPC through the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures. ISPMs are the standards, guidelines and recommendations recognized as the basis for phytosanitary measures applied by Members of the World Trade Organization under the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Member countries are encouraged to use International standard, guidelines and recommendation where they exist, and to avoid any dispute.
Article V of the IPPC envisages that each contracting party shall make arrangements for phytosanitary certification, with the objective of ensuring that exported plants, plant products and other regulated articles and consignments thereof are in conformity with the following provisions:
- a) Inspection and other related activities leading to issuance of phytosanitary certificates shall be carried out only by or under the authority of the official national plant protection organization. The issuance of phytosanitary certificates shall be carried out by public officers who are technically qualified and duly authorized by the official national plant protection organization to act on its behalf and under its control with such knowledge and information available to those officers that the authorities of importing contracting parties may accept the phytosanitary certificates with confidence as dependable documents.
- b) Phytosanitary certificates, or their electronic equivalent where accepted by the importing contracting party concerned, shall be as worded in the models set out in the Annex to this Convention. These certificates should be completed and issued taking into account relevant international standards.
- c) Uncertified alterations or erasures shall invalidate the certificates.
Hence, it has become more imperative for the Phytosanitary Certificate (PSC) issuing authorities to thoroughly inspect the exportable consignment before issue of Plant health certificate (PSC). The export inspections involves sampling and detailed laboratory tests in case of seeds and planting material for propagation whereas visual examination with hand lens and washing tests, etc are carried out of plant material meant for consumption. The export inspections are conducted at exporters’ premises also to facilitate exports for agricultural commodities meant for consumption. The detail procedure of export inspection and certification of plant and plant products could be seen at URL: http://plantquarantineindia.nic.in/html/Exp-insp-cert.htm. PSC is subsequently issued certifying the pest-free status of the commodity vis-à-vis additional declaration required, if any, by the importing country. .Most of the agri-commodities are required to be treated to exterminate the pest before export. This phytosanitary treatment with dose, temperature, etc. is mostly specified by the importing country. PSC issuing authority has to be satisfied with the treatment carried out and make necessary endorsement on the PSC. PSC issuing authorities are public authorities notified by Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India who are required to possess necessary infrastructure and laboratory equipments to test the exportable commodities.
Accordingly, the National Standards are required to be prepared in line with the approved International Standards by International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) for various plant quarantine activities for their universal acceptance. As such, the National Standards for Phytosanitary Measures for some of the important activities have already been developed, approved by the Govt. of India and accordingly adopted for implementation. Similarly, National Standards have also been developed for accreditation of Phytosanitary Treatment Providers. They have been authorized to undertake phytosanitary treatment for the exportable consignments vis-à-vis treatments listed under ISPM-15 which are internationally accepted. This accreditation has since started from May, 2005 and so far registered could be seen as per details given below:-
- Fumigation Operators registered as methyl bromide treatment providers as per NSPM-12 in line with ISPM-15
- Registered Forced Hot Air Treatment providers for Wood Packaging Material: ISPM-15
- Certified Hot water Immersion treatment facilities for Mango fruits
- Registered providers for Vapour Heat Treatment for fresh fruits & Vegetables
- Certified Irradiation Treatment Facilities for Fresh Fruits
- Certified Heat Treatment Facilities for Niger Seed
In view of the above, Exporters are suggested to procure a copy of the Import Permit taken by the Importing Company from their concerned authority to know about the phytosanitary conditions and treatments required. Moreover, it is in the interest of the Exporters to keep themselves abreast about the import regulations of different countries. Website addresses of some of the countries with respect to their import regulations are given under the Tab-‘Useful Weblinks’ in this site.