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Don’t Forget Your Phytosanitary Certificate for Australia

Last week the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) sent an urgent advice to importers of USA origin seed shipments to remind them a paper phytosanitary certificate is still required for entry into Australia.


It seems a number of US seed exporters are relying on e-phyto for the transmission of certificates electronically from the USA to Australia rather than including an original in their document packet for customs clearance.


DAFF provided the following summary:

  • Australia is receiving ePhytos from the United States, however this electronic transmission to our AIMS system is still in a testing phase.

  • The ‘ePhyto’ transmission is not being used for import clearance purposes.

  • For import clearance purposes, the paper certificate is still required (other than for NZ where complete ePhyto transmission to Australia is in place).

  • The eCert team in the department is contacting their USDA counterparts to clarify the eCert is not being used for clearance (paper still required).

  • The department’s assessment policy team is currently working on an industry advice notice to clarify the Department’s position on phytosanitary certificates, including those generated from electronic systems. I don’t have a timeframe for when this announcement will be published, however I suspect it will be forthcoming soon, noting the increasing number of enquiries.

  • Until otherwise notified by the department, you are required to comply the direction issued to you from AIMS.


ePhyto is short for “electronic phytosanitary certificate”. It is tool that transmits phytosanitary certificate information digitally between countries improving trade efficiency. ePhyto is safer by reducing fraudulent activity which can prevent the spread of unwanted pests. ePhyto is faster by improving procedures at the customs and border offices when seed arrives for importation. ePhyto is cheaper because it reduces costs incurred due to certificate delays when shipped to the consignee or customs office.


Click here for more information on ePhyto or contact AgCultured Consulting LLC.


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