For more than 10 years, AETS has been one of the proud implementers of a European Commission initiative known as Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF), through numerous awarded contracts. The initiative, which is under direction and management of the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) and the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) respectively, aims to build the capacity of non-EU countries in the area of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures.

In the context of this BTSF initiative, AETS recently organised a regional workshop on the use of the Trade Control and Expert System, commonly referred to as TRACES. The workshop took place from the 25th to the 28th of March 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand and was attended by approximately 30 officials from Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, who are responsible for sanitary and phytosanitary certification in their respective countries.

The workshop aimed to introduce and train the members of the competent authorities on the use of the web-based veterinarian certification tool, TRACES. TRACES is currently effectively used in the European Union (EU) and allows the EU to control the import and export of live animals and animal products. The participants demonstrated differing levels of familiarity and experience with the TRACES system, thus while for some the workshop served as an introduction to the system, even for those with prior experience the workshop introduced the Integrated Management System for Official Controls (IMSOC). The IMSOC integrates new functions into TRACES, such as electronic certification which can be used to replace hardcopy SPS certificates, as well as allowing for an increased scope of certification.

The TRACES system should enable ASEAN countries to move towards reducing their administrative non-compliances and simplify the feedback of border control outcomes sent to various stakeholders, leading to an overall improvement in the efficiency of the relevant competent authorities with regards to the EU and national legislations.

The workshop was successfully concluded and was complementary to assistance previously organised in Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar which, thus far, has resulted in more than 70% of health certificates in the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand being issued with TRACES.

For a more comprehensive explanation of the TRACES system have a look at the European Commission’s video on the topic: