Plants and plant products have also health, safety and quality requirements, which are set by importing countries around the world by their legislation (plant health, food safety, organic product import, quality schemes). To prevent trade barriers, such legislation has to comply with international law (WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement). Phytosanitary requirements have to be scientifically justified or based on international standards (International Plant Protection Convention). In supporting a market access the countries’ import requirements have to be collected.
The European Union is a major importer of food, wood and other plant products, which are required to fulfil the same high standards as products of the EU origin. Strict import rules with respect to food and feed hygiene, consumer safety and plant health status aim at assuring that all imports. Besides controls in exporting country, the import controls are crucial in verifying compliance of goods with relevant requirements.
The new plant health regime continues regulating plants, plant products and other articles. By ‘plants[a1] ’ are meant all living plants and living parts of plants, such as seeds, in the botanical sense for sowing; fruits, in the botanical sense; vegetables; tubers, corms, bulbs, rhizomes, roots, rootstocks, stolons; cut flowers; branches and other parts of trees and green plants, including plant tissue cultures.
By ‘plant products[a2] ’ are meant unmanufactured material of plant origin and those manufactured products that, by their nature or that of their processing, may create a risk of the spread of quarantine pests. Among plant products are grain, pulses, and other seeds, or nuts for consumption, as well as wood.
For the new plant health regime, we can say that all living plant commodities, entering the EU territory from non-EU countries, need a phytosanitary certificate at the import. The only exception to this rule are 5 fruits, listed in Annex XI.C (PCR, 2022): bananas, dates, durians, coconuts, and pineapples. These fruits can be imported without a phytosanitary certificate, without undergoing the phytosanitary import checks, and they do not need to be declared as phytosanitary relevant goods, so they can enter trough any entry point.
Phytosanitary certificates have to accompany the regulated plants, plant products and other articles, listed in Annex XI.A (PCR, 2022) and those, regulated by emergency measures. These goods may enter only through designated border control posts, which are listed per each Member State on the road, railway, airport or port entry points and which fulfil certain safety and working conditions for border import controls.
At designated border control posts above-mentioned goods have to be prenotified to the phytosanitary service operating there, using the first part of Common Health Entry Document for plant health (CHED-PP), which assures traceability of consignments with the help of information systems. The majority of border control posts use directly Traces NT system, maintained centrally by the European Commission. The minority of them use national systems for recording import consignments and results of controls and later transfer data into Traces NT system.
Current approach to import controls varies according to the sector and biosecurity risk to animal health, plant health or food safety.
 Annex of IMSOC Regulation (EU) 2019/1715
 Definition in Plant Health Regulation (EU) 2016/2031, Article 2(1)
[a1]In the ISPM 5 Glossary: “Plants – Living plants and parts thereof, including seeds and germplasm”.
[a2]In the ISPM 5 Glossary: “Plant products – Unmanufactured material of plant origin (including grain) and those manufactured products that, by their nature or that of their processing, may create a risk for the introduction and spread of pests “