Understanding EU’s Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES)

The Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) is the European Commission’s multilingual online management tool for all sanitary requirements on intra-EU trade and importation of animals, food, feed, and plants.

Why and when did the online Certificate of Inspection (COI) system start?

As of October 19th, 2017 the EU has only been accepting electronic export certificates, commonly known as Certificates of Inspection (COI) through their new system called TRACES. This new system is designed to increase efficiencies and integrity with the import approval process.

What are the supporting documents that are required for each COI?

Typical supporting documents include invoices, the packing list(s), and either a BOL (bill of lading) or AWB (airway bill) depending on how the product is being shipped.

Who can request a COI?

Importers and exporters have the ability to request a COI if they are set up in the system as operators.

How do I get started in TRACES in order to request a COI?

OTCO clients need to be registered as organic producers and organic exporters in order to be selected in designated boxes. An operator account is needed in order to create a COI. First, create an account on EU Login. Secondly, request an access profile in TRACES NT. Learn more via the instructions on the TRACES NT website.

Is there anything I need to know to fill out the request form?

All products on the request form must match the wording on the organic certificate. For example, if you are shipping “strawberries” and your organic certificate says “frozen strawberries,” then “frozen strawberries” must be on the request form. In addition, TRACES has yet to create an electronic signature feature. A hard copy of the COI is required by customs until further notice.

How do I get a copy after the submission of my COI?

Please send an email with the COI number as the subject line to export@tilth.org and be sure to include:

  • Destination address
  • FedEx/UPS/DHL account number for billing purposes (if sending via UPS, please provide the zip code associated with the account to be billed)
  • Supporting documents if not uploaded to the request form already. OTCO will provide the tracking number once the shipping label has been created

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