Managing Port of Entry (POE)

A Lastest News about Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Colombia

Posted on: 28 Nov 2012

This report is to inform U.S. exporters on how to prevent port of entry difficulties when shipping meat and poultry products to Colombia.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Voluntary Public - Date: 11/8/2012 GAIN Report Number: Colombia Post: Bogota Report Update – Exporting to Colombia – Managing Port of Entry (POE) Report Categories: Exporter Guide Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Narrative Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Narrative Livestock and Products Poultry and Products Approved By: Joseph Lopez, Agricultural Counselor Prepared By: Anthony J. Gilbert, Agricultural Attaché Report Highlights: This report is to inform U.S. exporters on how to prevent port of entry difficulties when shipping meat and poultry products to Colombia. As a result of increased trade from the U.S.-Colombia Trade Partnership Agreement and other bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, POE regulatory authorities have become more vigilant about adherence to documentation and certification standards with greater sensitivity towards product visual aesthetics, regardless of any actual food safety considerations. In addition, the Government of Colombia (GOC) inadequately notifies trade stakeholders of new standards that have resulted in unexpected port delays. General Information: Disclaimer: This report was prepared by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Office of Agricultural Affairs in Bogotá, Colombia, for U.S. exporters of meat and poultry products. This report intends to provide guidance on POE issues observed by this office and recommendations to avoid potential delays or problems with product entry. Information in this report may not reflect complete accuracy given that GOC policies and import procedures may change without any notification to FAS/Bogotá and/or exporters; nevertheless, even if notified, the GOC may neglect to provide clear and consistent guidance or information on those administrative or regulatory POE changes. Before shipping any products, it is strongly recommended that U.S. exporters verify the full set of import requirements with their foreign customers, who are normally best positioned to research and verify those requirements with GOC officials. Lastly, import approval of any product is subject to how the POE regulatory authorities interpret the Colombian import rules and regulations, which can depend on the POE and GOC resource limitations, such as a shortage of inspectors and/or limited technical capacities of the officials conducting the inspections. Introduction: The primary sea ports of entry relevant to U.S. agricultural commerce are the Ports of Barranquilla, Santa Marta and Cartagena on the Atlantic/Caribbean coast and Buenaventura on the Pacific. All ports handle most forms of agricultural commerce; however, the Port of Cartagena is specialized for container shipments and the Ports of Santa Marta and Barranquilla are better equipped for bulk commodities. Regulatory officials responsible for inspection represent the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Health and Social Protection (MHSP) and Commerce, Industry and Trade (MOCIT). Administration of the ports is managed by MOCIT with the MARD and MHSP providing a supporting role addressing issues with plant and animal sanitary/phytosanitary and food safety concerns. For more details on regulatory roles and responsibilities, see the Colombia Food and Agriculture Import Regulatory and Standards (FAIRS) Report. New Procedure for Export Establishment Registration: Colombia and the United States have an agreement that provides import eligibility of meat and poultry products with a packaging origin from any U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) federally inspected establishment. The GOC will only recognize those establishments that are listed in the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Meat and Poultry Inspection Directory. As well, beef products must also originate from establishments approved under the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Export Verification Program. Recently, MHSP has developed a duplicate procedure requiring that all U.S. exporting establishments register with the National Institute for the Surveillance of Food and Medicines (INVIMA), in addition to being listed in the FSIS Meat and Poultry Inspection Directory. In order to register with INVIMA, exporting establishments must provide the following information: Country of Origin Establishment Name Establishment Number Address Products that will be exported to Colombia Email address The information should be provided in a formal letter and sent via courier or private post to: INVIMA Subdirector de Alimentos y Bebidas Alcohólicas (E) Carrera 68 D #17-11 Bogotá D.C.- Colombia To avoid potential POE problems, before shipping product it will be critical to verify the listing of the U.S. exporting establishment after submitting the required registration information through the following web site: Keys to avoiding POE problems: Documentation and clerical errors represent the most persistent POE problems. Other issues that have resulted in the detention or rejection of shipments include non-compliance with sanitary, phytosanitary or labeling requirements. For example, INVIMA port inspectors are sensitive to mixed food product shipments and have detained whole containers due to the juxtaposition of meat and non-meat products within the same container, regardless that the products were appropriately packaged and separated on different pallets. Also, meat and poultry products have been detained and/or rejected for the appearance of unsanitary packaging and non-compliance with labeling requirements, such as not providing labeling information on product origin. Moreover, referencing the new procedure above, meat and poultry products have been detained due to the U.S. establishment not being registered with INVIMA. The following are key considerations to avoid POE problems: Verify the product’s eligibility for entry into Colombia; Confirm that the certificates and accompanying documents contain accurate product information; Confirm that the USDA certificates are current and applicable to Colombian import regulations; Confirm that the U.S. establishment is registered with INVIMA; Verify compliance with Colombia’s labeling regulations; Be aware that INVIMA inspectors are prone to reject containers based on the appearance of unsanitary packaging; Verify that documents accompanying the shipment are originals and are signed by the corresponding U.S. authorities; and, Maintain close communication with the Colombian customer and U.S. freight forwarder responsible for the shipment. Other Relevant Reports Submitted by FAS/Bogotá: Report Number Subject Date Submitted Food and Agriculture Import Regulations and Standards 12/12/2011
Posted: 28 November 2012

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