Frequently Asked Questions about Plant Health Traces

Questions related to the CHED-PP, or plant health entry document

Does the number of the phytosanitary certificate have to be declared on the plant health entry document (CHED-PP)?

If you import plants for planting, or timber from anywhere other than Russia, you must enter the number of the phytosanitary certificate and attach a scanned copy of it to the CHED. This streamlines the import process, and the goods will be released to you more quickly.

If you import roundwood or wood products (wood chips, sawn timber, panels, etc.) requiring a phytosanitary certificate from Russia and you make periodic customs declarations, you only need to enter the batch number and the start date of the period on the CHED. At the border, the MRN number issued by Arex and the CHED number issued by TracesNT must be declared. Note that CHEDs created at the end of the month for the next month must be declared using the batch processing number for the next month but dated in the current month, because the date in this field must not be in the future.

Does the identifier of the means of transport (e.g. vehicle registration number) have to be entered on the plant health entry document (CHED-PP)?

For now, yes. According to the Commission, this obligation will be removed on 14 Dec 2019 at the latest.

Does the place of unloading or the place where the import batch will possibly be inspected have to be declared on the plant health entry document (CHED-PP)?

Yes. In Finland, the majority of batches designated for inspection are inspected at the place of unloading (official control point). However, the authorities decide which batches are designated for inspection and whether the inspection will take place at the border control point or at the destination. Because of this, the company must fill the Purpose field on the CHED with the entry I.23. Internal market. If the place of inspection is not found in the system, you can apply for that place to be added for your company on the Finnish Food Authority website (Application for plant control point).

Can the plant health entry document (CHED-PP) be created in advance?

Yes. CHEDs may be copied from CHEDs already sent, so that not all information has to be filled in every time. A CHED may also be left in a draft state, to be added to later. This means that you can create lots of CHEDs at one time and then validate them one by one as the import batches come in. After validation, it is no longer possible to edit the CHED, because it will have passed on to the authorities for processing.

How far in advance should the plant health entry document (CHED-PP) be created?

The law says that the CHED must be in place no later than 4 h before the import batch arrives at the border. In practice, it is sufficient to have the CHED in place by the time the batch arrives at the border. The earlier the CHED has been filled in, the smoother the import process will be, as the plant inspectors will be able to perform any inspections on the imported batch immediately.

I sent a CHED by accident. How do I delete it?

No worries. You can replace an already sent CHED with a new one, on which you can enter further or corrected information.

A CHED I sent contains incorrect information. How can i correct it?

Take care when filling in the information, and keep the CHED as a draft for as long as possible. When you receive more detailed information on the import batch, you can complete the CHED and send it to the authorities. If you have already sent a CHED and want to correct the information on it, you must create a new CHED with the correct information to replace the one already sent.

I am an importer of wood and timber. In CHED-PP PART I, section I.31. Goods, I cannot find timber, wood chips or roundwood in the ‘product type’ list. Which product type should i choose?                     

  • Wood chips: Plant products (other)
  • Dust: Plant products (other)
  • Sawdust: Plant products (other)
  • Bark: Plant product (bark)
  •  Slabs / miscellaneous waste wood: Plant products (other)
  • Roundwood (fibre, logs): Plant products (other)
  • Sawn timber: Plant products (sawn wood)

Can I see in Traces whether the authorities have approved a particular import batch?

If you go to Certificates – CHED in Traces and search for the import batch using its CHED number, you will see ‘Status’ on the right. When you have sent a CHED, the status is New (blue). When the Customs have performed a document check and approved the CHED, the status is Validated (green). If the import batch is rejected, the status is Rejected (red).

Questions concerning Traces IDs and roles

I import timber or roundwood. In the Traces system, under ‘Functions’ for my company it reads “Nursery (PLANTS)” or “Plant rooting (PLANTS)”. Should I select/request the wood product import (FLEGT) function for my company?

Definitely not. The FLEGT permit system applies to imports from VPA countries (currently only Indonesia). For further information, please see the Flegt system website. The PLANTS function applies to operators as referred to in plant health legislation and to the products they import, such as pine (Pinus sylvestris) or spruce (Picea abies) roundwood or sawn timber.

I have applied for user IDs but have not received a message about them and cannot log into the system. What should I do?                     

The Traces administrator in a company must approve all other Traces users in that company. You should principally contact your company’s Traces administrator and ask for further information. If you yourself are your company’s administrator, i.e. you are the first in your company to apply for Traces user IDs, then you should contact the Finnish Food Authority.

My company shows up in the Traces system but does not have a ‘Responsible for the load’ (RFL) role. How do I apply for new roles in the system?

You should apply for new roles exactly as for your first role. However, you do not need to start with applying for EU Login user IDs; you can go directly to Traces to apply for the new role.                     

Other questions

How do the plant health entry document (CHED-PP) and the phytosanitary certificate relate to one another?

The CHED-PP is a plant health entry document submitted by an operator; it is a requirement for imports of batches that require a phytosanitary certificate, as of 14 Dec 2019. A phytosanitary certificate is a certificate issued by an authority in the originating country affirming that the batch fulfils the plant health criteria set for it.

Is there a test environment where I could practice using the system?      

The system was implemented in Finland without a test environment. Users have found the system to be easy to use. If you think our instructions are insufficient or that further advice is needed, please contact us at kasvinterveys.traces@ruokavirasto.fi.

Can the Traces system be accessed outside the EU?

Yes. The system can be used anywhere in the world, in multiple languages. Select the language under your settings. The sending company and receiving authority may each view the system in their own language. However, at the moment it is not possible to use Traces with the Cyrillic alphabet, i.e. in Russian.

Is Traces only accessible with online browsers?

For now, yes. The Commission has not opened up an interface that would allow direct integration into the systems of companies or authorities.

Is there a backup for the Traces system if the service does not function? Import batches cannot be left to wait on the border, because delays cost money.

Because the service is browser-based, it will work if there is an Internet connection. Using the Chrome browser is the best way to ensure that the service will work properly. Traces forms part of the IMSOC system maintained by the European Commission; this includes notification and alert systems for other sectors too. If an EU-wide disruption of the IMSOC system were to occur, we would exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis with a view to the magnitude of the event and announce any alternative procedures on our website and via social media.