In order to allow scientifc research institutes to carry out trials, scientific research or to work on varietal selection processes, it is necessary to have an official letter of authority to import into the European Union (EU) or to export outside the EU harmful organisms, plants, plant products and other materials whose import or export would otherwise be prohibited.The research institute has to submit their application to the Administration of agricultural technical services (Administration des Services Techniques de l'Agriculture - ASTA) .
Research institutes, their researchers and heads of biosecurity who conduct tests and trials on existing products or develop new species have to request an official letter of authority to import or export plants and plant products for research purposes.
The goods concerned are:
- isolated harmful organisms;
- certain plants, plant products including soil and growing medium;
- plants, plant products and other materials which do not meet the usual specific requirements;
- plants, plant products and other materials from third countries likely to contain harmful organisms which would be otherwise prohibited for import.
Submitting the application
They have to attach a phytosanitary certificate for the consignment concerned by the application.
Conditions for denial
ASTA can withdraw the authorisation (letter of authority) at any moment if the prior requirements are no longer met, e.g. if the samples contain, upon their arrival, other harmful organisms than those for which the authorisation has been applied for.
Modification of the application
Applicants have to submit a similar application for authorisation before any change can be made or notify ASTA in the event of a cessation of research, trial or specification activities.
This can namely be the case if:
- the intention is to import, introduce or use other harmful organisms, plants, plant products or other materials;
- other life stages of organisms are developed;
- the quantities need to be adapted;
- the premises and installations are being modified;
- SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are changed in a way that impacts the existing assessment of the activity's safety and security.
The new activity can only start once the application for modification has been approved. Depending on the nature of the modification, the approval can be purely administrative or based on an inspection visit.