In progress

Speeding up authorisations for processed foods

Enhancing access for MSMEs to benefits of global trade


Like their counterparts elsewhere, Peruvian micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) struggle to access international markets. A lack of technical information on foreign trade issues, coupled with complex administrative and regulatory procedures, delays issuance of pre-market authorisations for exports and imports of processed foods.

For these MSMEs, many of them women-owned, the issues have had a ripple effect, leading to cost overruns, disrupted shipment schedules, missed commitments, and lost customers.

The Alliance is supporting Peru in addressing delays in issuing pre-market authorisations for exports and imports of processed food by the General Directorate of Environmental Health and Food Safety (Digesa) of the Ministry of Health. The project will allow for more predictability in the country’s food safety and regulatory system by tackling back-office inefficiencies, making the country’s trade-related regulatory framework more transparent and developing an efficient information and communication system.

What we are doing

MSMEs represent 99.6% of all Peruvian companies and 94% of the country’s export businesses. However, their contribution to exports constitutes just 9% or so of total value.

This Alliance project is focusing on solutions to save businesses time and money caused by delays in issuing pre-market authorisations. It is helping to give businesses, particularly MSMEs, a greater opportunity to participate in foreign trade.

The project is working with Digesa to optimise its internal processes and issue pre-market authorisation of exports and imports of processed food within established deadlines. Evaluation criteria and interpretations across procedures are being consolidated, enabling Digesa staff to deliver predictable decisions. As a result, traders will reduce their commercial transaction lead times and overcharges and gain more predictability in their interactions with the agency while maintaining food and product safety standards.

Digesa is also making its trade-related regulatory framework more transparent for all users. This change will produce integrated and organised regulations for imports and exports of processed foods and a user-friendly digital directory, which will allow users to identify regulatory requirements and track changes quickly.

Finally, Digesa is ensuring that clear and accurate information is available to users. This effort includes developing tools to improve food safety information related to foreign trade procedures, MSME-targeted services to boost their trade-related capacities, and other ways to enhance communication with users.

These three components will improve Digesa’s decision-making procedures and processes, enhance the predictability of administrative rulings and inspections, and streamline regulations.

In addition to Digesa, the project is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and its National Trade Facilitation Directorate which hosts Peru’s Single Window of Foreign Trade, and the Commission for the Promotion of Peru for Exports and Tourism. The Association of Exporters of Peru, the National Industries Society, the Lima Chamber of Commerce, and the Peruvian Foreign Trade Society will support the project as strategic partners.


In addition to increasing Peru’s trade competitiveness, the project will benefit MSMEs by reducing:

  • the amount of time necessary to obtain Digesa pre-market authorisations
  • the costs associated with the unpredictable timeframe of issuing pre-market approvals and clearance time
  • unsuccessful applications for pre-market approvals for processed foods in Peru


We are focusing on determining time and cost savings yielded through the project. In addition, the Alliance performed quarterly evaluations where feasible, and adjustments were made based on feedback generated and information collected during working meetings with Digesa’s project team. Finally, we will conduct a full assessment upon completion.


The project is expected to be implemented in 12 months, followed by a six-month monitoring and evaluation period.

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