The electronic Trade Document Exchange (eTDE) converts paper quality documents to a secure electronic format to improve efficiencies for members and customers.
This project was started in 2006 with funding from USDA-FAS. It is designed to allow electronic copies of current paper documents to reside on a server at USDA-AMS in Washington, D.C. The software developed with FAS funds allows the documents to be stored for up to 3 years in most cases, and the owner of the peanuts being exported can share access to the electronic documents with importers, port health officials, or any other entity that needs to view the original document. Starting in 2009, the system was improved to allow both an image of the document plus a complete data layer to be housed together on the server. Any system user with access to these documents can download the data layer and use it for internal analysis. The system also allows for scanned documents with limited data layers. eTDE is currently approved by the ports of Rotterdam and Felixstowe in the EU and is tentatively approved by the government of China for shipments to its ports. The expectation for 2011 is for approval from the entire EU as well as Russia and Canada. The entire software and data are protected with the USDA security system called eAuthentication.