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Endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES)

The aim of this Regulation is to ensure the protection and conservation of endangered species of wild fauna and flora, through the control of trade in these species by establishing conditions for their importation, exportation or re-exportation and on their movement within the European Union (EU), in accordance with the CITES Convention.

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

This Regulation applies in compliance with the objectives, principles and provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It establishes a list of endangered species in four annexes (A, B, C and D). The degree of protection and the nature of commercial measures that apply to the species concerned vary according to the Annex in which the species are listed.

Under this Regulation, common conditions apply to:

  • the issue, use and presentation of documents for the import, export or re-export of specimens of the species covered by the Regulation. Without prejudice to any stricter measures which may be taken by Member States, these documents are valid throughout the Community;
  • the sale or any other commercial transaction of specimens of the species listed in Annex A within the Community.

Introduction into the Community

Importation of specimens of endangered species is subject to:

  • the presentation of an import permit issued by a management authority of the Member State of destination or an import notification; and
  • completion of the necessary checks.

The Commission may at any time impose general import restrictions, or restrictions relating only to certain countries of origin; it publishes a list of such restrictions regularly in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Export or re-export outside the Community

The export or re-export of specimens of endangered species is subject to:

  • the presentation of an export permit or re-export certificate issued by a management authority of the Member State in which the specimens are located; and
  • completion of the necessary checks.

Rejection of requests for permits and certificates

When a Member State rejects an application for a permit or certificate, it immediately informs the Commission which, in turn, will be responsible for informing the other Member States.

Derogations

The Regulation establishes derogations for specimens born and bred in captivity or artificially propagated, for specimens in transit and for specimens forming part of personal and household effects or destined for scientific institutions.

Provisions relating to the control of commercial activities

The purchase of or trade in specimens of species in Annex A is prohibited.

Member States may also prohibit the holding of specimens of species in Annex A.

Movement of live specimens

The movement within the Community of live specimens of a species listed in Annex A is subject to prior authorisation from a management authority of the Member State in which the specimen is located.

The movement within the Community of live specimens of a species listed in Annex B is subject to compliance by the recipient with rules on animal protection (adequate housing and care).

The Commission may at any time impose restrictions on the holding or movement of live specimens of species in respect of which restrictions on introduction into the Community have been established.

Places of introduction and export

Member States must:

  • designate customs offices for carrying out the checks and formalities for the species covered by the Regulation. A list of these offices is published in the Official Journal of the European Union;
  • designate the management authorities and the scientific authorities responsible for implementation of the Regulation. A list of such authorities is published in the Official Journal of the European Union;
  • monitor compliance with the provisions of the Regulation and penalise infringements.

Communication of information

The Regulation introduces a system for the exchange of information between the various authorities concerned with the implementation of the Regulation: the Member States, the Commission, the CITES Secretariat, etc.

The Member States draw up annual reports detailing the volume of trade in specimens covered by the Regulation. Every two years, they draw up detailed reports on the implementation and application of the Regulation.

Background

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed in Washington on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 January 1975. It currently has 175 parties.

The CITES text was amended in 1983 to allow regional economic integration organisations such as the European Community to become parties to the Convention (Gaborone amendment). However, not enough parties have ratified the amendment for it to enter into force. Accordingly, the Community position at CITES conferences is represented by the EU Member States acting jointly from a position established by the Council.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 338/97

1.3.1997

-

OJ L 61 of 3.3.1997

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1497/2003

30.8.2003

-

OJ L 215 of 27.8.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

-

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

Regulation (EC) No 834/2004

19.5.2004

-

OJ L 127 of 29.4.2004

Regulation (EC) No 1332/2005

22.8.2005

-

OJ L 215 of 19.8.2005

Regulation (EC) No 398/2009

10.6.2009

-

OJ L 126 of 21.5.2009

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 338/97 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEXES

Annex I – List of endangered species
Regulation (EC) No 318/2008 [Official Journal L 95 of 8.4.2008];
Regulation (EC) No 407/2009 [Official Journal L 123 of 19.5.2009];
Regulation (EU) No 709/2010 [Official Journal L 212 of 12.8.2010].

RELATED ACTS

Commission Regulation (EU) No 997/2010 of 5 November 2010 suspending the introduction into the Union of specimens of certain species of wild fauna and flora [Official Journal L290 of 6.11.2010].

Implementing measures

Commission Recommendation 2007/425/EC of 13 June 2007 identifying a set of actions for the enforcement of Council Regulation No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein [Official Journal L 159 of 20.6.2007].
Member States should take a certain number of measures, including the adoption of national action plans for coordinating the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 338/97, the preparation of dissuasive penalties in cases of infringement of this Regulation, the appropriate provision of agencies responsible for the enforcement of the Regulation in terms of human and financial resources and training, the provision of adequate information to the public, regular checks of traders and holders of flora and fauna such as pet shops, breeders and nurseries, the appointing of national focal points for the exchange of information and intelligence, support for management and control capacity-building programmes in third countries as well as inter-departmental cooperation and exchange of information between Member States and with the appropriate management authorities (such as those of CITES, Interpol and the World Customs Organization).

Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 of 4 May 2006 laying down detailed rules concerning the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein [Official Journal L 166 of 19.6.2006].
The forms on which import permits, export permits and re-export certificates are drawn up must conform to the model in Annex I to this Regulation. The forms on which import notifications are drawn up must conform to the model in Annex II. Those on which certificates for travelling exhibitions are drawn up must conform to the model in Annex III. The forms on which continuation sheets for personal ownership certificates are drawn up must conform to the model set out in Annex IV. The forms provided for in Articles 5, 8 and 9 must conform to the models set out in Annex V. A model for labels is given in Annex VI. The codes to be included in the description of the specimens and the units of measurement to be used are listed in Annex VII. Annex VIII gives a list of references which can be used to indicate the scientific names of species. The purpose of a transaction and the source of species must be indicated using the codes in Annex IX. In addition, the Regulation lays down provisions on the issue, use and validity of the documents. It also introduces specific provisions on specimens born and bred in captivity or artificially propagated as well as for samples.
See consolidated version

Last updated: 10.12.2010
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