The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to ensure that international trade of wild animal and plant specimens does not threaten the survival of the species to which they belong. Species covered by CITES are listed in one of the three Appendices of the Convention according to the degree of protection they require.
In November 2022 at the CITES COP in Panama, the African species of the genera Afzelia, Khaya et Pterocarpus were listed in Appendix II of the Convention. Although this appendix does not ban trade of the listed species, it requires that a non-detriment findings (NDFs) must be made before any trade authorisation (export permit) is required. The NDFs is a scientific study that assesses whether trade would have an adverse (or detrimental) effect on the survival of the species concerned. Since 24 February 2023, trade in African species of the three genera must therefore comply with this requirement.
The action aims to (i) support the private sector and the administrations concerned in the process of drawing up NDFs for new species listed in Appendix II, (ii) update the vulnerability status of 50 species exploited in Central Africa and produce summary sheets accessible to the general public, (iii) ensure good interaction between the CITES authorities of exporting countries and those of importing countries.
This initiative, implemented by Franck Monthe, is part of the ASP - Pacte Vert Cameroun project. It will set up and update a FAQ in response to the various concerns of stakeholders in the timber sector in Central Africa.
At the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which took place in Panama and ended on 25 November 2022, new species of wood were listed in Appendix II of CITES, with important consequences for their exploitation and trade, especially internationally.
Specifically, for the African species Doussie, Padouk and African Mahogany, there are new obligations for all ships shipped from 23/02/2023, starting with the obligation to have an export permit from the country of origin. Imports into the European Union will also be subject to the issuance of import permits with an implementation date yet to be specified (probably mid-April). For the South American species ipe and cumaru, the new requirements will come into force on 23/11/2024.
This raises many practical questions about the timeframes, procedures and documentation required for the export and import of these species. ATIBT is working with representatives of exporting countries and companies as well as importing countries and companies, including LCB and FEDUSTRIA, to facilitate the implementation of these new measures, to provide all the necessary information and to answer all the questions raised. Over the next few years, emphasis will also be placed on pooling resources in order to take action with CITES to improve the targeting of species to be monitored.
This FAQ provides answers to questions you may have following the listing of these new species in Appendix II with general information on CITES, management bodies in exporting and importing countries and the new obligations that apply from 23/02/2023 and 23/11/2024.
In particular, you will find a summary diagram outlining the key dates and requirements associated with pre-convention (wood cut before 23/02/2023) and post-convention wood.
Also what are Non-Detriment Finding Notices (NDFNs), export quotas, import and export permits (issuance, validity period, documents to be provided etc.), information on transitional measures (how to deal with re-exports, what to do with timber shipped that will not arrive until after the new CITES listing comes into force), etc.
This FAQ will be updated as new information becomes available and as you have questions.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known by its acronym CITES or as the Washington Convention, is an international agreement between states. It aims to ensure that international trade in wild animal and plant specimens does not compromise the survival of the species to which they belong.
Read more about CITES here https://cites.org/fra/disc/what.php
CITES controls and regulates international trade in specimens of species listed in its Appendices. Any import, export, re-export (export of an imported specimen) of specimens of species covered by the Convention must be authorised under a permit system. CITES species are listed in one of the three Appendices of the Convention according to the degree of protection they require. Appendix II includes all species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction but whose trade must be regulated to avoid exploitation incompatible with their survival.
Therefore, these specimens are covered by:
*For EU Member States, an import permit delivered by the Member State is required for imports of CITES Appendix II species. This Import Permit is in addition to the CITES Export Permit or CITES Re-export Certificate (issued by the non-EU country).
Read more here https://cites.org/fra/disc/text.php#IV6
The agency responsible for the implementation of CITES in each country is called a Management Authority. Full contact details for national and regional Management Authorities can be found by following this link.
In France, the national management authority is the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion and the local management authorities are the Regional Departments for the Environment, Planning and Housing. For Belgium the national management authority is the Federal Public Service for Public Health, Public Safety, Food Chain Safety and the Environment.
The Management Authority and the Scientific Authority are designated CITES authorities within each country.
The Parties to CITES collectively are called the "Conference of the Parties". Every two to three years, the Conference of the Parties (also called CoP) meets in session to review how the Convention is being implemented. In particular, they provide an opportunity for the Parties to consider (and if necessary adopt) proposals to amend the listings of species in Appendices I and II. COP19 was therefore the 19th Conference of the Parties. The main decisions taken at COP 19, which was held in Panama and ended on 25 November, are published here.
These include the listing of African timber species groups in CITES Appendix II, namely Afzelia (doussie), Khaya (African mahogany) and Pterocarpus (padouk), to come into operation on 23/02/2023. Groups of South American timber species are also affected by this CITES Appendix II listing. These are Handroanthus spp, Roseodendron spp and Tabebuia spp (common name ipe) and Dipteryx spp (common name cumaru) for entry into force on 23/11/2024.
The Member States of the European Union do not apply CITES itself, but regulations that harmonise and reinforce its application on the territory of the EU. Thus, all species listed in CITES (Appendices I, II or III) are included, depending on the degree of protection applicable, in one of the four appendices (A, B, C and D) of European Regulation 338/97. Species listed in EU Annex B are species that require, in addition to a CITES export permit or CITES re-export certificate (issued by the third country), an import permit issued by the EU Member State. EU Appendix D species are species that are not listed in CITES, but for which the EU considers that the import volumes warrant monitoring. In this sense, EU importers must complete an "Import Notification".
Approximately 33,000 plant species and 6,000 animal species are covered by the provisions of the Convention. Appendix II includes about 5,000 animal species and 32,000 plant species. You can find all CITES Appendix II species here.
From 23/02/2023, any shipment of these new African timber species that is exported from the countries of origin or re-export must be covered by a CITES export permit or a CITES re-export certificate.
If there is no CITES export permit or CITES re-export certificate present, EU Customs may verify on the basis of the Bill of Lading or other document that the timber was loaded onto the vessel before 23/02/2023.
From 20/05/2023 the African species of the genera Afzelia, Khaya and Pterocarpus listed in Appendix II of CITES will be integrated into Appendix B of the EU. The CoP19 measures will then apply to all timber harvested since 23/02/2023.
It becomes mandatory for all importers to provide a CITES export or re-export certificate and to obtain a CITES import permit for all timber cut since 23/02/2023. As a reminder, the issuance of a post-convention CITES export permit can only be done after validation of a Notice of Non-Detrimental Trade for the species.
Annotation #17 (e.g. for the genera Afzelia, Khaya and Pterocarpus listed in Appendix II) refers to logs, sawn timber, veneer, plywood and more broadly processed wood.
Pre-Convention timber is timber from trees harvested before 23/02/2023 in the country of origin. The export permit or re-export certificate then mentions the source code "O/W": the CITES import permit is issued on the basis of the CITES export permit or re-export certificate (unless it is indicated that the timber was harvested after 23/02/2023).
Post-Convention timber is timber harvested after 23/02/2023 in the country of origin. The import permit is issued on the basis of the CITES export permit or re-export certificate and a positive opinion from the Scientific Authority of the country concerned and/or the SRG (group of Scientific Authorities of all Member States). Decisions taken by the SRG are published on https://circabc.europa.eu/ui/group/4e7fd22f-d9b1-44a8-a0f0-68225ac209d6/library/b46ce9b8-0fe6-4aab-b420-0c31527ad866?p=1
The implications of these dates for imports (African populations of Afzelia, Pterocarpus and Khaya) are summarised below:
A pre-Convention stock declaration must be made. This procedure allows you to prove the legal origin of the parts and products of these woods that you hold. This will facilitate their sale within the EU and their possible re-export outside the EU. You will also be prepared in case of an inspection.
In Belgium, you can send a voluntary declaration about your stocks to:
However, for African species newly listed in CITES Appendix II, it is not necessary to make this application.
In France, contact the DREAL:
Or the contact persons in your region:
A Non Detriment Finding (NDF) is a crucial tool in the trade and conservation of CITES-listed species. CITES requires that a non-detriment finding be made before a trade permit is issued. This is a scientific study that assesses whether trade would have an adverse (or detrimental) effect on the survival of the species concerned. In addition, it is to determine whether or not such trade would maintain the populations of the species throughout its range and at a level "commensurate with its role in the ecosystems in which it occurs". For more information click here.
NDPs are prepared by the scientific authority in each country.
Find the national contact information here
Yes, the private sector (forestry companies) can be involved in the elaboration of NDPs, mainly through inventory data allowing a better characterisation of the resource. These inventories are used in particular for the elaboration of export quotas.
Before a Party provides a permit to allow the export of specimens of species listed in Appendix I or II, its Scientific Authority must be satisfied that the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species. Unless otherwise stated, the quotas established represent the maximum number of specimens of wild origin that may be exported during the current calendar year (January to December). Explanatory notes for the export quotas can be found here. To view the export quotas for each species/country click here.
The definition of exploitation quotas responds to a desire to ensure the sustainable management of natural resources. These quotas are the result of a decision by the competent authorities, in particular the CITES-Flora Scientific Authority, through a process of analysis taking into account a set of technical and scientific parameters of forest management. These include industrial processing, relevant management plan considerations (where available) and the management parameters of the species on a historical basis in each of the legal titles of the country concerned.
Exporting and importing countries share responsibility for ensuring that export quotas are met. This activity is the responsibility of the CITES Management Authority in each country. Full contact details for national and regional management bodies can be found by following this link.
To view the export quotas for each species/country click here.
Legally, in Central African countries, an ACA remains open for several years (2 to 3 years). According to Conf. 14.7: Guidelines for the Management of Nationally Established Export Quotas: "The period covered by export quotas should as far as possible be the calendar year (1 January to 31 December) .... If a Party establishes an annual export quota for a period other than the calendar year, it should indicate this to the Secretariat.
An export permit is an official document issued by a Party's Management Authority to authorize the export of specimens of species listed in Appendix I or II, or the export of specimens of species listed in Appendix III from the listing State, or the import of specimens of species listed in Appendix I.
Yes, when species are listed in one of the three Appendices of the Convention according to the degree of protection they require. All species listed in the CITES Appendices are available here
An export permit or re-export certificate is issued by the Management Authority of the country of export or re-export. The export permit is only issued if the specimen was obtained legally.
Full contact details of the national and regional management authorities can be found here.
Export permits and re-export certificates have a maximum validity of six months. The export and corresponding import into the country of destination must take place within six months.
It is a document required to import a specimen from a non-EU country. In the European Union this document is required to import an animal or plant (live or dead, part or product) of a species in Appendix A or B of the Regulation from a non-EU country. The import permit can only be delivered if a copy of the CITES permit of the exporting country has been attached to the application.
Each country is free to impose a CITES import permit or not.
For EU Member States, an import permit issued by the Member State is required for imports of CITES Appendix II species. This import permit is in addition to the CITES export permit or CITES re-export certificate (issued by the non-EU country).
An import permit is delivered by the Management Authority of the country of import. Please note that an import permit can only be delivered if a copy of the exporting country's CITES permit has been attached to the application.
You can find the full contact details of the national and regional management authorities by following this link.
In France, the national management authority is the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion and the local management authorities are the Regional Directorates for the Environment, Development and Housing.
In Belgium, the national management authority is the Federal Public Service for Public Health, Public Safety and Food Chain Safety.
When the specimen leaves the country of origin outside the EU, the original foreign export permit or re-export certificate must be presented to the Customs office of exit in that third country.
If the species is listed in Annex A or Annex B of Regulation (EC) No 338/97: the importer must also present the 3 original sheets (grey guilloche, yellow and green) of the corresponding EU import permit, which must be obtained prior to shipment of the specimens on the basis of a copy of the above-mentioned foreign CITES (re-)export document. Customs at the point of entry of the specimen into the EU then endorses the grey, yellow and green sheets of the EU import permit in box 27 and notifies the actual quantities imported. The customs officer then sends the original foreign export permit (or re-export certificate) and the grey guilloche and green copies of the import permit to the issuing management authority. He shall return to the operator the yellow copy of the import permit duly completed in box 27 and stamped by him. This yellow sheet must be carefully kept by the importer (and not by the forwarder or agent), as it is then considered proof of legal importation.
NB: only if this yellow sheet is duly completed and stamped by customs in box 27 does it attest to the legality of the import.
The CITES authorities in European countries encourage exporters to provide all the documents (management plan, annual plant of operations, mapping of annual cutting areas, etc. by WE TRANSFER) to attest to the sustainable and legal origin of imported timber, in order to reduce the processing time of import permit applications.
Import permits can be valid for a maximum of 12 months.
Yes, provided it is a single shipment from one exporter to one importer.
It is important to work closely with the relevant authorities in each country to understand the reason for the refusal and to ensure that all the required documentation is in order. In some cases, the refusal may be related to compliance issues, such as documentation errors or incomplete information. All shipments of pre-Convention timber of newly CITES-listed species to Europe must be properly marked with the code 'O', which should be recorded on the permits to indicate that it is pre-Convention timber. Failure to do so will result in the application for a 'pre-Convention' import permit being blocked.
It may also be useful to contact the CITES Secretariat for advice on how to resolve the problem.
Re-exports apply to all exports of imported specimens.
For timber loaded onto ships but not arriving at its destination before the date of entry into force of the new CITES measures, the Management Authority of the exporting country will issue pre-Convention permits as a regularization.
For more information:
Contacts to answer your questions: