What is CITES?

CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It’s an international agreement between governments to protect endangered plants and animals – ensuring the trade of them doesn’t threaten their survival. Learn about the types of plants and animals covered by CITES and what you need to check before shipping.

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What types plants and animals are covered by CITES?

It includes plants and wildlife, as well as the products made from them, such as musical instruments, dried herbs and exotic leather goods.

Do I need to check CITES before shipping?

Yes. It’s important to check if the goods you’re shipping are listed on the CITES website and therefore need a CITES certificate.

What if I need to get a CITES certificate?

Apply for one well in advance of shipping – even before agreeing to sell the goods.

Each country has a government agency responsible for CITES and the application should be made according to the requirements on its website.

What should I do if I’m importing CITES goods?

Ask the sender to provide a copy of the paperwork in advance, so you can inform your carrier. There are usually delays due to inspections, so it’s important to be prepared for this.

Anything else?

After you’ve received your certificate, your carrier should be informed the goods are being transported under CITES.

It’s also important to keep in mind that CITES is an agreement between countries and does not replace national laws made by government authorities such as USDA, The US Department of Agriculture, DEFRA in the UK and BICON in Australia.

The trade of certain animals and plants is not allowed with countries who have not signed up to the CITES agreement.

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