Free primer on Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

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Free primer on Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

AHPA continues work with the CITES Plants Committee and the U.S. Fish Wildlife Service to promote sustainable harvests

Published: Thursday, June 4, 2020

Published in November 2013 and revised in May 2020

AHPA updated this free primer to provide the herbal industry with the latest information on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The May 2020 update includes additional species and annotations added to the CITES Appendices since its original publication.

CITES is a international agreement between 179 countries on specific requirements for the international trade of certain plant and animal species. These requirements are aimed at ensuring international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

AHPA published the "Primer on Importing and Exporting CITES-Listed Species Used in the United States in Dietary Supplements, Traditional Herbal Medicines, and Homeopathic Products" to help members and the herbal products industry understand the processes and practices that must be followed to comply with CITES requirements when importing and exporting species listed on CITES appendices.

"A number of AHPA members market products that contain species listed in one of the CITES Appendices," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "AHPA will continue to work with the CITES Plants Committee and the U.S. Fish Wildlife Service to promote sustainable harvest of CITES-listed species and to inform members and the industry about the latest CITES requirements."

2020 updates

  • Two species were added to the table of species in the Primer – Gekko gecko (Tokay gecko) and Taxus wallachiana (Himalayan yew).
  • Annotations to the table of species in the Primer were updated to reflect changes in CITES annotations since initial publication of the Primer.
  • Links to forms needed to conduct trade in animal species were added, and links to forms needed to conduct trade in plant species were updated.
  • Minor updates were made throughout the Primer to reflect current practice in CITES trade documentation – this process was supported by a thorough review of the Primer by Fish & Wildlife Service staff.

The primer includes six sections:

  1. What is CITES?
  2. CITES-Listed Species in Commerce
  3. How CITES is Implemented in the United States
  4. Import, Export, or Re-export of a CITES-Listed Species
  5. Commonly Traded CITES-Listed Species
  6. Supplemental Information and Sample Checklists

The CITES primer was created through the joint efforts of AHPA staff and members. Particular appreciation is due to Edward Fletcher of Native Botanicals. Editorial review was provided in part by staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's International Affairs Program. Financial support was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

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