CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(Update on 09th of November 2017)
- What is CITES?
- EU Community Regulations and Relevant Italian legislation
- Information for Companies
- How to obtain an import/export permit
- Advice to travellers
- Forms and instructions
- Customs procedures CITES Operations Manual
- Useful Links
CITES - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - is an international agreement between Governments. Its aim is to protect specimens of plants and animals by regulating and monitoring their international trade, i.e. export, re-export and import of live and dead animals and plants and of parts and derivatives thereof.. It is based on a system of permits and certificates which can be issued if certain conditions are met and which have to be presented before consignments of specimens are allowed by designated Customs to leave or enter a country.
The Convention, the text of which was agreed upon at a meeting in Washington in 1973, entered into force in 1975. There are now 183 Member Parties to the Convention, included the European Union since 8 July 2015.
The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, that is located in Geneva-Switzerland.
CITES regulates international trade in some 35,000 species, 30,000 of which are plants. These species are listed in three appendices, according to the degree of protection they need. CITES includes wild specimens (W) but also, not only, specimens born and bred in captivity or artificially propagated plants.
Each Party to the Convention must appoint one or more Management Authorities, in charge of administering that licensing system, and one or more Scientific Authorities to advise them on the effects of trade on the status of the species. The complete list is available at: https://cites.org/eng/cms/index.php/component/cp
In Italy, the Ministry for the Environment and Land Protection is the Management Authority with primary responsibility for implementation of the Convention, while the Authorities responsible for issuing permits and certificates for the import, export and re-export of CITES species are the following:
Ministry of Economic Development - Directorate General for International Trade Policy - Division II - CITES - for import and export permits.
Arma dei Carabinieri - CITES Service of the Arma dei Carabinieri for import notifications, re-export certificates, Community certificates and certificates for travelling exhibitions, personal ownership or sample collections.
The European Union, one of the largest markets for wild animals and plants, products and derivatives, applies CITES provisions uniformly through the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations that are directly applicable in all Member States.
Since January 1st 1984, the Community has been implementing the provisions of CITES through common Regulations that, with regard to certain species, impose stricter conditions than those required by CITES itself.
The Regulations currently in force are as follows:
- Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein;
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 865/2006 (layng down detailed rules concerning the implementation of Council Regulation No 338/97);
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 100/2008 amending Regulation (EC) No 865/2006;
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 791/2012 amending Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97;
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 870/2015 amending Regulation (EC) No 865/2006;
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 865/2006 (consolidated text);
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 792/2012 laying down rules for the design of permits, certificates and other documents provided for in Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 and amending Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006;
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 57/2015 amending Regulation (EC) No 792/2012;
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 792/2015 (consolidated text);
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 1915/2017 prohibiting the introduction into the Union of specimens of certain species of wild fauna and flora;
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 2017/160 (amending the Annexes of the Regulation No 338/97)
Relevant Italian legislation
Transgressions to the provisions of the EU Regulations are punished with the sanctions foreseen by the above-mentioned Italian legislations, and they can consist in fine or arrest in case of graver transgression, and seizure and confiscation of the Cites specimens and products.
Legislative Decree 19 August 2016, n. 177 - Provisions for rationalization of police functions and absorption of the State Forestry Corps, in accordance with Article 8, paragraph 1, letter a) of the Law of 7 August 2015, n. 124, on the reorganization of public administration, with the following link:
Companies, citizens wishing to import and/or export specimens of animals or plants or derivatives thereof from and to non-EU countries should first verify whether these products are covered by the Convention.
They should therefore consult, in the first place, the lists of protected specimens included in the Commission Regulation (EU) No 160/2017, the Checklist of CITES Species as well as the list of species for which the introduction into the Union is prohibited if they originate from specific countries (Commission Regulation (EU) No 1915/2017) or for which the Scientific Review Group (SRG) has formed a negative opinion (that must be considered by the National Scientific Autorities). These opinions are available at: (http://www.speciesplus.net/).
In addition, it is useful to consult the Secretariat’s Web page, which contains a list of the countries currently subject to a recommendation to suspend trade in all species or in certain species.
All the sospensions of trade and prohibitions may be amended over time.
After the status of the specimen to be imported or exported has been determined, it’s necessary to apply for the permit to the Ministry of Economic Development that, at the end of the check of the legislative requirements, will submit the request to the National Scientific Authority for the opinion.
According to the EU provisions, the Office issues a permit within 30 days of the date of submission of the complete application. The term is suspended till the Office obtains the positive opinion of the Scientific Authority or after the satisfactory completion of consultation of third parties.
In case of doubts or difficulties, the Office is ready to provide any kind of support (see Contact persons).
Import and export permits have to be applied for before animals, plants, parts or derivatives thereof arrive at the Customs office. CITES goods imported without valid permits are seized by Customs and the importer faces a fine and imprisonment in more severe cases.
As mentioned before, the Management Authority responsible for issuing import/export permits is the Ministry of Economic Development - Directorate General for International Trade Policy - Division II - CITES. Import and export permits are required to authorize trade in CITES species with non-European Union countries(1).
To obtain CITES permit, an appropriate permit application form has to be completed. Application forms may be consigned directly to the correspondence Office (UASC – see Forms and Instructions), or may be sent to the relevant Office by postal service, by telefax or by certified mail, providing, in all cases, the copy of the identity paper of the applicant (or of the legal representative of the company).
Forms have to be filled in and signed by the applicant and must indicate both the common and the correct scientific (Latin) name of the specimen. In case of difficulties, consult the Annexes to the Commission Regulation (EU) No 1320/2014(2) listing the common and scientific names of protected fauna and flora species, or contact the Office (see Contacts).
Furthermore, a processing fee of € 15,49 for each permit (covering maximum 3 species) shall be paid at the Post Offices, using the form No. Mod. ch-8-ter, to Tesoreria di Stato di Viterbo - L. 59 13/3/93 Fauna e Flora Direz. Prot. Natura, current account No. 10178010, specifying the following reason “D.M. Ambiente 28/5/93”.
Otherwise, the fee may be paid by a bank transfer. The references are:
TESORERIA DI STATO DI VITERBO – (Via G. Marconi, 26 – 01100 – Viterbo – Italia)
SWIFT: BPPIITRR (this Swift is relating to Poste Italiane SpA, usefull for payment abroad)
Reason: DM Ambiente 28/5/93, but also the country and the number of the export permit
The forms, duly filled in and signed, have to be equiped, for the importation, with the copy(3) (not the original document) of the CITES permit/certificate issued by the exporting Country; for the exportation, with a document that proves that the specimens have been legally acquired (for instance, a bill in case of species listed in annex B, UE certificate for specimens born and bred in captivity or artificially propagated, a cession for CITES purpose).
Finally, to the application forms for export/import permits has to be attached the original proof of the fee payment of € 15,49, or the confirmation of the bank in case of bank transfer.
If import permits are not used within the validity period (one year), they must be returned to the Ministry of Economic Development. This rule is also applied to export permits which have expired or unused (validity period of six months).
(1)As regards specimens of wild fauna or flora, or parts thereof, already imported into the national territory and re-exported to non-EU countries, the certificate application shall be submitted to Arma dei Carabinieri - CITES Service.
(2)some species of fauna, even if they are included in the Annexes to the European Regulation, may not be introduced into the national territory (see Relevant Italian Legislation).The Convention and the EU Regulations allow stricter national measures, even for the detention of live animals.
(3) The original copy of the CITES permit/certificate issued by the exporting Country shall be submitted to the Italian Customs authorities together with the import license.
If you are thinking of bringing back exotic souvenirs from abroad, you should check with the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Economic Development or the Ministry of Agricultural and Forest Policies – State Corps of Forest Rangers, which items you can bring back before you leave as you may need an export and an import permits. In any case, you should consult the Annexes to the Commission Regulation (EU) No 160/2017. The introduction or re-introduction into the European Union of the following items listed in Annex B to Regulation (EC) No 338/97 – provided they are contained in the personal luggage of travellers - shall not require the presentation of any CITES document:
- caviar of sturgeon species (Acipenseriformes spp.) up to a maximum of 125 grams per person, in containers that are individually marked;
- rain sticks of Cactaceae spp. up to three per person;
- dead worked specimens of Crocodylia spp. (excluding meat and hunting trophies) up to four for person;
- shells of Strombus gigas up to three per person;
- Hippocampus spp. up to four dead specimens for person;
- shells of Tridacnidae spp. up to three specimens for person, not exceeding 3 kilos in total, where a specimen may be one intact shell or two matching halves
- specimens of agarwood (Aquilaria spp. and Gyrinops spp.) — up to 1 kg woodchips, 24 ml oil, and two sets of beads or prayer beads (or two necklaces or bracelets) per person, all told.
CITES application shall be sent to the following address:
Ministry of Economic Development
Direzione Generale per la Politica Commerciale Internazionale
Divisione II - Settori agroalimentare e CITES
Viale Boston, 25
The applications may be submitted directly to UASC, the correspondence Office, which also provides for the delivery of administrative acts and permits issued by this Ministry.
In case of withdrawal of the permit by the holder (or by a delegatet courier) at this Ministry, the applicant has to contact in advance the CITES Office to check that the permit has been issued.
The various import or export permit application forms are available on this webpage.
Please read Instructions and Explanations carefully before completing forms no. 1 and no. 2.
- Permit application (only in italian)
- Instructions and explanations
- Permit application form no. 1 - (for one species)
- Permit application forms no. 1 - no. 2 - (for two to 3 species- 2 pages)
- Declaration of compliance with the rules on Python species (only in italian)
- Update on 17th of February 2017 -
Head of Unit: dr.ssa Anna Flavia Pascarelli
For any information, please contact our Office by telephone, fax or e-mail:
Telephone no. :
+39 (06) 59932253
+39 (06) 59932238
+39 (06) 59932555
+39 (06) 59932464
Certified mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Operator: +39 (06) 59931
- servizio CITES dell’Arma dei Carabinieri