Global trade and movement of endangered animals or plants, or their products (for example skin, fur, teeth, shell, feathers, blood or seeds) is controlled under the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
In the EU, CITES is implemented via the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, which set requirements for trade in certain species within, to and from the EU and the rest of the world.
All CITES-listed species are contained in Annexes A to D of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations.
Annex A species have the highest level of protection – in the EU, their commercial use is prohibited, except where a certificate has been issued for a specific prescribed purpose.
Annex B, C and D species can currently be freely traded within the EU. Commonly traded Annex B items include caviar, snowdrops, orchids, corals, reptiles, and alligator skin. The Species+ database includes details of all CITES-listed species.
How processes will change
If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) without a deal, species that are currently moved freely and traded between the UK and the EU (all of those listed in Annexes B to D) would require a CITES permit or import/export notification, apart from some specific exceptions.
Dealings or movement of CITES products or species within the UK or between the UK and countries outside the EU would not change.
If you are a business or individual importing or exporting CITES-listed species between the UK and the EU, you would need to meet the following requirements.
For Annex A and B listed species:
- imports to the UK from the EU would need an export permit (or re-export certificate) from the EU country the item is moving from, and an import permit from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
- exports from the UK to the EU would need an export permit (or re-export certificate) from APHA and an import permit from the relevant EU country.
For Annex C listed species:
- imports to the UK from the EU would need an export permit (or re-export certificate) from the relevant EU country and an import notification upon entry to the UK
- exports from the UK to the EU would need an export permit (or re-export certificate) from APHA and an import notification upon entry to the EU country
For Annex D listed species:
- imports to the UK from the EU would need an import notification upon entry to the UK
- exports from the UK to the EU would need an import notification upon entry to the EU country
If you are a business or individual importing species from the EU, you would need to consider the routes and points of entry allowed for import and export of species, including making sure suitable facilities are in place for handling live animals. Further information around border entry points will be published in due course.
In certain prescribed circumstances, there are exemptions from needing to comply with CITES regulations, meaning a simplified process. For example, a permit is often not required for captive-bred and artificially-propagated plants, personal and household effects and exchanges between scientific institutions.
Actions you can take now
- Consider any changes you may need to make to adapt to new processes and systems.
- The passport rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) without a deal. Read the government’s guidance on Travelling to the EU with a UK passport if there’s no Brexit deal and, if relevant, ensure your employees and customers are aware of the potential changes.
- Stay up-to-date with these changes by registering for email alerts. Follow the link, add your email address, select ‘submit’, select ‘Add subscription’ and choose ‘EU Exit’ then select ‘Submit’.