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A Q&A Guide:

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulates trade for certain species through a system of permits between custom inspections at both ends of the supply chain. This provides extra measures to ensure that various species are protected so that international trade does not threaten their survival.

Should I avoid using CITES listed species?

 A: No, CITES is a “passport” for sustainable and legal trade. In fact, the official documentation that accompanies the shipment demonstrates legal acquisition and sustainable production and serves as a positive environmental marketing tool. CITES is based on the precautionary principle, and regulations are imposed before a species becomes endangered. CITES recognizes that sustainable trade contributes to the survival of a species by creating economic incentives for its continued existence. 

Are all products covered when a species is listed on CITES?

A:  No, not all products made from a listed species require CITES permits. For example, CITES export permits for bigleaf mahogany are required only for logs, sawnwood, veneer, and plywood. Furniture and furniture parts are not covered.

What permits should I look for when dealing with a CITES species?

A:  It depends... 

Appendix I species are not allowed to be traded.

Appendix II species are not currently threatened with extinction but trade is regulated by all CITES signatory countries to assure long-term sustainability. Appendix II species require a CITES export permit.

Appendix III species are listed voluntarily by individual countries. Those countries that list these species must provide a CITES export permit. Countries that did not list the species must provide a Certificate of Origin showing that the shipment did not come from an Appendix III country.¹

¹ How CITES works;

Know the Facts: Learn about CITES Timber Import/Export Requirements and Search CITES database of species by common or scientific name.

IWPA is the only association in the United States committed to the promotion and enhancement of legal and sustainable trade in the imported hardwood and softwood products industry. Our diverse membership includes 225 U.S. importers, manufacturers, transportation companies, port authorities, customs brokers, and overseas producers from 30 countries around the world.

Q&A Guides

IWPA has prepared the following "Q&A Guides" covering issue areas of importance to members.  they can be printed or linked in email communications. We will develop additional topics and post them when available.

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