Ensuring trade in wild fauna and flora does not threaten their survival
Regulation (EC) No 338/97 — regulating trade so as to protect species of wild fauna and flora
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has to be implemented uniformly in all EU countries, in view of the EU’s single market and the absence of systematic border controls.
CITES is implemented in the EU through EU wildlife trade regulations. EU countries apply rules on the import and export of endangered species of animals and plants, and products derived from them.
The import of specimens of endangered species into the EU requires a permit issued by an authority of the EU country of destination or an import notification.
Export from the EU requires an export permit or a re-export certificate issued by an authority of the EU country in which the specimens are located.
Categories of species are outlined in Annexes A to D of the regulation.
Trade in species listed in Annex A, such as the cheetah, is prohibited, while movement of live animals within the EU requires prior authorisation.
Movement of a live specimen of a species listed in Annexes B and C, such as the cobra or the mongoose, is subject to rules on certification and adequate housing and care, while Annex D covers other cases of the transit of live animals, whole skins and plant products.
Further restrictions may be imposed in specific circumstances, and EU countries may have their own tougher rules.
Special rules apply to specimens born and bred in captivity or that are the result of artificial reproduction, part of personal effects or destined for scientific institutions.
Organisation and communication
EU countries must:
designate customs offices to carry out the checks;
designate the management and scientific authorities responsible for implementation;
monitor compliance and penalise infringements;
draw up reports and exchange information on implementation and any permit rejections.
In February 2014, the European Commission issued a communication launching the debate on the EU’s approach in regard to wildlife trafficking. This was followed, in February 2016, by a Commission action plan on wildlife trafficking.
Application & Background
It has applied since 1 June 1997.
For more information, see:
The European Union and Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora (European Commission)
Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein (OJ L 61, 3.3.1997, pp. 1–69)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 338/97 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 of 4 May 2006 laying down detailed rules concerning the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein (OJ L 166, 19.6.2006, pp. 1-69)
See consolidated version
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 792/2012 of 23 August 2012 laying down rules for the design of permits, certificates and other documents provided for in Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein and amending Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 (OJ L 242, 7.9.2012, pp. 13-45)
See consolidated version
Council Decision (EU) 2015/451 of 6 March 2015 concerning the accession of the European Union to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (OJ L 75, 19.3.2015, pp. 1-3)
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2015/736 of 7 May 2015 prohibiting the introduction into the Union of specimens of certain species of wild fauna and flora (OJ L 117, 8.5.2015, pp. 25-44)
Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the EU Approach against Wildlife Trafficking (COM(2014) 64 final, 7.2.2014)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking (COM(2016) 87 final, 26.2.2016)
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