Summary of EU trade in 2011

This report provides a detailed analysis of the information submitted by the Member States of the European Union[1] and candidate countries[2] in their 2011 annual reports to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). Annual reports to CITES contain information on trade in species listed in the CITES Appendices and the Annexes of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 and subsequent updates. This analysis includes data from all 27 EU Member States and all five candidate countries (Croatia, Iceland, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey) that had submitted their annual reports for 2011 at the time of writing (July 2013).

All trade data submitted by EU Member States in their 2011 annual reports to CITES is available via the CITES Trade Database and also via the 2011 EU Annual Report to CITES, which is available to download here.


Noteworthy patterns of trade

The number of taxa showing noteworthy patterns of trade in 2011 was slightly greater than in 2010, with 56 of the same taxa selected as in 2010.

CITES trade data for 2011, as reported by EU Member States and candidate countries, were analysed to identify taxa showing noteworthy patterns of trade. The selection process included imports reported as wild-sourced, ranched or source ‘unknown’, or reported without a source specified. Imports were considered noteworthy according to three criteria:

  • High volume of imports in 2011;
  • Sharp increase in imports in 2011;
  • Overall increases or decreases in imports between 2002 and 2011.
  • Long-term variability in imports between 2002 and 2011.

In total, 89 taxa were selected on the basis of a high volume of trade and/or a sharp or overall increase in trade reported by EU Member States. For species that have been newly selected through this year’s analysis, detailed summaries of the trade in these species are provided. For species selected in the 2010 analysis, a shorter summary focussing on 2011 trade levels has been included, with any updates since last year’s summary.

Nine taxa met the criteria for selection on the basis of a high volume of trade or sharp increase in trade reported by candidate countries, all of which are Annex B species.

Taxa showing noteworthy patterns of trade in 2011

EU:                                      Candidate countries:
Mammals:           19             Hippopotamus amphibius*
Birds:                    2             Lycalopex griseus*
Reptiles:             16             Lycalopex gymnocercus*
Fish:                     2             Lynx rufus*
Invertebrates:     41             Lontra canadensis*
Plants:                  9            Arctocephalus pusillus
                                           Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae
                                           Psittacus erithicus
                                           Python reticulatus*

*Also selected on the basis of EU imports

Species valuation

The value of EU imports in 2011 of CITES-listed animals and animal products (excluding caviar extract) was estimated at USD662 million.

To estimate the monetary value of EU imports of CITES-listed species in 2011, species-specific value data (submitted to United States Customs and included within the United States annual report to CITES) adjusted for inflation was applied to EU-reported import volumes.

Excluding caviar extract, the value of animal imports in 2011 was estimated at approximately US$662 million (~EUR499 million), with reptile parts and derivatives accounting for 74% of this value. The main commodities in trade (again excluding caviar extract) were leather products (41%), skins (31%), raw corals (9%) and live animals, amongst others. A significant proportion of the overall value of the trade to the EU appears to be in high value, luxury goods.

When caviar extract was analysed, the value of this high-end item was estimated at US$3.6 billion. It is unclear whether this is an anomaly in the US Customs Dataset, but the value was based on over 400 value records.

Exports and re-exports

Tridacna maxima was the species that was exported at the highest levels from the wild; live sturgeon eggs, live invertebrates and reptile skin pieces were (re)-exported at the highest volumes overall.

In 2011, the EU and candidate countries exported captive-bred and artificially propagated specimens of many species, in addition to a small number of wild-collected native species.

Exports of wild-collected CITES-listed species native to the EU were mainly reported for scientific and commercial/hunting trophy purposes. With the exception of two transactions, all CITES Appendix I/Annex A species were (re-)exported for scientific or medicinal purposes.

Exports of wild collected taxa from the EU in 2011

  • Mammals:             22 Annex A taxa; 4 Annex B species
  • Birds:                    5 Annex A species; 1 Annex B species
  • Reptiles:               1 Annex A species
  • Fish:                     1 Annex B species
  • Invertebrates:       2 Annex B species
  • Corals:                  4 Annex B taxa
  • Plants:                   1 Annex B species
  • Timber                   1 Annex B species

Both the EU and candidate countries act as entrepôts for non-manufactured parts; some products and live specimens imported from producer nations, as well as products originating within the EU and candidate countries are  (re-) exported at high volumes. Much of the high volume trade was in (re-)exports of non-native species. Mammals, plants and fish were traded under a variety of terms, whereas high volume trade in birds was predominantly in feathers and live animals, reptiles were mainly traded as skins and skin pieces and invertebrate trade was principally live individuals.

High volume (re-) exports from the EU in 2011

  • Mammal taxa:                    12
  • Bird taxa:                           10
  • Reptile taxa:                      19
  • Amphibian taxa:                  0
  • Fish taxa:                           10
  • Invertebrate taxa:                4
  • Plant taxa:                           4
  • Timber taxa:                        7

Trade in non-CITES species

Imports: mainly reptile skins and skin products, dried plants and plant derivatives of Annex D species. Imports of live animals also recorded. Exports: primarily live, captive bred Columba livia exported for commercial purposes.

EU imports of non-CITES taxa listed in the EU Annexes in 2011 principally comprised Annex D reptile skins and skin products, dried plants and plant derivatives, the majority of which were reported without a source specified. Trade in live animals was also recorded for twenty-four taxa, with two species (Physignathus cocincinus and Pterapogon kauderni) imported at levels exceeding 5000 individuals. Trade was principally for commercial purposes or reported without a purpose specified. The primary Annex D species in trade were reptiles, fish and plants.

Main non-CITES, Annex D species imported by the EU in 2011

  • Homalopsis buccata
  • Elaphe carinata
  • Elaphe radiata
  • Physignathus cocincinus
  • Pterapogon kauderni
  • Harpagophytum procumbens
  • Harpagophytum spp.
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Imports of three non-CITES Annex A and B taxa were recorded by the EU in 2011; the majority of transactions comprised live Trachemys scripta elegans imported for scientific purposes.

Five non-CITES taxa listed in the EU Annexes were recorded as (re-)exported in 2011, with majority of trade in live, captive-bred Columba livia exported directly for commercial purposes at levels more than double those exported in 2010.

 [1] “Member States of the European Union” hereafter referred to as EU, EU Member States or European Union.

 [2] Five countries were candidate countries to the EU in 2011: Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey.