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Trade in endangered species – CITES

The CITES Convention protects wild animal and plant species that are threatened by international trade. Trade is regulated with import and export permits and certificates, depending on the species, how endangered it is, as well as the character and area of the activity.
© CITES Secretariat

What is CITES

CITES Convention – The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.

The convention regulates the international trade in more than 38,000 endangered species. The Convention protects endangered species of fauna and flora through controls on international trade in endangered specimens to safeguard them from over-exploitation.

The text of the Convention was agreed at a meeting of representatives of 80 countries in Washington, D.C., United States of America, on 3 March 1973, and on 1 July 1975 CITES entered in force. The Convention came into force in Finland in 1976. It has now 183 parties. 

CITES prohibits trade in almost 900 species threatened with extinction, while trade in the remaining 35,000 species covered by CITES is permitted but strictly controlled. Animals and plants covered by CITES, as well as their parts and products made from them, have to be accompanied by an official CITES document, that has to be obtained in advance, and presented to the customs.

CITES regulates animals taken from the wild, bred or reared in captivity, as well as artificially propagated plant species.

The regulations obligate companies, communities and private persons.

    The CITES Convention globally and in Europe

    National CITES authorities 

    Contact information of the parties to the CITES convention on the web page of the CITES secretariate. Click on the country on the list to view its CITES authorities.

    CITES in Finland

    Finland joined CITES in 1976. Nowadays the national legislation for the implementation of CITES and relating EU regulations is the Nature Conservation Act (1096/1996), which came into force in the 1st of January 1997.

    According to the act the Ministry of the Environment is designated as the Management Authority. However, the Finnish Environment Institute (Syke) is designated the competent authority in all matters concerning the issuance of permits and certificates. The Finnish Museum of Natural History of the University of Helsinki (Luomus) is the designated Scientific Authority.

    It is the duty of the Customs to enforce the regulations in importation, exportation, re-exportation and transit transports. According to the Finnish Penal Code the maximum penalty for nature conservation offences is 2 years of imprisonment. What has illegally been gained or its corresponding monetary value shall be sentenced to be forfeited to the State.

    CITES permitting in Finland

    The Finnish Environment Institute (Syke) is the permitting authority in Finland, issuing permits and certificates for import, and (re)export to and from Finland over the outer borders of the EU . The application form for import and (re)export permits together with instructions may be downloaded from this page. The forms are editable and printable pdf-files. 

    CITES import, export or re-export - Application form

    EU certificates are used inside Finland and the EU, for EU Annex A species. 

    EU certificate - Application form

    Print, fill in and sign the application form, or fill, sign and print. Add the attachments needed and send the application and attachments to the CITES permit office at Finnish Environment Institute (Syke). The postal address is on the application forms. Or you can send the application to the registration of Syke by Email

    CITES Customs procedure

    Instructions for the permit holder


    Finnish Environment Institute (Syke)