On Dec 25, 1980, China joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals through controlling the international trade. Since that time, China has played a prominent role in bilateral, regional, and international cooperation in the implementation of the Convention. For the cosmetic sector, any imported cosmetics containing wild fauna and flora listed in the CITES shall obtain a Permit for Import of Wild Animals and Plants (Import Permit) apart from the cosmetic notification/registration certificate. If the wild fauna and flora contained is excluded or exempted from the CITES, a Certificate for Non-regulated Species Listed in the Commodity Catalog of Import and Export Wild Fauna and Flora (Species Certificate) is mandatory instead.
1. Regulatory Overview
China mianly adoptd the 2022 Commodity Catalog of Import and Export Wild Fauna and Flora 2022 (the Commodity Catalog) to manage wild fauna and flora. The Commodity Catalog mainly consists of a 25-page catalog of import and export wild fauna and flora, as well as lists of endangered species, including three appendices of the CITES, the List of National Key Protected Wild Animals, and the List of National Key Protected Wild Plants.
The listed wild fauna and flora can be further divided into two categories:
endangered species of wild fauna and flora
other wild fauna and flora
These ingredients and their cosmetic products are subject to different compliance duties.
1.1 Cosmetics Containing Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
The endangered species of wild fauna and flora refer to those species listed in the Appendices I, II, and III of the CITES.
Appendix I lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants. They are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial.
Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction, but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled. It also includes so-called "look-alike species," i.e., species whose specimens in trade look like those of species listed for conservation reasons.
Appendix III is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species, and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.
The category requires a CITES Import Permit. Importers shall present the CITES Import Permit when clearing the Custom and return the copies of the CITES Import Permit and declaration form to the Endangered Species Import and Export Management Office within 30 days as of completing the customs clearance. The CITES Import Permit is permitted for use for only one time and valid within 180 days as of issuance.
1.2 Cosmetics Containing Other Wild Fauna and Flora
Other wild fauna and flora refer to any one of the following species:
1) Exempted wild fauna and flora mentioned in the three appendices of the CITES
2) Wild fauna and flora excluded from the three appendices of the CITES but listed in the List of National Key Protected Wild Animals and the List of National Key Protected Wild Plants.
3) Wild fauna and flora excluded from the three appendices of the CITES but listed in the Commodity Catalog of Import and Export Wild Fauna and Flora released by the Custom.
For exporting such cosmetics, companies shall apply for a Species Certificate from the Endangered Species Import and Export Management Office. The Species Certificate is for the Custom to know that the wild fauna and flora contained does not fall into the regulatory scope of the CITES.
Before applying for the Species Certificate, companies must ensure:
1) The species do not require the CITES Import Permit.
2) The species have consistent meaning with the corresponding items in the Commodity Catalog of Import and Export Wild Fauna and Flora, especially the species type, endangered status, and biological characteristics.
3) The import is compliant with the regulations.
4) The Latin name and country of origin are logically relevant.
2. Steps to Export Products Containing Wild Fauna and Flora
Step 1: Confirm the Latin name of the wild fauna and flora contained
First, the company shall confirm the Latin name of the wild fauna and flora contained via the website http://www.catalogueoflife.org/ by entering the name to check if there is a synonym.
Take nelumbium speciosum extract and acipenser baerii as examples, after searching on the website, the results showed that nelumbium speciosum has a synonyms - nelumbo nucifera while the acipenser baerii has no synonyms.
Step 2: Determine the type of species and required certificate
According to the Latin name, companies need to determine the wild fauna and flora contained is endangered species or other wild fauna and flora and prepare for applying for the corresponding certificate.
For example, search results showed that nelumbium speciosum (nelumbo nucifera) is not listed in CITES but in the List of National Key Protected Wild Plants. Therefore cosmetics containing nelumbium speciosum shall obtain the Species Certificate.
The search result of acipenser baerii showed that it is not in appendix I of the CITES but in appendix II. Therefore, it is an endangered species and requires the CITES Import Permit.
Step 3: Apply for the corresponding certificate
The procedures and documents to obtain the Import Permit and Species Certificate are the same, shown in the figure below:
It is not complicated to apply for the Import Permit and Species Certificate. For approved applications, companies can directly download and print the e-certificate online via https://www.singlewindow.cn/.
Step 4 Export Products to China and Submit Certifications to Customs
After obtaining the certifications, cosmetics containing wild fauna and flora are permitted to be exported to China. Customs clearance requires submission of the following documents:
Cosmetics containing endangered species of wild fauna and flora
Cosmetics containing other wild fauna and flora