International Trade, CITES, Animals, Suspensión, Mexico, VTZ, Lawyers

Trade Suspension of CITES Species with Mexico

On March 27th, 2023, the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) issued a notification to the members of the Convention. This notification recommends suspending all commercial trade with Mexico concerning all species listed in the CITES appendixes.

Source: CITES, 2021.

What is the CITES?

CITES is an International Convention that seeks to regulate and control the international trade of wild animals and plants and, thus, to protect said species from overexploitation and illegal trafficking.

CITES currently has 184 parties, such as:

  • United States of America,
  • Canada,
  • Mexico,
  • Brazil,
  • Argentina,
  • España,
  • Reino Unido,
  • Germany,
  • France,
  • China, among others.

What is the CITES’ Standing Committee?

All CITES parties form the Standing Committee, which holds meetings every two or three years to review the proper implementation of the Convention. At this year’s meeting, the CITES Secretariat evaluated Mexico’s action plan to prevent illegal fishing of totoaba and the entry of unauthorized vessels into areas where the vaquita marina, animal in critical danger of extinction, lives.

especies CITES. CITES Species, comercio, trade, México, Mexico, vaquita marina

The CITES Standing Committee recommendations to Mexico

After this meeting, the CITES Secretariat issued Notification No. 2023/037 on March 27th, 2023. This Notification concludes that Mexico’s action plan is not sufficiently adequate with the Standing Committee’s Recommendation SC75 as well as with the requirements of the Resolution Conf. 14.3 (Rv. Cop. 19).

Consequently, the Secretariat suggested the most drastic measure available in the Convention: The Secretariat recommended all CITES Parties to suspend all commercial trade with Mexico concerning species listed in the CITES appendixes. The Secretariat will maintain this recommendation in force until it considers that Mexico’s action plan is adequate.

The CITES Trade Database shows that Mexico is a major exporter of live animals, including crocodiles, lizards, bighorn sheep, and various types of tarantulas; reptile skins, shark fins and bird feathers. Thus, those directly affected by this measure will be Mexican fishermen, ranchers and farmers who will no longer be able to send their products to CITES member countries.

The United States, Mexico’s main trading partners, will implement the Secretariat’s recommendations. In this regard, the United States ordered the immediate suspension of all shipments for commercial purposes containing CITES species, listed in Appendices I and II, by virtue of import, export or re-export permits issued by Mexico.

Other countries currently subject to a trade suspension

To ensure the CITES implementation, the Secretariat has issued recommendations to temporarily suspend trade with various countries. These suspensions can apply on certain species or all commercial transactions. Examples of countries subjected to suspensions include:







2013/018 (17/05/2013)

Annual reports

All commercial trade



2023/034 (23/03/2023)

Significant trade

Myrmecophila tibicinis



 2023/034 (23/03/2023)  

Significant trade

Trioceros quadricornis


2022/045 (08/06/2022)

Compliance and enforcement- Article XIII

Trioceros montium




2023/034 (23/03/2023)

Significant trade

Strombus gigas


2016/022 (16/03/2016)

Annual reports

All commercial trade



2018/012 (22/01/2018)

National legislation

All commercial trade



2022/033 (13/05/2022)

Annual reports

All commercial trade



2018/084 (01/11/2018)

Compliance and enforcement- Article XIII

Pterocarpus erinaceus



2023/034 (23/03/2023)

Significant trade

Hippocampus algiricus


Source: CITES, last update: March 27th, 2023.


CITES Standing Committee decisions represents a precedent-setting situation for Mexico. Until this Committee determines that Mexico’s action plan is adequate, Mexican producers or exporters of CITES species in Mexico will face a problem of great importance. The trade of animals, plants and their derivatives under CITES protection will be practically paralyzed by this decision, just as it will happen in the United States, and it will be necessary for companies to prepare themselves to face this probable and imminent commercial suspension. As a final note, the Mexican Government must prioritize presenting an action plan to comply with the Standing Committee’s recommendation and urgently protect the totoaba and vaquita marina.

Need more information?

VTZ is a firm specialized in International Trade and Customs with extensive experiences advising companies import permits or licenses, including CITES certifications, in Mexico.

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