Exports rules for Shisham products eased at CITES meet at India's behest

NewsDrum Desk
21 Nov 2022

New Delhi, Nov 21 (PTI) The rules for exporting Shisham-based products have been eased on India's initiative at an ongoing meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora in Panama, the Union Environment Ministry said on Monday.

The move will boost exports of Shisham-products and benefit around 50,000 artisans in India, the ministry said in a statement.  Shisham or Dalbergia Sissoo was included in Appendix II of the Convention in its 17th meeting at Johannesburg in 2016 and therefore, CITES regulations are required to be followed for the trade of the species.

At present, every consignment of weight above 10 kg requires a CITES permit.

The 19th meeting of the Conference of Parties to CITES is being held in Panama from November 14-25.

Due to this restriction, the exports of furniture and handicraft made of Shisham from India have fallen from an estimated Rs 1,000 crore per year before the listing to Rs 500-600 crore at present. The decrease in exports of these products has affected the livelihoods of artisans, the ministry said.

"On India's initiative, a proposal to clarify the quantity of Shisham items such as furniture and artefacts was considered in the CITES meeting.

"After sustained deliberations by Indian representatives, it was agreed upon that any number of Shisham-based items can be exported as a single consignment in a shipment without CITES permits if the weight of each individual item is less than 10 kg," the statement said.  In India, Shisham is found in abundance and is not treated as an endangered species.

During the discussion, it was duly acknowledged by the parties that Shisham was not at all a threatened species. However, concerns were expressed regarding the challenges in distinguishing different species of Dalbergia in their finished forms, the ministry said.   The countries expressed that there was an urgent need for developing advanced technological tools for distinguishing the finished wood of Dalbergia, especially at the customs point. Considering this aspect and in the absence of a clear technology for distinguishing the finished wood, the CoP did not agree to de-list the species from CITES Appendix II, the ministry said.   However, the relief given in terms of weight of each item will solve the problem of Indian artisan communities to a great extent and will give a tremendous boost to exports of articles produced by them, the ministry said. PTI GVS TDS TDS

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