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Import Restrictions on Vicuña Fiber Could be Modified Following FWS Review

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Restrictions on the importation of vicuña fiber and fiber products could be modified as a result of a five-year review that the Fish and Wildlife Service has launched under the Endangered Species Act. Comments are due no later than Jan. 21.

Under current FWS regulations, legal fiber and legal products produced with fiber from vicuña populations listed as threatened under the ESA and listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora may be imported into the U.S. provided certain conditions are satisfied by the exporting or reexporting country. The regulations currently extend this treatment to the vicuña populations of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. Vicuña fiber and fiber products from Ecuador are listed as endangered under the ESA and are therefore not currently eligible for importation.

The FWS has now initiated a five-year review of the status of the vicuña under the ESA and is requesting the submission of information that has become available since the last review in 2002. For example, in June 2013 the countries party to CITES transferred the whole vicuña population of Ecuador from Appendix I to Appendix II (easing trade restrictions) and revised Appendix II to refer only to specific populations of Argentina (the populations of the provinces of Jujuy and Catamarca and the semi-captive populations of the provinces of Jujuy, Salta, Catamarca, La Rioja and San Juan) and Chile (population of the Primera Región) as well as the whole populations of Peru and Bolivia, with all other populations included in Appendix I.

FWS sources state that the ongoing review will outline recommendations about whether or not to change the species classification in light of these or other developments. Any such change could modify the requirements for trade in these products and would have to be made by amending FWS regulations.

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