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India gets CITES rules eased for export of Shisham items | India News

NEW DELHI: In what could be a relief for handicraft exporters, India has got rules for export of timber-based products made of Shisham or North India Rosewood (Dalbergia Sissoo) eased under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) during its ongoing meeting in Panama.
Relief for trade will be applicable for certain weight categories of such timber-based furniture and handicrafts. During the ongoing 19th meeting of the Convention, India argued that the species Dalbergia Sissoo is found in abundance in the country and is not treated as an endangered species.
However, concerns were expressed regarding the challenges in distinguishing different species of Dalbergia in their finished forms as many 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 countries during the meeting did not agree to delist the species from CITES Appendix:II. “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,” said the environment ministry on Monday.
The Convention during its 17th meeting at Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016 included all species of Genus Dalbergia in Appendix II of the CITES, thereby requiring it to follow certain regulations for the trade of the species. The listing under Appendix II requires CITES permission for every consignment of weight above 10 kg.
Due to this restriction, exports of furniture and handicrafts made of Dalbergia Sissoo from India have been continuously falling from an estimated Rs 1,000 crore per annum before 2016 to Rs 500-600 crore per annum after the listing (post-2016).
Since the decrease in exports of Dalbergia Sissoo products has affected the livelihoods of around 50,000 artisans who work with the species, Indian representatives during the ongoing meeting intervened and got the rules relaxed.
“It was also agreed that for the net weight of each item only timber will be considered and any other item used in the product like metal etc. will be ignored. This is a great relief for artisans,” said the ministry.

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