Re: New to the list

Andreas Wistuba (A.Wistuba@DKFZ-Heidelberg.DE)
Wed, 26 Jul 1995 12:44:01 GMT+1

Dear Mr. von Arx,
you wrote:

> I'm a Conservation Officer at the Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques
> in Geneva, Switzerland. I also represent the CITES Management Authority
> for plants for Switzerland and I am a long-time grower.
> I also chair the IUCN/SSC Carnivorous Plants Specialist Group.

I'm glad that we have an authority regarding CITES among us now.
Perhaps this will lead to a better communication between the
authorities and the growers. However I must admit that I'm among the
ones who experienced CITES in a way that I've accumulated a lot of
anger and frustration...
There are so many things I'd like to ask you and I'm looking forward
fruitful discussions with you.

> My interests in participating to this list are numerous:
> - try to get rid of all the misunderstanding about CITES and CP's;

Here I doubt that there are so many misunderstandings among growers,
regarding strictly formal aspects, at least among the growers who sell
their plants on a commercial or semi-commercial base (like
myself...). We are simply forced to know about the rules but so many
of them are hardly understandable by ratio. Fact is that many of us
were often close to crying tears of frustration by experiencing so
much ignorance and incompetence with people in the responsible
Just one example:
Perhaps this is a German phenomenon but the main problem (from my
view) here is that the authorities in some offices do not work smoothly.
In Germany we have the paradox situation that you get a CITES for a
shipment outside the EEC in Bonn by a office which works fast and very
good. I never had problems with these outside CITES for export
outside the EEC.
On the other hand it is simply impossible to apply for inside EEC
CITES (another form and another office...) as they take 2-3
months(!!!) to return your CITES and charge often more money than
the market value of the plant!!! Both in the end means not more and
not less as a trade ban for legally (in vitro) propagated plants
inside the EEC!!! As a result many growers are simply forced to sell
their plants illegally simply because no customer is willing to wait
3 months for a plant because the people at the CITES office do not
work faster. The same holds true for the prices: In case of many
species the market value is a fraction of the CITES itself (only
speaking of the expensive EEC-CITES).

I want to express that this is just an example and I guess many
others here have made similar experiences. On the other hand I doubt
that anybody here does not regard conservation as one of the major
goals of mankind nowadays and in this respect please do not
misunderstand me. I'm not against conservation or CITES but I think
CITES at the moment often results in a de facto trade ban of
propagated plants, which were propagated in nurseries that cannot
afford to do illegal things and favours dealers, often in the
tropics, who know the right ways to buy their CITES for wild
collected plants cheaply.

No flames please. These were just a few thoughts and I really would
love to discuss these things, hoping that in the end both sides have
learned something.


Andreas Wistuba

Andreas Wistuba; Mudauer Ring 227; 68259 Mannheim; Germany
Phone: +49-621-705471; Fax: +49-621-711307