Valuation methodology overview

An initial review of price data available for trade in CITES-listed species was undertaken. On the basis of the species coverage, level of detail, consistency of the dataset and probable comparability to EU prices, the “Declared U.S. Dollar Value” data from the United States CITES Annual Reports were used as the basis for calculations of the value of EU imports of CITES-listed species. The United States is a major importer and exporter of CITES-listed species and therefore Customs data included price data for a high number of CITES species in trade. Using EU importer-reported trade data derived from the CITES Trade Database, the United States price data were extrapolated to calculate the value of EU reported imports of CITES-listed animals.

United States price data used

The Declared U.S. Dollar Value is the amount in U.S. dollars declared by the trader at the point of export from or import to the United States. The Declared U.S. Dollar Value data provided in the United States CITES Annual Reports for the years 2006-2010 were used. Both import and export price data were included in the analysis.

On account of limited price data, plants were excluded from the analysis; it is hoped that the methodology can be improved in the future to address this issue.

Data for animals were standardised to comply with CITES accepted codes (for further information on CITES codes for terms, sources and units, see Units and source codes were converted or grouped to allow for more meaningful analysis. All sources and purposes were included in the analysis.

Price per taxon per year (2006-2010) was corrected for inflation by using a conversion factor (see to express prices as estimates of U.S. dollars in 2010.

The median USD price for each family/unit/source/term/appendix combination was calculated. Family-level price data were used so that median prices would be based on a higher number of records, thus providing a more robust price estimate. Furthermore, calculations done at the family level provided value data for a higher proportion of trade records in EU importer data.

EU importer data

Trade data were extracted from the CITES Trade Database to determine trade volumes as reported by EU importers in 2010. All terms, sources and purposes were included.

Calculating value of EU imports

To estimate the monetary value of EU imports of CITES-listed animal species, the median price value for each family/unit/source/term/appendix combination was multiplied by the EU reported trade volume.

Where the family median was based on a small number of records within the United States price dataset (<5 records), or where price data were unavailable for a family/unit/source/term/appendix combination (e.g. because the United States had not traded in the taxon in question), proxy values were used. A proxy value was added where the EU trade dataset contained 100 or more records of a particular family/unit/source/term/appendix combination. The remainder of EU reported importer data were deleted from the analysis. An example of typical proxy would be using the median price for the same family/unit/term/appendix combination but for trade in a similar but different source.

The price dataset initially included 325,364 relevant price records for animal species. Median price values were subsequently calculated for 2,224 family/unit/source/term/appendix combinations. The final EU importer data used included 63,626 trade records, with less than 500 records with no price data available.


A number of assumptions were made in order to undertake the calculations for this report:

  • Only price data from United States imports and exports were used, which were then extrapolated to estimate the value of EU imports. However, in reality there will be price differences between countries for the same species and there will be differences in the quality of products, leading to price differences. The estimate of financial value of the trade in EU imports of CITES-listed animals is therefore an approximation of the actual earnings at one stage in the market chain.
  • The calculations focus only on animals, as no price data were available for plants (including timber). Furthermore, records were deleted if no price data were available or if no adequate proxy was identified. Therefore, calculations are likely to be an underestimate of total value of legal imports of CITES species to the EU.
  • Family-level price data and proxy data used for price calculations may not always reflect the true price of a species.
  • The price for any given species/commodity may vary according to size of animal, shipment size, variety (e.g. rare breeds) – such detail is not captured in the CITES trade data. An initial analysis of the data used in this report indicated that median shipment sizes were comparable between the two datasets.
  • In future, it is intended to refine the methodology to further verify assumptions and to include price data for plants.