General Requirements

Since hides and skins constitute raw materials of animal origin used outside the human food chain, they are subject to the rules on animal by-products not intended for human consumption. Leather manufacturers and importers need to conform to these rules when producing, collecting, transporting, storing, using or disposing hides and skins, since they can be dangerous to human health if not properly handled.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates trade in endangered plants, animals or products thereof, such as leather. Specific rules detail the list of species of which trade is prohibited, or restricted and specifies the administrative and technical details to regulate trade of endangered species;

The European Rapid Alert System (RAPEX) is a notification system by which EU countries are informed of unsafe products placed on the EU market, so that measures can be adopted on time before EU consumers are exposed to dangerous products. Leather and leather products may pose health risks to consumers, and may be subject to notifications within the RAPEX database.

Besides, if you send your leather as part of a packaged good, you should take into account the protective measures against the introduction into the EU of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the EU as it affects the wood packaging materials used for transport, and the leather and leather products as they may be wrapped with or supported by those.  Wood packaging materials used for transport need to comply with a number of rules aimed at preventing the entry of pests to the EU, and which essentially concern the wood’s debarking (generally, wood materials need to be free from the tree’s bark), treatment (with one of the EU approved methods), and marking (all wood packaging materials need to bear a stamp that certifies compliance with EU requirements);

There are rules to prevent the production of packaging waste, promoting the reuse of packaging and reducing the final disposal of such waste. Requirements mainly relate to maximum concentration levels for heavy metals contained in packaging, and labelling (marking and identification of the materials used).

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