By Fergus Ryan, with additional reporting by Amber Ziye Wang
26 September 2015
Beijing (The Guardian) – While differences on cyber security and talk of sanctions dominated the headlines for Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to the US, the two countries also signed up to a major agreement to end the global trade in ivory.
In a statement released by the White House on Friday, the two countries – which are the largest markets for illegal ivory – said they would enact a nearly complete ban on the import and export of ivory.
The ban would cover “significant and timely restrictions on the import of ivory as hunting trophies” as well as unspecified “significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory.”
China is the biggest market for poached ivory with some estimates putting the US in second place.
The announcement follows a decision by China to phase out the legal, domestic manufacture and sale of ivory products in May.
In December, a report released by Save the Elephants and the Aspinall Foundation found that the wholesale price of raw elephant tusks had tripled in just four years since 2010.
Cutting the supply of ivory to the Chinese market is seen as an crucial step in reducing the loss of Africa’s elephants to poaching. [more]