TRAFFIC: European Union suspends the re-export of raw ivory



Brussels, Belgium, 17th May 2017—The European Commission has published a guidance document under which the European Union (EU) will suspend re-exports of raw ivory from 1 July 2017, even if they qualify as old/“pre-Convention” specimens as well as recommending tougher scrutiny of worked ivory movements.



Under current rules, re-export of raw ivory for commercial purposes from the EU is only allowed for so-called “pre-Convention” ivory, acquired before the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was applied to elephant species—1st July 1975 for Asian Elephants and 26th February 1976 for African Elephants.



The EC and EU Member States decision comes after analysis of CITES Trade Data revealed a sharp increase in legal commercial re-exports of raw ivory (tusks and unworked ivory pieces) from the EU to East Asia (mainly China and Hong Kong) in recent years, raising concerns the legal imports could be used as a cover for laundering illegally sourced ivory into the Asian marketplace. EU ivory re-exports rose to more than 600 items in 2014 and 2016, but averaged below 100 items between 2006 and 2012.



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