Traffic: Hong Kong poised for critical ivory market debate
Hong Kong, 23rd March 2017—Continuation of Hong Kong’s 150-year-old ivory trade hangs in the balance as the Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs meets next Monday, 27th March, to consider a bill to phase out local ivory trade in the city. The proposed ban will require a legislative amendment in conjunction with a proposal to raise maximum penalties for wildlife crimes.
Discussions during the Panel meeting will be a critical barometer on the level of support from legislators for an ivory ban in the Special Administrative Region of China, as the move precedes submission of an amendment bill to the full Legislative Council in June 2017 for consideration before enactment.
“It is crucial that the Hong Kong SAR Government’s proposed ivory ban gains the support of legislators on the Panel next week,” said Dr Yannick Kuehl, TRAFFIC's Regional Director for East and South Asia.
“Hong Kong’s ivory trade is intrinsically linked with mainland China, which has decisively moved to phase-out ivory trade by the end of the year—Hong Kong must not fall behind. Parity in policy with mainland China is crucial if the full impact of curbing ivory trafficking is to be realised.”
Last year, the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agreed that “all Parties and non-Parties in whose jurisdiction there is a legal domestic market for ivory that is contributing to poaching or illegal trade, [should] take all necessary legislative, regulatory, and enforcement measures to close their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw and worked ivory as a matter of urgency.”