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Parliamentary questions
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23 June 2015
Joint answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission
Written questions :E-004957/15 , E-006782/15 , E-005057/15
Question references: E-004957/2015, E-005057/2015, E-006782/2015

The EU is committed to the fight against ivory trafficking. The EU has provided substantial financial support for capacity-building in that area, and successfully pushed for international recommendations against ivory trafficking, in particular in the CITES(1) Convention.

Current EU rules ban trade in ivory but foresee an exemption under strict conditions for ivory products acquired before elephants became protected at the international level through the CITES Convention (in the 1970s). In line with international rules, it is therefore today possible under EC law to export such ‘pre-Convention’ ivory items.

There has been a boom in the export of such items from the EU to Asia in recent years. The Commission is working closely with EU Member States to make sure that there is no loophole that would allow illegally taken ivory to be mixed with legal old ivory items and exported from the EU. When there are doubts, the Member States do not issue the required permits and no trade can take place.

In the light of the surge in wildlife trafficking globally, the Commission carried out a consultation on the issue(2) and it is now working on the development of a comprehensive EU Action Plan against wildlife trafficking. Any initiative in relation to the export of ‘pre-Convention’ ivory items from the EU will be examined as part of this Action Plan.

(1)Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
(2)See http://ec.europa.eu/environment/cites/trafficking_en.htm

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