China and U.S. Pledge to End the Ivory Trade

By on September 25, 2015 with 39 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China today announced a detailed and shared commitment to end the global trade in ivory. President Xi said his country would match the U.S.’s commitment to stop any commercial trade in ivory, in a stunning announcement that dramatically fortifies a prior statement on the subject from a senior Chinese leader.

This coming-together of the two largest ivory-consuming countries is a watershed moment for the efforts to stop commercial trade in ivory, and it is the first time that a U.S. President and a Chinese President have made a specific pledge about saving wildlife, elevating the wildlife trafficking crisis into the diplomatic discourse among the world’s most important global political leaders.

The joint statement specifically commits the two countries to “enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export, including significant and timely restrictions on the import of ivory as hunting trophies, and to take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic trade of ivory.” The two countries will also build on existing efforts to cooperate on law enforcement, public education and other steps to combat wildlife trafficking.

For those of us who have long been troubled by China’s animal welfare record, this is no small moment. It undoubtedly required extraordinary and smart diplomatic engagement by the Administration and our U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is also a testament to the Chinese leaders’ growing recognition that the country’s actions on the ivory trade is intertwined with its international image and interests. Many NGOs have been pushing awareness or demand reduction programs, including our global affiliate, Humane Society International, reaching millions of people in China.

The timing is opportune. The United States itself is in the midst of revising regulations to curtail the domestic ivory trade to reduce U.S. role in the global ivory trade. The Administration and the animal protection and conservation communities have long held the view that the U.S. actions on the ivory trade reverberate beyond our borders and have an impact on China, the largest destination for illegal ivory. The naysayers, such as the National Rifle Association and the pro-ivory traders, say otherwise and are pulling all the stops to undermine the Administration’s actions to tighten control over the domestic ivory trade, which is why it is important for us to continue to support the Administration’s effort to finalize the proposed rule and to make sure it is as strong as possible. Today’s joint statement underscores the conservation leadership and diplomatic influence of the United States, and it makes the opponents of the Administration’s efforts look even more marginal than they are. The NRA and other groups are now trailing the government of China.

The Pope’s visit to the United States was extraordinary. But President Xi’s visit here may yield even more consequential outcomes, could be the beginning of the end of the cruel ivory trade.

Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Kathleen Ryan says:

    This is excellent news. now if they would create laws to stop people from brutally murdering 10 million dogs a year for food i would be even more happy.

  2. Christopher West says:

    Make ivory illegal to have . 25yrs. in prison

  3. Vicky says:

    thank you thank you

  4. daniel roberts says:

    It’s about time

  5. sherie haines says:

    It amazes me that things have been allowed to get this bad .. Shame on the countries that have dragged there feet over the slaughter of these amazing beasts.

  6. Emma Rivera says:

    Stop the massacre

  7. Linda Chambers says:

    This breaking news is HUGE. I applaud all who have had a part, I am moved to tears reading this news. As I have had personal experience working with traumatized elephants in Africa and in Thailand, I know firsthand the sadness they feel. May we move in a direction of compassion, of respect, and be the stewards we must be to preserve the wildlife on Planet Earth. Well Done, Thank you for this big shift in the right direction!

  8. Emma Rivera says:

    Stop the massacre!

  9. Jeri Jones says:

    Please do something about this. We do not take your promises lightly & we don’t forget.

    Thank you

  10. Victoria Fisher-Briggs says:

    Dear Mr. Pacelles,

    Thank you for all that you do. I live in the county of Los Angeles. I do what I can do for the Elephants, animals inc. dogs. Spay and neuter is the answer and the horrors of the exotic animals breaks my heart. I educate and spread the word any chance I get.


    Victoria Fisher-Briggs

  11. Suraj nigam says:

    Please stop????

  12. JANE GANNON says:


  13. JANE GANNON says:


  14. Kim says:

    Thank you, God Bless

  15. Jeanine says:

    Save the elephants

  16. terri tippett says:

    Please save our wildlife!!!!
    Seeing an animal thrive in their natural environment brings tremendous joy to myself and many other people. If one feels the need to shoot something, let them use a camera as opposed to a gun. If they need a trophy head hanging on their wall, then buy a stuffed animal.

  17. Liliana ramirez says:

    No mas crueldad los animales Dios no lo dio para cuidar los y protejerlos

  18. Marissa Ferraro says:

    United States and China must end animal cruelty in all forms…domestic and exotic…time to respect what we have left and honor our children with their existence!! This also should include cetaceans and ocean life …we must change the course!

  19. David Bernazani says:

    Well, it’s about time, but better late than never. I hope this accord brings some actual, concrete reductions in ivory sales– and rhino horn as well? And I just hope it’s not too late.

  20. Colleen Kennedy says:

    The ivory trade should have been shut down years ago!

  21. lucy marchetta says:

    it is a great moment in time for mankind

  22. Nikola Iliev says:

    The ivory trade should’ve been shut down years ago.The US and China must do everythinh possible to end all animal cruelty and give the harshest punishement possible to the people responsible.

  23. Betti Gillezeau says:

    ABUNDANT THANKS TO THOSE WHO CARED ENOUGH TO START THIS IMPORTANT AND URGENT PETITION ! ! ! I am happy to say that I joined with the thousands who signed this petition…And I now quote from the above article…”This coming-together of the two largest ivory-consuming countries is a watershed moment for the efforts to stop commercial trade in ivory, and it is the first time that a U.S. President and a Chinese President have made a specific pledge about saving wildlife, elevating the wildlife trafficking crisis into the diplomatic discourse among the world’s most important global political leaders”. Betti Gillezeau Trinidad & Tobago

  24. Dora Hardegger says:

    The ivory trade should have been shut down years ago!

  25. godelieve kowal says:

    Help aub het behouden van onze wilde beesten, stop met het doden van deze dieren!!!

  26. Linda Rodrigues says:

    Thank You to both Presidents.

  27. L Robertson says:

    It’s a great day for human kindness as well as for humankind.

  28. Sarah Flamach says:

    USFWS Dan Ashe wants to allow ivory imports and sport hunted elephants (TWO PER HUNTER PER YEAR). China recently obtained a herd of young elephants from Zimbabwe – to raise and then slaughter for their tusks. Don’t let the story fool you. Neither country is devoted to saving them, rather they want to make a profit. The USA sells hunting permits. Duh.

  29. Marie says:

    I’m excited to see the differences the new changes make.

  30. Charlotte says:

    Thank God for that. And the dog and cat trade MUST come to an end now! It´s criminell and think of this – The dogs and Cats also have souls and they are worthy a good life. To China – I NEVER buy a thing that you made and I would never visit your country as long as you make evil acts.

  31. Anna Carner says:

    With thousands of acres to police, the specifics as to how rangers will be notified when an elephant is being slaughtered, and getting to the poachers before the kill, will take a lot of manpower and money.

    This must be done now! From what I read, the elephant is running out of time.
    Saving the elephant from extinction, as well as putting a big dent in illegal funds that are known to support terrorist groups, are two major reasons to get involved.

  32. Alma says:

    Humans are destroying humans, animals, and the Mother Earth!
    Destroyers of everything for MONEY!!!!! EVIL!!

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.