Under sanctions threat, ministry cracks down on ivory trade (Thailand)


The Nation

Date Published
The Commerce Ministry’s Business Development Department has set up a specialised centre to provide advice on the ivory trade.
It is located at the department’s head office at Sanambinnam, Nonthaburi. Traders can call 0-2547-4446/7, or hotline 1570 for advice. 
“We intend to prevent illegal ivory trading and create better understanding about trade regulations,” the department’s director-general Pongpun Gearaviriyapun said yesterday. 
In Thailand, ivory from domesticated elephants can be sold, but ivory from wild pachyderms is considered illegal. 
According to Pongpun, his ministry is now “stringently” regulating ivory traders and has encouraged them to register with the ministry, to prevent illegal trading and protect Thailand from international sanctions.
Pongpun said the ministry is now closely co-operating with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to solve legal problems and protect Thailand from international sanctions, which could lead to billion baht losses.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has warned that Thailand could face an international wildlife-trade ban unless it reins in its ivory sector, which is a magnet for traffickers. CITES has set a deadline of next March for Thailand to fall into line or risk wide-ranging sanctions.