Ivory to China: the Belgian network

4 Mar 2015

Marie-Christine Marghem, the Belgian Minister for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, declared yesterday that she was quite pleased with the action of her department in the struggle against the traffic of endangered species and ensured that her country gave a special attention to the protection of elephants. At the same time, Belgium is preparing to clear on the international market raw ivory tusks imported from France, despite an export ban taken in January by the French Ministry of Ecology and immediately practicable.

To circumvent the decision of France, Cannes Enchères (Cannes Auction) claiming to be the world specialist in the sale of ivory from its headquarters on the Côte d’Azur, has contacted the Belgian back room Art on the Move. The half-ton of raw ivory destined to be auctioned on Saturday March 7, will be transferable in Belgium under cover of CIC (Intra-Community Certificate) then exported to China through export permits issued by the Belgian authorities. Art on the Move is specialized in logistics and customs formalities of “collectibles”. The role of Brussels in this new scandal linked to the global speculation on ivory was uncovered through an investigation conducted by the NGO Robin des Bois (Robin Hood).

Cannes Enchères speculates on ivory and rhino horns. This is not an auction house but a stock market for raw animal materials. Cannes Enchères is a flamboyant representative of the capitalism of extinction.
Cannes Enchères traders do not hesitate to declare that “the French attics are filled with thousands of tons of ivory.”.”If our authorities could facilitate its placing on the market, this new offer would be much greater than the demand, prices would collapse and there would be less poaching in the world.”
These ivory commercial agent speeches tend to exonerate holders and sellers of elephant tusks. The truth is quite different. Behind so-called legal ivory placed on the world market comes illegal ivory from poaching and the extinction of the last elephants from Africa and Asia.

Belgium should join the camp of elephants defenders like United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and France. At a time when Kenya is burning 15 tons of ivory originated from poaching, corruption and theft from government stocks, Belgium can not accept to become a global hub for ivory trade.

Robin des Bois along with 38 international NGOs urges the Belgian government to oppose this ploy and refuse to issue export permits for elephant tusks sold by Cannes Enchères.

Mrs Marghem, Minister of Ecology in Belgium, was alerted on the subject by Mrs Royal, Minister of Ecology in France.


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