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Illegal Wildlife Trade

Volume 636: debated on Tuesday 20 February 2018

The United Kingdom will host an ambitious, high-level illegal wildlife trade conference in London in October this year. I believe that the ambition to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade is shared by the entire British people.

At that conference, will my right hon. Friend ensure that the United Kingdom remains at the forefront of efforts to stamp out the illegal trade in ivory?

As my hon. Friend will know, we are nearing the conclusion of a consultation about a total ban on ivory, which I think many people in the House and in the country would agree is devoutly to be wished for. We will see where we get to, but I think my hon. Friend can count on us once again to be in the lead, and I believe that the October summit will produce some very substantive conclusions on saving elephants.

During his recent trip to south-east Asia, what discussions did my right hon. Friend have with palm oil-producing countries about the illegal wildlife trade and deforestation?

I am acutely aware of the problems caused by palm oil cultivation. We are in urgent dialogue with our partners to discourage them from deforestation and the consequent loss of species.

China has come a long way in the ivory trade discussions, but what discussions is the team having with Vietnam and some of the other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations?

Only the other day, I had discussions with Thailand. We absolutely appreciate the importance of not simply diverting the flow of ivory from China to other countries in south-east Asia.

Will the Foreign Secretary assure the House, and the people of the United Kingdom, that an international approach is being taken to ensure that nations across the developed globe take a similar position, so that we can ostracise and alienate those who are engaged in this sort of trade?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. That is why we are hosting a global summit, and the participation rates are already very high indeed.