Published 8 January 2021


Customs in China and Laos Unite in Pivotal Meeting to Combat the Smuggling of Endangered Wildlife Across their Borders

China / UK, 8th January 2021—Customs officials in China and Laos met in a ground-breaking virtual forum to discuss the future measures both countries can take to combat illegal wildlife trafficking across their borders. 

This meeting signals the increased commitment from both countries in tackling the illegal wildlife trade between China and Laos which, despite COVID-19, remains active. China and Laos are Parties to CITES and have the responsibility to strengthen the implementation of CITES to ensure the illegal trade and consumption of wild animals and plants can be effectively controlled and reduced to protect wild resources. 

The smuggling of endangered species such as elephants, rhinos, tigers and leopards, pangolins, rosewood and their products has been rampant in recent years. According to research published in TRAFFIC's Bulletin, the issue in Laos is fuelled by cultural and economic factors, increasing demand from neighbouring countries such as China, Thailand and Vietnam and Laos being used as a transit country to smuggle wild fauna and flora to other destinations. 

Not only does this illegal trade pose a serious threat to the survival of wild animals and plants, it also risks economic and social development, national ecological and health security. 

However, the smuggling of wildlife at the border between China and Laos and the involvement of Chinese nationals in the illegal wildlife trade in Laos, is a challenge for law enforcement agencies in both countries. 

We are committed to tackling illegal wildlife trade and know that by strengthening our collaboration, progress will continually be made."

Mr. Canda Sinpaseuth, Deputy Director for International Co-operation division from the Lao Customs Department. 

“We are proud to be working ever closer with the Chinese authorities to close the net on wildlife traffickers exploiting the China-Laos border.” 

"Ending wildlife crime requires the joint efforts of source, transit and destination countries," said Xu Ling, Director of TRAFFIC’s office in China.  

“That’s why it’s highly encouraging to see this pivotal meeting taking place at a time when greater collaboration is needed.” 

Officials discussed intelligence sharing, trans-boundary law enforcement, exchanges and training plans alongside the need for greater public education, the latest trafficking situation and wildlife crime investigation methods.  

Mr. Sonephet Mounlamany, project manager of WWF Laos introduced the issue of illegal wildlife trade in Laos. 

China and Laos Customs also thanked TRAFFIC for its continued support in capacity building on the issue.  

Ling added: “TRAFFIC will support the collaboration by using its own network resources and actively providing information and intelligence on illegal wildlife trade to Customs in a timely manner. It will support trans-boundary law enforcement cooperation on endangered species, and continue to support Customs law enforcement training and exchange activities for key countries, and build an effective communication platform.” 


This project is supported by the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).