During the 2013 U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Robert D. Hormats and Administrator Zhao Shucong of the Chinese State Forestry Administration led a historic breakout session on wildlife trafficking. At the session, experts from multiple agencies met to review efforts to combat the global illegal trade in wildlife and identify areas for increased cooperation.
"The United States is committed to working with China to address this global challenge," the State Department said.
"In recognition of the economic and security consequences of burgeoning illicit trade networks, the two nations committed to pursue more effective mechanisms for cooperation; strengthen enforcement at the national, regional and global level, including enhanced cooperation among law enforcement agencies; efforts to eliminate the supply and demand for illegal wildlife products; the development of innovative technologies to advance such efforts; and strengthening international cooperation in wildlife conservation and protection," the department said.
Wildlife trafficking is a multibillion-dollar illicit trade that undermines security, economic development, health and the rule of law across the globe, the department said. The United States and China are major destinations for trafficked wildlife products.
The United States has been leading an international effort to halt wildlife trafficking, and on July 1, President Obama signed an executive order establishing a presidential task force and calling for a U.S. national strategy to combat wildlife trafficking. The order, in part, calls for the United States to assist foreign nations in building their capacity to combat wildlife trafficking.
"The poaching of protected species and the illegal trade in wildlife and their derivative parts and products (together known as "wildlife trafficking") represent an international crisis that continues to escalate," Obama said in the executive order.