US to fight supply side of illegal wildlife trafficking through AGOA trade sweetners for Africa

Sep 1, 2015 The United States recently established a major crackdown on the illegal plundering and trafficking of natural resources like wood, wildlife and fish from Africa during the AGOA forum in Libreville, Gabon.

US trade representative, Ambassador Michael Froman, said the US was negotiating a trade agreement with 12 governments in the Asia Pacific region in a bid to prevent the trade in illegally obtained wildlife.

“In our trade negotiations like the Trans Pacific Partnership we are working to make sure countries are working to combat wildlife trafficking and to make sure they are interdicting and preventing the trade in illegally harvested wildlife as well as cutting subsidies or eliminating subsidies for the fishing of over-fished stocks and both are very important in preserving the natural resources of places like Gabon. So here we see the supply side of wildlife trafficking and fisheries management and in the TPP we are working on the demand side, making sure we are doing everything possible to deal with the bridge between supply and demand and to prevent illegal wildlife trafficking and illegal fishing,” Froman said

On the eve of the AGOA, Froman visited Gabon’s natural reserve of Wonga Wongue, which he says is a strong model for Africa for successful conservation policies. Gabon is also home to over 50 percent of the world’s forest elephant population.

Dr Mike Fay, a conservationist and senior advisor to the Gabon government, also explained why conservation can bring development to most African nations.

“So for instance, Gabon produces about 30,000 tons of tuna fish every year, 30,000 tons. That is 30 million kilos of tuna, that’s about 20 kg of tuna per person in this country. Not a single Gabonese has ever even seen one of those fish. The money that has come in has been almost nothing, zero jobs and zero fish so if all of a sudden we put in proper trade agreements for tuna and we start finding partners that want to invest in the tuna industry here and have equal partnership in the exploitation of what is a very important resource for Gabon, then we can start see that resource creating jobs and creating an industry and bringing money in and people will actually have fish to eat so yes, it’s all about trade,” said Fay.

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