Ranking Members Grijalva and Krishnamoorthi Support Actions to Combat Illegal Trade of Highly Endangered Pangolins in People’s Republic of China, Including Sanctions

Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) today sent a letter to President Joe Biden commending the administration’s actions to take a stand against the illegal trade of pangolins and pangolin products in the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC).

READ the full letter to President Biden.

As the lawmakers point out, the PRC’s domestic market for highly endangered pangolins is largely supported by illegal poaching and trade that violates international treaty:

Pangolins, the world’s only scaly mammals, are severely endangered by illegal poaching and trade. This trade is driven by the demand for pangolin parts in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Although international commercial trade in pangolins is barred under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in some circumstances, the sale and purchase of pangolin parts remains legal in the PRC. If the PRC refuses to close its domestic market for pangolins and pangolin products, it will continue to incentivize and provide cover for the illegal importation of the species in violation of international agreements and CITES.

In a recent Message to the Congress, President Biden detailed several measures the PRC must take to curb illegal trade and protect pangolins from extinction, including closing domestic markets and removing pangolins from its list of approved medicines. In their letter, Ranking Members Grijalva and Krishnamoorthi support these measures, as well as the president’s call for sanctions if they are not met by the end of the year:

If the PRC does not agree to these necessary actions and demonstrate a sincere commitment to their implementation by December 31, 2023, we urge your Administration to issue sanctions appropriate to the seriousness of the pangolin’s imminent extinction, including a ban on the import of associated fish and wildlife products from the PRC and all products from pharmaceutical companies that are involved in the manufacture of products containing pangolin. Such sanctions should compel the PRC to close its pangolin market and fully enforce the international ban on the pangolin trade.

The president is authorized to prohibit the import of other fish, wildlife, or other non-wildlife products from the PRC following the U.S. Department of the Interior’s recent certification of the PRC under the Pelly Amendment.

Press Contact

Lindsay Gressard