China announced on Friday that it was banning all commerce in ivory by the end of 2017. In the announcement, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said the shutdown of the market, which includes all processing and sales, would occur in phases throughout 2017.
In the first step, a designated group of legal ivory processing factories and businesses will be forced to close by March 31. The Ministry of Culture will assist in the transition of legal ivory into use in museums and other cultural sites, as well as help workers in the industry, including master carvers, find related jobs.
The question of enforcement is one that will apply to China as it enacts the ban, and government actions will be closely watched by conservationists and advocates.