Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The minister signed a decree earlier this month ‘banning the trade in ivory and rhino horn in France and all overseas French territories’.

However, the full text of the measures appears to permit the sale of items worked as late as July 1, 1975 – if supported by CITES documentation.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said it was disappointed by the exemptions. “The minister has departed from the total ban announced in Kenya [on April 1]. France has missed a chance to lead by example.”

Following the signing of the decree on August 16, ATG contacted French trade associations SYMEV and the SNA and it is hoped they will clarify the potential impact of the new rules in due course.

When the government’s plans were announced, an open letter to the ministry of culture was by signed by the presidents of French five trade bodies.

They said a blanket ban of the kind proposed “would have a dramatic effect on the French art market, which is currently the object of a parliamentary mission to help its growth.”