Vietnam is willing to carry out urgent measures at the national, regional and international levels to fight cross-border smuggling of endangered plants and animals.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam made the comment at a May 27 ceremony marking 20 years since Vietnam joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The trafficking of wild species has become a common problem of all nations over the world, Tam said, adding that Vietnam will strictly enforce international commitments to which it is a member.

CITES Secretary General John E. Scanlon expressed his hope that with its experience, Vietnam will continue doing its utmost to fight this kind of crime.

Over the past two decades, Vietnam has received support from international organisations and CITES country members. It has bettered its legal system relating to this issue and carried out activities to raise public awareness.

Illegal trading of wild species is estimated to bring smugglers 10-15 billion USD each year. It causes negative impact on natural resources and increases the risk of spreading infectious diseases.

CITES now counts 180 country members. Vietnam became its 121 st member on April 20, 1994.-VNA