Xiao Ju Guan, also known as Tony Guan, entered the plea Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan.
Guan admitted that he tried in March to smuggle two black rhinoceros horns from New York to British Columbia, where he intended to sell them at a store.
The 39-year-old Richmond, B.C., resident said he had smuggled more than $400,000 of rhino horns and sculptures made from elephant ivory and coral from U.S. auction houses to Canada.
His plea to one count of attempted smuggling carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing was scheduled for March 13.