CITES Regulations For The Importation And Exportation Of Rosewood Effective January 2, 2017
What is CITES and how does it work?
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments which was introduced in 1975. Since then, more than 185 countries worldwide participate in CITES and adhere to the guidelines of the convention. The purpose of the convention is to ensure that international trade of plants and animals does not threaten their existence. Without CITES controls in place, governments do not have a unified stance on the conservation of wild fauna and flora. CITES makes this regulation of plants and animals possible on a global level. It works by requiring the same, original permit be endorsed by the exporting country and the importing country to ensure a legal chain of custody has been demonstrated within the transaction. The convention is vital for the protection of over 35,000 species currently listed in the CITES appendices. There are 3 appendices depending on the severity of the conservative action needed. CITES i and ii appendices are the strictest, including species which are usually threatened with possible extinction. CITES iii appendix is less strict, including species which are protected by at least one country which has asked for controls on the species.
What does CITES have to do with the music industry?
Over the past few decades, CITES has had a limited impact in the musical world. One of the main controls of CITES that involved musical instruments was that of Dalbergia nigra (Brazilian Rosewood). This was listed as a CITES appendix i controlled species on June 11t h, 1992, making it illegal to harvest D. nigra after this date and requiring export (and sometimes import) permits for the life of any finished goods which used it. Fast forward to Jan 2n d, 2017 and we have now seen a genus wide listing of CITES ii controlled Dalbergia. This means, all rosewood (and Bubinga) was placed on the CITES ii appendix and although it does not make harvesting the rosewood illegal, it does require permits for any commercial export/import of raw materials or finished goods made from these species. Considering the large number of musical instruments which use small
amounts of rosewood, specifically guitars, that are imported and exported each year, we have seen an industry wide increase in the logistics required to carry out such transactions.
PRS Guitars strongly encourages consumers to utilize the many informative documents set forth by governing agencies around the world. US Fish and Wildlife, for example, has a well-maintained website which has proven useful with specific questions pertaining to individuals unique situations.
USFWS website pertaining to CITES info can be found here: https://www.fws.gov/international/cites/
Frequently asked CITES questions can also be found on the CITES website: https://cites.org/eng/resources/faq.php