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CITES - What every bass player should know

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Turnaround, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. As @Bentley pointed out, Canada has already processed the CITES exemption for musical instruments. However, I'm pretty sure that this is only because our economy is so closely tied to the United States.

    I'm sure that Warmoth is right about there being no problem with shipments exiting the U.S., but as others have pointed out, it's still buyer beware on the import end. It was there that things went off the rails with the first CITES confiscations.

    It also occurs to me that America's changing profile on the world stage might be a factor overseas. With all the fuss over new tariffs on steel, automobiles, etc., other trading partners may not be in a rush to update their legislation.
  2. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    The problem for international buyers is that if they require an import permit they will still require a copy of the EXPORT permit for the application. If no export permit exists it's impossible to get an import permit.

    But are you absolutely certain that the US and Canada have implemented the changes? What is your source for this information? There is no information about this whatsoever on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website. A search for "cites rosewood" gives lots of results but nothing recent and nothing about implementing the changes concerning rosewood in musical instruments from November 26th (or any other date for that matter).

    A google search for "canada cites rosewood" will (as far as I can tell) give no results with recent updates from any authorities. In fact, the top search result is a document about rosewood and CITES from Environment and Climate Change Canada that does NOT include the recent exceptions for musical instruments but contains information about all the permits you need for import/export.

    If the changes have actually been implemented in the US and Canada the authorities are sure doing a great job of hiding it...

    Of course the US and Canada may have special customs agreements between them that I know nothing about. That could make the paperwork easier. Like between different EU countries (no CITES permits needed) or between EU and EFTA countries (only export permit required, no import permit required).

    But as far as I can tell the restrictions for international shipment of rosewood still apply for musical instruments.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  3. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    Actually, can anyone share reliable information from official environmental authorities in ANY country anywhere in the world that confirms 100% that the changes concerning rosewood in musical instruments have been implemented? I can find nothing... As far as I can tell permits are still required all over the world??? The ONLY source I can find about restrictions being lifted on November 26th are cut&paste info on guitar/instrument related websites and they clearly have no idea how CITES relate to governments and national legislation around the world.

    I'm not saying I'm 100% certain that the changes haven't been implemented in the US or Canada or wherever but I will remain sceptic until I see OFFICIAL information from environmental authorities and not just questionable information on guitar websites and forums.

    The only official information I've got came from my local national Environmental Agency and they said the restrictions still apply in the EU and will probably not be lifted anytime soon. Not because they won't lift them (the EU + some other countries actually made the proposal for the exceptions) but because the EU bureaucracy is moving slowly with cases like this.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  4. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    In the US, CITES is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. I just checked their website, and it says nothing about the amendment to CITES that created an exemption for the use of rosewood (but not Brazilian rosewood) in musical instruments. The website still lists all rosewoods as protected by the treaty for all purposes.
    S.F.Sorrow likes this.
  5. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    Exactly, thanks! There's so much misleading information about this on guitar related websites that even manufacturers and dealers seem to think the restrictions have been lifted. I fear a lot of people may have a nasty surprise waiting for them if they're ordering rosewood instruments for international shipping after reading all this nonsense. Someone should contact Warmoth about this if they're really telling customers it's ok to ship rosewood internationally.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  6. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    It would be extraordinary for the US government, or probably any other national government, to move that quickly on something that is, in the grand scheme, pretty low priority.
    s_wood, Jeff Scott and S.F.Sorrow like this.
  7. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    It could very well be that Warmoth is passing along legitimate information. But the key would be knowing who/where they got the information from.
  8. My comment was based on this post by @Bentley ...

    We did not have a special exemption. In fact, at least one prominent Canadian luthier had a guitar confiscated during the early stages of the CITES rollout.

    However, this latest post indicates that the restriction has been lifted, at least across the US/Canada border.

    Reviewing @Bentley’s previous posts, he was shipping instruments Canada > US.

    He had some permit applications underway, and he has now been told by Canada Customs that they have been cancelled because they are no longer required.

    I’m sure he will chip in if I’ve got this turned around, but it sounds like the restrictions have been relaxed for non-Brazilian rosewood when the instrument is southbound between Canada and the US.

    Although that seems to indicate that Canadians can cross the border in either direction without hassle, I would still double-check before booking any travel with one of my own instruments.

    Plus, it only applies to the Canada-US connection. I wouldn’t attempt to book any European travel without getting written assurances from every stop along the way (including Canada Customs) that the restrictions have been lifted in all the countries I planned to visit, or even fly over...
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
    S.F.Sorrow likes this.
  9. Tom Bomb

    Tom Bomb Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    Your wish is my command:
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
    S.F.Sorrow and BlueTalon like this.
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Did he get his application fees refunded to him (I assume one has to send money with the application)?
    BlueTalon likes this.
  11. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    Great question!
  12. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
  13. Bentley

    Bentley Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2008
    Hello folks.
    I have accurately shared my CITES experience and knowledge, here in this thread, for those interested.

    If you wants to hear straight from the Canadian Government, I would encourage all to go straight to the source and be armed with the facts - so please contact:
    CITES Permit Policy and Operations Unit / CITES Canada - Management Authority
    Wildlife Management and Regulatory Affairs / Canadian Wildlife Service
    Environment et Changements climatiques Canada / Government of Canada
    ec.cites.ec@canada.ca /Tél 1 855 869 8670
    steve_rolfeca and S.F.Sorrow like this.
  14. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    Finally a legit government source, thanks! Indeed it looks like Australia have implemented the changes. Great news!
    Tom Bomb likes this.
  15. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    Thanks! From your experience it sounds like Canada must have implemented the changes too, although I can find no information about this on the websites for the government agencies listed above. In fact Environment et Changements climatiques Canada still lists rosewood as restricted with no mention of the exceptions for musical instruments. Maybe they haven't updated their websites yet.

    Does anyone have solid information from any other official sources/governments around the world? Any info on the EU will be especially appreciated because I was told they won't implement the changes for quite some time yet. The person I talked to at my national Environmental Agency was their senior advisor on international trade and import/export of endangered species so he SHOULD know what he was talking about. The Thomann website says the same: restrictions for the EU still in place until further notice.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  16. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    I agree, better safe than sorry until info from official government sources is available. Thanks for clarifying! :)
  17. DrewinHouston

    DrewinHouston Not currently practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Disclosure: I am not a great bass player
    CITES Ends Rosewood Restrictions for Musical Instruments

    Restrictions on rosewood for musical instruments were lifted with the exception of Brazilian rosewood, which was on the endangered species list before the ruling in 2017. The vote was passed on August 28th and went into effect on November 26th.
  18. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    There's about a dozen threads about this dating back to August.
    s_wood likes this.
  19. Garret Graves

    Garret Graves website- ggbassplayer.com Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Arcadia, Ca
    The sticky thread at the top is a must read on this subject. Also important to note- restrictions have been lifted, but the implementation of the changes could be a long time away for many countries. Your instruments could be seized, in theory, if the country in question has not officially implemented the changes in their own system, irregardless of the official changes by CITES.
  20. This.

    CITES sets overall direction.

    It takes time for the individual countries to adjust their customs processes to correspond with policy changes. On top of that, each signatory is free to set tighter restrictions if they wish. Some countries see this as an opportunity to keep precious natural resources at home, so that they can stimulate their economies through the manufacture of finished goods.

    Waving a copy of the new CITES regulations around will gain you absolutely nothing if you run afoul of a Customs agent after stepping off the plane. I can't speak for other countries, but in Canada and the US their decisions are final, and there is no appeals process.

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