Actual CITES and Cross Border Info Canada/US Shipping

yamariv

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Hey Guys,

I wanted to make a post about recent CITIES info I came across while trying to by a Vintage guitar in the US which had a Brazilian Rosewood board. There's a lot of speculation out there and rumors but not many actual facts. I'm in Canada and spoke to the Canadian CITES lady in charge of permits personally and found out a lot of interesting info I figured I would pass on to you guys/gals in case I can help someone understand the process between Braz Rosewood and Regular Rosewood shipping between the Canadian/US border.

First off, Brazilian Board Guitars are much more complicated as Brazilian Rosewood is in a higher protected category than say "Regular Indian Rosewood" and has been this way for many years. For example, if I'm buying a Brazilian Rosewood guitar from the US and want to ship it or carry it across the border into Canada, I will require a CITES Export Permit from the US($75) and once this permit is obtained it must be forwarded to the Canadian CITES office who will issue a Canadian CITIES import permit for free. Once these two permits are obtained, the guitar can be shipped (with the 2 permits) or carried across the border with no issue.

2. If I am buying a Regular Rosewood guitar from the US (ie:Indian Rosewood), it can be shipped to me with only a US CITES Export permit, no Canadian CITES needed..

3. THE KICKER!!..(Which is awesome for us Canadians who live near the border!) I can buy any regular Rosewood Guitar from the US (Ie: Indian Rosewood), have it shipped to a border town and pick it up at the local UPS Store and bring it across the border myself "WITHOUT" any CITES permit at all from either country!! :dude::cheers2: The reason for this is, that the guitar picked up in the US by "me" the owner is for personal use and because it's under a certain board feet of Rosewood is exempt from CITES like when you cross the border with your personal guitar you already own. That opens up a whole new world for me!!

Figured I'd let you guys know about this!
 

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yamariv

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Thank you for taking time to share your knowledge.
No probs! It was a BIG drawn out process to figure it all out so I figured you guys might like to know some actual facts about it. I am mostly really happy to hear that I can bring across any Regular Rosewood I bought in the states without a permit which is very sweet! Now since I am looking for a Vintage Junior (and there aren't many in Canada..) I'm gonna have to do the big dance and get both permits to bring my future Junior in..Big Pain but for the right guitar will be worth it!

Great info thanks. But Im still a little confused about how they tell....So customs officers are trained to not only spot rosewood, but also be able to tell braz from "other" by visual inspection?
No they probably won't know this or even be able to tell the difference in Braz or Indian Rosewoods but if you do run into the guard that knows, you best have the permits! :facepalm: This is just an FYI on how to do CITES properly, if you want to risk not doing it properly that's up to you.
 

Splattle101

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Great info thanks. But Im still a little confused about how they tell....So customs officers are trained to not only spot rosewood, but also be able to tell braz from "other" by visual inspection?
They wouldn't be able to tell, but they have access to experts who can. What the border officers would be looking for is items of a certain type that are known to sometimes contain CITES materials. As soon as they see one of these on the invoice or manifest, they'll be interested. Old American guitar? They're interested.

If you've got the doco, all good. If you don't they can seize it and what happens after will depend on what the item is.

Details will vary between jurisdictions but in general, if:
* the item does contain CITES material; and
* you don't have the relevant permits;

then the goods are forfeit.

Forfeit means kiss them goodbye, permanently, and don't expect any compensation. On the contrary, expect a fine.
 

ch4os82

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Well just to add to the CITES experience, I recently (October 26th, 2017) bought a les paul with indian rosewood in the States. I hand carried it back with me half way across the world here in Malaysia (November 16th, 2017). No permit needed. Prior to that I did however contact both local and foreign CITES authorities before buying regarding this and they confirm me its okay to personally bring it with me as long it is under 22 lbs (10kg).
 

rapaul76

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The info about carrying it across the border is extremely helpful. Like you, I live in Canada close to a US border. I want to buy a Gibson Explorer. Under your explanation, I shouldn't need to have a permit? Am I correct?
 

yamariv

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The info about carrying it across the border is extremely helpful. Like you, I live in Canada close to a US border. I want to buy a Gibson Explorer. Under your explanation, I shouldn't need to have a permit? Am I correct?
Yeah this was amazing info that I did not expect to hear from the Canadian Cites lady! Yes you are correct, if you personally go pick up the guitar in the US and bring it into Canada on your own it is the equivalent of it being your personal guitar and is then exempt from any permits as it is under the Cites rosewood weight restriction. You would have to declare the value of the guitar to the border guards though and they will take their Gov cut of Taxes though..

On the other hand, shipping a regular Rosewood (Non Braz) guitar from the US into Canada will require an Export Permit from the US, no permit needed from Canada, that's only needed for Braz Guitars.
 

yamariv

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If any Canadians need the direct line to the Cites Lady, PM me and I'll pass it on. She does permits once a week she says so there would be a pretty quick turn around.
 

yamariv

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Did you declare your purchase at the border ? With the conversion on our money to the greenback + taxes/duties i just look at guitars outside of Canada for laughs, and a few tears.
Not sure who you are asking but yes I have to look for a Junior outside of Canada and will be paying big dollars not to mention the huge pain of the Braz and Cities permits. Most US sellers won't bother doing the paperwork. I've lost one Junior on a private sale cause of Cites and just had another one lined up, after 2 days of emailing back and forth ironing out the details of the purchase.. Someone literally clicked the Reverb buy it now link as I sent the final email to confirm I'd buy the guitar!! Seriously..!? F@#$!! :(

So the search continues....
 

brokentoeswalker

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Sorry, yes my question about whether or not you had to pay more taxes declaring your purchase at the border when they asked "anything to declare" was for you OP. What province are you outta ??
 

grumphh

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Great info thanks. But Im still a little confused about how they tell....So customs officers are trained to not only spot rosewood, but also be able to tell braz from "other" by visual inspection?
No experience with border authorities, eh? :D

"If in doubt confiscate the potentially illegal item and send it off for further inspection."

Unless you live in a country where border officials accept bribes, no sorry, donations to the border guard retirement fund, you might have to pick up your guitar (after several weeks) from a lab in your nations capital.
 

rapaul76

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Yeah this was amazing info that I did not expect to hear from the Canadian Cites lady! Yes you are correct, if you personally go pick up the guitar in the US and bring it into Canada on your own it is the equivalent of it being your personal guitar and is then exempt from any permits as it is under the Cites rosewood weight restriction. You would have to declare the value of the guitar to the border guards though and they will take their Gov cut of Taxes though..

On the other hand, shipping a regular Rosewood (Non Braz) guitar from the US into Canada will require an Export Permit from the US, no permit needed from Canada, that's only needed for Braz Guitars.
Thanks! Need to get an Explorer now....Cheers!
 

yamariv

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Sorry, yes my question about whether or not you had to pay more taxes declaring your purchase at the border when they asked "anything to declare" was for you OP. What province are you outta ??
I haven't purchased my guitar yet but I'm in Ontario so it will be 13% Tax to declare my yet to be found Junior..Sigh..
 

Thumpalumpacus

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Thought y'all might find this interesting ... heard it on the radio this morning. Excerpts:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Dan Katz has two cellos. The better one — the one he prefers to play with the orchestra — is 200 years old and has rosewood tuning pegs. When the orchestra went on an 11-concert European tour in January, he purposefully left it home.

"I worry with that instrument about international travel now, because of those pegs," Katz said after rehearsing for a performance of Schubert's Ninth Symphony earlier this month.
One material responsible for that sound is rosewood.

"If you use rosewood on (a guitar's) backs and the sides, the backs and the sides are really a reflective surface," the company's CEO, C.F. Martin IV, said in an interview just off the factory floor. "The back and sides not only help to project it forward, they color it. And that color that rosewood provides is something that is very appealing."
Still, even John Scanlon, the Secretary General of the CITES convention, concedes the regulations may have gone too far.

"Basically, this all came out of a political compromise," he said.
Scanlon said some countries were reluctant to regulate raw timber only, and exempt finished consumer goods like musical instruments. That's because traffickers had used that as a loophole in the past by minimally processing raw materials and passing them off as finished products.

"I think in closing that loophole, it might have been closed a little bit too tight, so we might have gone from one side to the other, and we need to get the balance right."
 

2manyGuitars

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Thanks for this.
I was meaning to start a similar thread a while ago after buying a 2017 Gibson (so, regular rosewood) and bringing over myself. Here's some of the info I got and how I obtained it. This is a long read, but there's a lot of good info.

I'm in Canada and in August, I wanted to order a 2017 Pelham Blue SG Standard from Zzounds. Like a lot of us, I was worried about the new CITES regulations on rosewood. The fact that US retailers aren't allowed to ship Gibson guitars to Canada (because of an agreement between Gibson and the Canadian distributor) meant I already knew I would be driving down to pick it up. Luckily, I'm just over an hour drive from the Ogdensburg, New York border crossing and there's a UPS store a couple miles from the crossing that actively advertises it's services as a shipping location for Canadian customers who want items that can't be shipped over the border.

First, I wanted to know about the rules. There are 3 categories of protected species (only 1 and 2 apply to us);
Appendix I - Species threatened with extinction (Brazilian rosewood)
Appendix II - Species "not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival" (all other rosewoods)
Appendix III - Species that are "protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade"

I did some research before calling Environment Canada (the CITES authority in Canada). I went through the actual CITES treaty but the info I found is basically summed up in this document;

https://www.ec.gc.ca/CITES/9E21FDBF-3F22-4CAA-9417-C656C9DBEDAB/rosewoods-en.pdf

Feel free to read it, but here are the pertinent parts;
- Firstly, all species of Dalbergia that were not already listed in the CITES Appendices were added to CITES Appendix II; additionally, the CITES trade controls are now applied to all forms of rosewood, including finished products.

- DO THE INCREASED TRADE CONTROLS APPLY TO ALL SPECIMENS OF DALBERGIA?
No, certain types of rosewood specimens are outside the scope of CITES and, therefore, are not subject to CITES controls.
The CITES listing for the Dalbergia species in CITES Appendix II specifies types of specimens that are outside of the scope of CITES controls including:
a. Leaves, flowers, pollen, fruits and seeds; and
b. Non-commercial exports of a maximum total weight of 10kg per shipment.

- CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN THE 10KG RULE? DOES 10KG REFER TO THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE ITEM OR THE WEIGHT OF PORTION OF THE ITEM THAT IS MADE OF ROSEWOOD?
Paragraph (b) shown in the previous section indicates that specimens that weigh under 10kg (22 lbs) and are traded for non-commercial purposes are outside the scope of CITES controls. Specimen refers to the weight of the rosewood species in the item and not the overall weight of the item. For instance, in the case of a musical instrument transported for personal use, a 12 kg (26 lbs) instrument containing 5 kg (11lbs) of parts made from Dalbergia would be outside the scope of CITES controls.

Armed with this info, I called CITES Canada and they basically confirmed everything I highlighted and what Yamariv said in the original post. If I'm driving down and carrying it through Customs myself, an item transported for personal use is exempt under 10 kg. She said that because it's still relatively new, it wouldn't hurt to check with Customs since they're the ones actually handling the import.

I actually called the border crossing where I was planning to cross and spoke with one of the front-line border agents and she was more than happy to help out. She actually found the info quite interesting as it was pretty new to them. Bottom line was that the agents at the crossing have a computer system where they enter the category of item you are importing (musical instrument in this case). I can't remember the acronym she used to describe it but basically, once the code is entered, it tells them what laws and regulations apply to that particular item. She plugged in the code for my guitar (made in USA) and all it said was "sales tax". Nothing about CITES, period. She said that if the system said nothing, there's no reason they would even think to apply CITES. In fact, she said the only times they really look into it is if it's a particularly large piece or if it "appears unfinished (whole or in part)" meaning raw wood and especially if there's still bark on it. All they're concerned with is collecting the sales tax so "just have your receipt handy".

Not only did I drive it back without any problems, but because of shipping damage, I drove it back to the US 2 days later to ship it back to Zzounds and drove down the following week to get the replacement. When I crossed with the second one, I told the guy in the hut it was a replacement for one I imported a week earlier, showed him the paperwork which he simply handed back and said "have a nice day".

 

Pappy58

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No experience with border authorities, eh? :D

"If in doubt confiscate the potentially illegal item and send it off for further inspection."

Unless you live in a country where border officials accept bribes, no sorry, donations to the border guard retirement fund, you might have to pick up your guitar (after several weeks) from a lab in your nations capital.
I have a little experience with them crossing in and out of Canada, but not in recent years. When I did cross nobody would have cared about a guitar...they only cared to determine if we had any drugs. However based on several experienced replies here, carrying a Les Paul across the boarder as a personal item is not an
issue, even if it has a Braz board. :beer:
 

yamariv

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I have a little experience with them crossing in and out of Canada, but not in recent years. When I did cross nobody would have cared about a guitar...they only cared to determine if we had any drugs. However based on several experienced replies here, carrying a Les Paul across the boarder as a personal item is not an
issue, even if it has a Braz board. :beer:
Regular Rosewood yes, Braz board requires permits from both countries if importing it
 




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