The New Regulation on Rosewood and Bubinga

jerry47

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published Dec 11, 2016

A new regulation takes effect on January 2, 2017 that calls for documentation when shipping instruments internationally that contain any amount of any kind of rosewood or certain types of bubinga.

It does not apply to instruments shipped within the borders of your country or instruments carried for personal use while traveling internationally [unless they contain more than 22 lbs. (10 kg) of the regulated woods].

This is a developing story, with details emerging as government agencies figure out how to create processes around the new requirements. To what degree they are enforced remains to be seen.

Here’s what we know so far.

The New Regulation on Rosewood and Bubinga

The Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) held a conference from September 24 - October 4 this year in Johannesburg, South Africa where it was decided that all species of rosewood under the genus Dalbergia and three bubinga species (Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, and Guibourtia tessmannii) will be protected under CITES Appendix II.

Kosso - sometimes called African rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) - will also be protected.

While Brazilian Rosewood is currently under CITES protection (those laws will stay in place), this move places all the other nearly 300 species of rosewood under similar regulation.

This includes the East Indian rosewood and Honduran rosewood - as well as woods like cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa) and African blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon) - that are widely used in the manufacturing of stringed instruments, marimbas and some woodwinds.

What This Means

For manufacturers:

When importing any species of Dalbergia or the other woods mentioned, there must be an accompanying CITES certificate from the country it came from if it arrives after January 2, 2017.

Manufacturers who currently have stockpiles of the newly regulated wood must document their inventory and apply for pre-convention certificates.

For dealers and sellers:

When shipping musical instruments that include any amount (i.e. fingerboard, back, sides, binding) of Dalbergia or the other newly regulated woods out of your country as part of a commercial transaction, each one must be accompanied by a CITES re-export certificate.

Even if the instrument was made with Dalbergia or the other regulated woods that were acquired before January 2, 2017 - such as a used or vintage instrument - it still must be accompanied by a CITES certificate and marked pre-convention when shipping internationally.

For example, a seller in Nashville looking to ship her 2013 Martin 000-28 with East Indian rosewood back and sides to a buyer in Canada must apply for a re-export certificate, pay the application fee, receive the certificate, and include that document with the guitar when shipping.

For sellers in the United States, CITES re-export certificates must be applied for through the US Fish and Wildlife Service. You can download the application here.

Representatives of the agency have said that initial turnaround times on certificate application may be on the order of months.

For more information, you can contact their office at (703) 358-2104 or at [email protected]. You can read the official letter from US Fish and Wildlife here.

If you contact US Fish and Wildlife, please keep in mind that they did not suggest or create this regulation - the parties of the international CITES conference did. The employees of US Fish and Wildlife are trying to work with manufacturers and sellers to develop streamlined processes around this.

Each country has its own CITES Management Authority. If you live outside the United States, you can look up the CITES contact in your country here.
 

SteveGangi

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It sounds like all the best looking wood is now on the list. It means a LOT more paperwork for guitar makers.
 

EDS1275

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i've been noticing wood names never heard before over the past years. is this like the fisheries, where once they deplete one species, they go down the line to what previously was considered a garbage fish, then give it a new fancy boojy name, so people will then buy it?
 

THDNUT

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Carbon fibre guitars for everyone! YAY!
 

Pete M

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I'm pretty sure to most manufacturers this won't be much of a problem. I could see it killing the international used market though. Who's going to apply for all this paperwork to ship a guitar to say Japan, when you can sell it domestically and not have to do the hard work?
 

jerry47

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I'm pretty sure to most manufacturers this won't be much of a problem. I could see it killing the international used market though. Who's going to apply for all this paperwork to ship a guitar to say Japan, when you can sell it domestically and not have to do the hard work?

This is just what i'm worried about, I have a line on a few used guitars in Japan i was gonna put off till next year,Now i wondering if i should jump before the trouble Starts.
 

sk8rat

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It sounds like all the best looking wood is now on the list. It means a LOT more paperwork for guitar makers.

ironic. creating more need for paper while trying to save trees.

Even if the instrument was made with Dalbergia or the other regulated woods that were acquired before January 2, 2017 - such as a used or vintage instrument - it still must be accompanied by a CITES certificate and marked pre-convention when shipping internationally.

For example, a seller in Nashville looking to ship her 2013 Martin 000-28 with East Indian rosewood back and sides to a buyer in Canada must apply for a re-export certificate, pay the application fee, receive the certificate, and include that document with the guitar when shipping.

pay a fee... but I thought it was about the environment not about money.
 

Blues4U

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and the dirty little secret is guitar builders, bow makers, knife makers etc are not a danger to these trees. the biggest danger is farming, especially cattle farming where thousands of acres of pristine, rain forest are cleared for grazing lands for cattle---
 

sk8rat

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and the dirty little secret is guitar builders, bow makers, knife makers etc are not a danger to these trees. the biggest danger is farming, especially cattle farming where thousands of acres of pristine, rain forest are cleared for grazing lands for cattle---

culdesacs are the biggest issue here in washington. in my city alone they have taken out acres and acres of Forrest land just in the last year alone to build houses that arent even selling.
 

Bobby Mahogany

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All of a sudden our "used" guitars have kind of gone up in value.

Will I dare say it..?

RICHLITE!

There, I said it.

Or maybe we should learn to say "car-bon fi-ber".

IMG_1696.jpg
 

Roberteaux

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Glad I already own every guitar I'm ever likely to want. :D

Meanwhile, perhaps others might want to go with an aluminum neck and an Ebonal fretboard, as was used with the Musicraft Messenger guitars.

--R
 

Davio

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"Travis Bean, please report to the neck department".
 

geochem1st

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I have a Martin road series dread that is made up of all sapele, including the top. Very much like mahog in sound, and its a sustainable wood. I played a Martin OM from their sustainable series made of cherry, again a sustainable wood... sounded excellent, although the price on that was astronomical.
 

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