Podcast 127: CITES Rosewood Updates with John Thomas

Law professor, author and Fretboard Journal Field Editor John Thomas joins us once again to discuss some recent updates to CITES and the impact they will have on musicians, instrument collectors and builders. Specifically, beginning January 2017, all remaining species of rosewood (beyond Brazilian, which was already protected) will be added to CITES Appendix II. This may not affect you at all if you keep your guitars in United States but if you ever plan on taking an instrument with rosewood across the border (or selling one to someone outside the country), you may have some work to do.

We discuss the various steps that collectors, luthiers and dealers should take if they want to transport guitars with rosewood internationally; how builders can protect their wood stockpile; the expenses and timing needed to file all this paperwork; and a lot more. Intro/Outro music by Jon Rauhouse.

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December 11, 2016 Update 
Upon hearing this podcast, luthier Jason Kostal posed the following questions for John Thomas. We’ve included both the questions and Thomas’ answers in case they’re helpful for you…  

Kostal: The first question is regarding passports for traveling musicians. Many of my clients that are traveling musicians are on the road constantly and cannot wait 45-90 days for a passport to be issued. Since many travel with multiple guitars, only the first one is technically exempt as personal effects. Is it possible to fill out a permit on their behalf so, i.e. I submit a permit when the guitar is “built” but in the white and heading to finish, with photographs and description, so that when the guitar is delivered, I can also deliver a passport to them as well. I guess the main question is can I submit a passport request on behalf of another person to expedite the process?
Thomas’ reply:

Yes, you can apply for your client. The form’s instructions provide: “If you are applying on behalf of a client, the personal information must pertain to the client, and a document evidencing power of attorney must be included with the application.” So, you’d need to use a simple power of attorney form, easily found on the web, and include a signed copy with the application.
Kostal: I’ve heard from a fellow luthier that the three major carriers… FedEx, UPS and DHL, will NOT ship any product that requires more than just a standard customs form. If we are not dealing with FWS permits and master file verification, etc, are we going to run into shipping issues with all rosewood guitars that now require additional documentation outside of a standard customs form?
Thomas’ reply:

I use FedEx for my guitar shipments and it has express instructions re: CITES forms here.  The UPS website contains similar info here.

LEAVE A COMMENT

  • JRW

    I have a vacation in the UK booked for next week and am hoping to travel with my Indian rosewood guitar using the personal effects exemption However I’ve spent an hour and a half on the CITES website but cannot find any pertinent info regarding personal effects exemption for the UK… any help would be appreciated!