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Posted by Nick Colesanti

Members of the US Fish & Wildlife Service visited Martin Guitar last week to help assess the impact and compliance requirements of recent CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora)  on our business and the music industry in general. The largest changes result from the listings of Rosewood and Bubinga species on CITES Appendix II, which take effect on January 2, 2017.  Although the USFWS is still determining exactly how the changes will be implemented, there are some things we do know.

All imports and exports containing any wood from the listed species, from raw materials through finished goods (guitars), will require a CITES permit of some sort. There are some minor exceptions for non-commercial transports, one lesser-used rosewood species (cochinchinesis) and shipments with both woods and goods originating in Mexico.


Manufacturers will need to invest time and money to establish CITES Master Files/Clones, Single-use permits and augmented inventory reporting to comply with import and export regulations. Effectively every instrument shipped internationally will incur an additional expense.

Retailers looking to ship product internationally will have to become familiar with the new regulations and to determine whether or not it is worth their time and effort to ship instruments containing these woods.

Ultimately this may move the needle on the types and volumes of woods used on musical instruments as well as consumers’ perceptions and buying habits. 

These recent changes caught most of the Music Industry, and some of the CITES Authorities, unaware. As a result, folks on all sides are scrambling to comply. This points to the need for more direct monitoring of, and interaction with, the parties involved in the CITES species proposal and listing processes at all levels. 

The good news is that the USFWS seems eager to work with companies to implement in a manner that works for all sides while still complying with the spirit of the regulations. Martin Guitar is thankful for this considered approach.

Topics: News

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