CITES Legislation of Rosewood - What does it mean for me?
There has been a lot of discussion, that frequently descends into panic, about recent changes to CITES legislation regarding the trade and use of Rosewood and how it will affect the availability of musical instruments. This blog is designed to shed some light on this rather murky subject (...to the best of our ability anyway..!!) and hopefully settle some concerns.
New CITES legislation...? What does this mean?
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) recently declared all wood species of the genus dalbergia as endangered and therefore protected by an amendment to trade legislation – in much the same way that Brazilian Rosewood was a few years back. The main difference in this instance is that it covers all types of Rosewood, some Blackwoods and Bubinga.
So... No Rosewood on guitars anymore?
Rosewood will still be used on guitars, however the trade and movement of the restricted varieties will be closely monitored by CITES and permits will be required to both import the raw wood and the export outside of the EU of purchased instruments that contain restricted materials. This will predominantly affect manufacturers.
Yes, if, for instance, a visitor from the USA visits Northern Ireland and orders a guitar containing restricted woods that subsequently needs to be shipped across the Atlantic, then an export license will need to be purchased before it leaves and an import/inspection fee will need to be paid at customs on collection (this may be subject to change).
What does this mean for Musical Instrument Retailers?
In the short term, not much will change – it is expected, however, that there will be a price increase on affected models in line with the new import tax and increased cost of raw materials, it’s unclear how much at this time.
I want to take my instrument to do gigs outside the EU, will this be a problem?
No, this legislation is designed to regulate commercial import/export, not individual artists. As such, there has been a minimum weight levy of 10kg of affected material per individual set by CITES, virtually all instruments will fall well below this threshold. You’ll have to declare at customs, but will get through no problem.