A new CITES regulation taking effect on January 2, 2017 will control the sale of any guitar which contains rosewood.
From January 2, 2017, trade of any instrument containing any amount of Rosewood (including East Indian rosewood, Honduran rosewood and Kosso – known as African Rosewood) besides cocobolo and African blackwood. In total, 300 different species of rosewood will now be protected, under the new trade restrictions.
WHAT IS CITES?
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
A CITES summit took place last September, in Johannesburg, South Africa, when Governments decided to crackdown on illegal trading of Rosewood.
WHY RESTRICT THE TRADE OF ALL TYPES OF ROSEWOOD?
The trade of rosewood timber is worth billions of Dollars, and has been responsible for the destruction of forests worldwide – mostly to supply for the luxury furniture market in China. Rosewood is the world’s most trafficked wild product, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime The new CITES trade regulation is a Worldwide agreement to help solving this problem – and the sale of guitars will also be affected as a result, even though it’s not the main reason why the regulation is being put into place.
HOW WILL THE NEW CITES REGULATION AFFECT THE GUITAR TRADE?
Dealers and sellers shipping instruments internationally which feature rosewood will have to comply to the new rules, which means they’ll need to obtain a permit from the appropriate government regulatory agency in their country (in the United States, for instance, it’s the Fish and Wildlife Service) if they wish to export one or more instruments outside of the country. Domestic shipments will not require a permit.
This new regulation might mean longer delays when shipping abroad, as the seller will need to apply for certificates. It might also increase the prices of guitars which use rosewood, to make up for the extra cost. Shipping permits will cost $100, but frequent international shippers can obtain a three-year master file permit for $200 and individual shipment permits (valid for six months) at $5 each.
WHAT ABOUT GUITARS MADE BEFORE JANUARY 2ND, 2017?
Guitars that feature rosewood and which were made before January 2nd, 2017, will still need a CITES certificate, and be marked as “preconvention” if shipped internationally. Even if the seller is shipping a vintage guitar made in 1964, for instance, it’ll still need a certificate.
WHAT IF I SELL MY GUITAR ON EBAY, REVERB ETC.?
If you’re shipping abroad, you’ll have to apply for the CITES certificate and include with your guitar. The enforcement of this regulation is up to the authorities of each destination country which will be receiving the guitar, so it may vary!
WHAT IF I’M TRAVELLING ABROAD WITH MY GUITAR?Individuals travelling abroad with musical instruments which use rosewood are not affected by the new ruling, unless it contains more than 10kg of the regulated wood.
IS THIS THE END OF ROSEWOOD FRETBOARDS?
No. Manufacturers will still be using Rosewood, it just means the trade will be better regulated to make sure there are no abuses. The new restrictions mean criminals are no longer able to pass illegally logged rosewood as legal – but some rosewood species can still be logged, if done in a sustainable way, and with a CITES certificate. But it could also mean that other types of wood will become more popular, to avoid bureaucracy. As we said before, it was the illegal trade of rosewood to make luxury furniture which has sparked CITES to take action. Most manufacturers of musical instruments already comply with existing regulations and only use legally-sourced materials.