Cites regulations

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Husky, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    I wish this were a sticky.
    What are you other builders doing about complying with cites regulations and the heavy potential fines associated with it? No Abalone, Shell, Ivory, Mahogany, Brazilian etc. From what I see is in order to use 1 abalone face dot it will cost me $190. There are permits associated with export now. My European and Japanese dealers are freaking.
    This is even affecting the transportation of your instruments, take it to Canada and you might not be able to bring that old Martin back !
    Even if you use an old piece of Tusk from a knife handle to make a nut , if you reshaped it last month they consider the born date last month no matter how old the knife was.
     
  2. 2leod

    2leod Re-Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I heard about this a couple of months ago from Eric DeVine, the guy in my sig. My incomplete impression is that the regulation applies at a country's border - I wonder if that means that anytime an instrument crosses a border the owner will have to cough up the money? I imagine it's going to be a hot topic at the GAL convention the end of next month.
     
  3. Chris Scott

    Chris Scott Silver Supporting Member

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    Man, that seems pretty freaky if it's so. Not being able to use older material seems too weird to me
     
  4. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    There's absolutely no common sense in any bureaucracy anymore. It's stunningly stupid, as are the people making the rules.
     
  5. 2leod

    2leod Re-Member Gold Supporting Member

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    John, is there a link to the new regulations in question? I've been searching their site and haven't been able to locate it.
     
  6. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    They're just trying to keep from wiping some of these species out completely. Because once they're gone they're gone forever.
     
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  7. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    Well I agree about the species but the problem is there are certain licenses guys can get for research and then do what they want with the shell anyway. Kind of like Save the whales but they kill the whales for "research" There are too many loopholes. Anyone watch "The Cove" ?
    I'm sure you guys have heard about Gibson getting popped. Also there will soon be issues with many woods. The CITES regulations are so thick you have to read between the lines for days but here is some google found stuff. I'm still researching but so far it looks like I need $190 worth of permits for anything with a substance where I have to prove it was either obtained legally or is exempt. This will drive up the price of options such as pearl/abalone dots. If you dont have this permit then they can seize the instrument even if you are transporting it personally.
    http://www.acousticmusic.org/CITES-and-ESA-sp-78.html
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  8. Rob Sharer

    Rob Sharer Muso-Luthier

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    Man, maple and birch are looking better and better all the time.



    Rob
     
  9. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    I never said it was
    I meant was that tit is hard to sift through all the regulations and see how it applies to your situation. My post was to ask other BUILDERS how they are dealing with this since I don't believe a customer who asks for Abalone dots will be prepared to pay the extra permit fees added to the cost of their guitar. Most other builders who are aware of this issue are discontinuing all shells, Pearls, natural inlays and Brazilian.

    Sky is not falling but it is changing if you are in to inlay work.
     
  10. RandK

    RandK Silver Supporting Member

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    The guys at ASIArtisans.org held a session at their recent symposium on cities/lacey with reps from the 3 agencies and are planning a special issue and video. Making sense of the paperwork requirements was one of their objectives (I did not attend). Chuck Erikson (duke) was a participant so he might be a good source of info regarding inlay until they get it out.
     
  11. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    I understand that...but changing the "birth date" to fit that agenda? Sorry but that's just dumb.

    I live in Canada. Suppose I own a 1942 Martin D-28 that's unchanged since it was built and I want to take it to the US and back. They want to restrict the movement of my guitar?? Really??
     
  12. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    You came at me belittling my posts, I'm only trying to have an open dialog with people who know more about the regulations than I do, and am not chicken little here.
    Have a beer and relax.
    My post was to open an honest discussion of what people know about this including real world concerns and as I did mention builders since it will affect them the most, not trying to send people in to a panic for no reason. :cool:
    CITES isnt open until Tuesday and I have dealers panicking about their shipments.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  13. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes we have talked to Chuck and we do purchase a lot of product from him. He basically said you need to file the paperwork. $190 to have any of the materials that could be mistaken as protected included on the instrument, even for a logo or 1 dot. Needless to say this gets messy when pricing a new instrument. I did chat with CA Fish and Game and as long as I'm not farming the materials they have no problem. Exporting or traveling across borders is an entirely different story and that is when you need the permits it appears. I will have to wait until Tuesday when I can talk to the people at CITES it seems.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  14. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    Seems to me the risky substances are white abalone and Brazilian Rosewood.

    Was white abalone used much, or was it other species? What did Guild use up until white abalone was declared endangered?

    What's also scary is this. Emphasis mine:
    USFWS border agents have an identification guide / manual. The first photo on their Timber Import / Export Requirements fact sheet is a shot of the back of a Brazilian rosewood guitar. The same photo appears on the cover for Antiques fact sheets. They are trained to look for suspicious materials and to confiscate the instruments.


    I wouldn't want a guitar confiscated based on a border agent's "skill" at identifying wood. I'd be willing to bet they would routinely mistake Brazilian rosewood for something else and vice versa if all they have to go by is a photo of one guitar.


    Edit: I don't know if this is the manual used by agents, but might be of interest anyway:
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/cites.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  15. memiller

    memiller Member

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    Yes, yes they do. If you'd think about it for a few seconds rather than knee-jerking it would make perfect sense. There is absolutely no way to tell if you are continually running one piece of ivory back and forth across the border or if you're bringing multiple identical pieces across one at a time. You could theoretically be slapping a new tortoise shell pickguard on that Martin every trip across and they won't know it. Maybe you're trafficking. Maybe not. They don't know. It's the same reason reworked items need five million pieces of paper attached to them to prove their legality, as Suhr as noted.

    Personally I don't see the problem with the CITES laws. It's far too easy to just not use the materials in question. Find an alternative rather than wringing hands. That's the whole idea behind CITES anyway. Force people to find an alternative while the protected resources naturally recover. THAT is something I can get behind.

    Anything that forces luthiers to think outside the box is fine with me though.
     
  16. pheumiller

    pheumiller Member

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    Hi All, Paul here from Dream Guitars. I'm a board member of ASIA and I just wanted to add that they are going to put out a special issue with transcription of the discussion from the recent Symposium an possibly a DvD of it. The speakers included all the agencies involved and there was hood Q&A as well. Look for that soon.

    Also I know NAMM is working with the agencies to try to simplify things but my take is it will be very confusing for a while. Also I can report that they said repeatedly that stopping individuals carrying guitars was not the idea. Hopefully there will be more clarity soon.

    Paul Heumiller
    www.dreamguitars.com
     
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  17. SamBooka

    SamBooka Member

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    I almost bought an ES150 with brazilian rosewood fb and bridge :(
     
  18. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    Did something recently change? I didn't think that most abalone, mother of pearl, or honduran mahogany were affected once the instrument is completed. I thought there were export controls on the mahogany but that it's not particularly restricted.

    I know the Brazilian Rosewood has and will always be a problem, and my simple solution for that is to simply not use it. I would hate to lose honduran mahogany, though. It's my favorite neck wood by far.

    You know, the stupidity to all this IMHO is that removing all business incentive to keep a species around removes ALL incentive to keep it around. Who in their right mind would want useless trees hanging around? Honduran mahogany is currently being plantation grown in Fiji precisely because there's business incentive to do so. I suspect that much of the very pale Honduran that's been showing up is the plantation grown stuff from Fiji (it's showing up in my area, anyhow), and it seems fine.

    Good topic, John.
     
  19. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Keep us posted on what you hear from CITES. The biggest problems I've heard seem to be not with improper licensing of restricted materials, but misdiagnosis of non-restricted materials as being restricted ones by inspectors at borders.

    The pearl and abalone for example, it was my understanding that there were only one or two very specific species of abalone that are endangered or restricted in any way under CITES or Lacey. Unfortunately, once cut in to a piece of inlay it can be hard to tell a difference between this rare and endangered shell vs dozens of common and abundant shell types, even scrap oyster shells from the dumpster at the local seafood bar. To the best of my knowledge, several seizures I've heard about have been a result of misdiagnosis of some common white shell as possibly being South African white pearl.

    Kind of scary, given that even if nothing on the instrument is restricted by any country or agency it can still so easily be seized by misdiagnosis. Of course proof of innocence lies entirely with the owner, and I've heard getting an instrument back can be an incredibly long and expensive process. I'm waiting to hear about someone running in to a border agent who can't tell the difference between mahogany vs walnut or cherry, or cow bone vs ivory.

    So I guess what I'm really most interested in hearing is whether any materials you are shipping are actually restricted, or are simply materials with potential concern of misdiagnosis, and if so, how far is a shipper or owner supposed to go in protecting and certifying non-restricted materials over fear of this?
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  20. WahmBoomAh

    WahmBoomAh World Crass Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    bizarre .. my favorite guitar (among others ) has a BRW board ...heck ..almost ALL guitars until the late 60`s have BRW boards .I travel alot (USA, SA, EU) ...Somewhere, someday, someone is going to go to to great lengths to avoid confiscation of their instrument . I hope it`s not me. Signed on for updates .
     
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