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CITES and personal international sales.

Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
edited October 2018 in FAQ Posts: 575
Has anyone had any experience of selling guitars across international borders since the current CITES rules tightened up last year, (particularly on guitars containing rosewood). I know within Europe crossing borders does not count but I am in Australia and a couple of guitars I have decided to list on ebay - a Di Mauro Modèle Django and a 1969 Jacques Favino Model 5A classical, both at bargain prices too - would most likely sell to Europe or USA as there is little interest here in Australia even at half the price they would sell for in Europe.
Both guitars appear to have rosewood fingerboards and bridges only.
Obviously these can easily be proved to be vintage but do not have the relevant CITES certificates.
I read somewhere that individuals can apply for such certificates but at great expense and even then it can take a long time to process.
I know there was also discussion when these rules came into force to allow a simpler procedure for such private sales but I can so far find no record of any amendments.
So, I wondered if anyone has any more up to date knowledge of what can or can't be done?

Comments

  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 134
    A personal single use permit for each transaction must be obtained to export. If sending to the European Union the recipient must also obtain an import permit from his/her local CITES authorities. The instrument usually has to be inspected in person by a government official - here in the USA its the USDA's Plant Inspection office (APHIS).

    I send many of the blackwood Irish flutes I make internationally. I have a master permit that covers this but each shipment also has to have its own single use permit. I pay $5 each and they expire after 6 months. Unfortunately the office that issues these is understaffed and overwhelmed and so it took over two months.

    You might want to postpone your sales until next year. According to my local CITES inspector, the European Union is considering a proposal to exempt Musical Instruments from the CITES rules at their meeting next year. This would only be for CITES II listings - Brazilian Rosewood remains under the tighter CITES I listing I believe. Of course, the meeting could go the other way and restrictions could be expanded. But the rumor is a hopeful sign!
  • Andrew UlleAndrew Ulle Cleveland, OH✭✭✭ Antoine DiMauro modele Django
    edited October 2018 Posts: 502
    This is a perfect example of big government getting involved in things that makes life difficult for regular people trying to live their lives. I can understand regulating the use of endangered species materials in mass-manufacturing, but when it's an individual selling a used musical instrument which will have absolutely no effect on the restricted materials, that just makes no sense. These types of regulations favor large corporations who can afford the lawyers to cross the t's and dot the i's, while placing impossible hurdles in front of individuals and small businesses. The federal government in the US and the EU need to get their priorities straight.
  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 134
    Actually Andrew, the purpose of listing Rosewoods under CITES II (via International Treaty) is to curb the illegal harvesting and sale of the resource, so that it can be managed sustainably. As a user of African Blackwood and occasionally other Rosewoods, I fully support this. Ir would make it difficult to "live my life" if a resource that I depend upon was suddenly harvested to commercial or actual extinction. Actually this happened with Mopane, another wood that I use for woodwinds. The Chinese came and took most of what was easy to harvest and the countries exporting it severely restricted what remained in terms of harvesting.
    adrian
  • Andrew UlleAndrew Ulle Cleveland, OH✭✭✭ Antoine DiMauro modele Django
    Posts: 502
    I agree if it's involving big corporations who are consuming mass quantities of rosewood/ etc. I understand the idea of sustainability. But you or I selling a used guitar has zero effect on the harvesting of endangered woods, ivory, and so on. If the materials are/were controlled at the growing & harvesting (wholesale) stage, that should be the end of it. There is no need for another layer of bureaucracy to infringe on our intrinsic right to enter into a freely & mutually agreed upon sale.
  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 134
    For the time being, I recommend playing by the rules, or the consequences can be severe. I heard of one California guitar maker who is a bit of a Tea Partier who wasn't going to let the Government tell him what to do. So he sent a $12,000 guitar to a client in Germany without any permits. There were only a few Rosewood trimmings. The entire guitar was confiscated en route and the last I heard the maker and the client were arguing over who should suffer the loss (clearly the maker is at fault for not doing his due diligence).

    As for who harvests these woods - much of it is harvested illegally by nefarious groups to fund drug cartels, terrorists etc. Or so I have read. And then there are the Chinese who harvest everything like a vacuum. I'd just as soon see that curtailed, or at least monitored. They may have gone a bit too far with musical instruments which is why they are considering a proposal at next year's meeting in May to exempt musical instruments.

    The used market has an impact for sure. Ivory is a well documented example of that especially since it is hard to tell if the ivory is fresh or old. It can be antiqued. Same with musical instruments. Note that the sale is allowed - one just has to record it with the required paperwork and permits. Same with buying and registering a car. You can't just buy it and drive it off the lot without the required license, registration and insurance. Nobody is infringing on your right to drive.
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
    Posts: 575
    None of which answers my question.
  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 134
    Here is the answer: You need to contact your local CITES authorities and apply for individual export permits for each instrument - even if its pre-Convention (sourced and made before Jan 1, 2017). If the instrument is shipped to anywhere in North America there are no additional permits required. If you are shipping it to someone in the UK including Great Britain the recipient will have to also get an import permit. Unfortunately there is no simpler procedure or exemption for musical instruments at this time, also one may get proposed and ratified at the next CITES meeting in May.
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
    Posts: 575
    cbwim wrote: »
    Here is the answer: You need to contact your local CITES authorities and apply for individual export permits for each instrument - even if its pre-Convention (sourced and made before Jan 1, 2017). If the instrument is shipped to anywhere in North America there are no additional permits required. If you are shipping it to someone in the UK including Great Britain the recipient will have to also get an import permit. Unfortunately there is no simpler procedure or exemption for musical instruments at this time, also one may get proposed and ratified at the next CITES meeting in May.

    Thanks. I have found a link to my local (Australian) department.
    They state the certificate will cost AU$68 and the application process can take up to 40 days, but they need the recipient's name and address on the application so it seems I can not even apply for a certificate until it is sold. Then there could be a 40 day delay as well as another 10 days for shipping so a potential buyer will have to be patient with a wait up to 50 days.
    Crazy huh?
    From what I have read elsewhere it is too risky to try to ship a guitar, even if it is obviously over 50 years old, without the correct papers.
    Looks like I will probably be keeping them both!

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