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birdergirl
10-07-2011, 01:57 PM
I am no luthier. I'm throwing this out so anyone in that community knows what your wood suppliers must do regarding imported hardwoods. My job is importing furniture, and I subscribe to certain publications to help me stay up to date on regs.

Panama and Madagascar have asked for regulation certain species of ebony and rosewood. Here is an article on the addition to the CITES treaty: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39873&Cr=endangered+species&Cr1=

This does not mean these woods are not available. They must be imported from countries where they are not endangered, and each shipment must be accompanied by documentation of the country of harvest for the wood.

This is nothing new in the US. Certification of origin is required for imports of many plant-based products since last year. It's the same law that says you can't import elephant ivory. The Lacey Act was expanded to cover endangered plants.

I know the topic has made news lately and would like everyone to understand exactly what the regulations are about. It's good practice to make sure your wood suppliers are complying with all regulations. I know this stuff isn't cheap, and you definitely want to make sure your wood's coming from a legal source.

southcoastukes
10-10-2011, 11:27 AM
...My job is importing furniture, and I subscribe to certain publications to help me stay up to date on regs.

Panama and Madagascar have asked for regulation certain species of ebony and rosewood. Here is an article on the addition to the CITES treaty: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39873&Cr=endangered+species&Cr1=

This does not mean these woods are not available. They must be imported from countries where they are not endangered, and each shipment must be accompanied by documentation of the country of harvest for the wood.

Thanks for the update. I used to design and build furniture that went from Central America to the U.S. Now am doing the same with musical instruments. Can you tell me what publications you're subcribing to? I need to stay up to date on it myself.

Unfortunately for us, once something goes into any CITES listing (I, II or III), we can no longer use it. We have already stopped with Cocobolo, which is already in III from Guatemala. It's not listed where we build, but listings in other countries mean that an export permit is required for the U.S.

Since most countries of origin don't even bother with these unless it is a sizeable "formal entry" shipment, it means that even if you wanted to wait 90 days and pay the fees on each end for your permits, as a practical matter, you just can't get the permits on origin at all! That means you can't comply with Lacey on the U.S. side.

We're in the process of reformulating to woods so plentiful that hopefully no tropical country anywhere in the world will ever ask them to be regulated. Thankfully, the tropical regions are so full of wonderful material, that it turns out our problem will be more of narrowing down the candidates rather than a lack of comparable quality wood.

Just the same, if a wood is plentiful in one place, and endangered in another, it's inclusion by just one country, even in III, will mean that small imports of that material from any country in the world to the U.S. will cease. Only big boys allowed.

birdergirl
10-15-2011, 08:23 AM
Dirk,
Honestly I have found the best way to stay up to date on niche topics like this is to set up alerts for Google News with the appropriate keywords.

Pete Howlett
10-15-2011, 10:00 AM
There is plenty of legal wood out there. It comes from India and Africa with Sonokeling rosewood (plantation variety) coming from Indonesia. The latest problem with LMI was clerical - a mistake which the law enforcement dpts capitalised on.