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Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-10-2011, 11:52 AM
Peter Coombe over on the ANZLF has a interesting post that offers some hope if any one will listen.

http://www.anzlf.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3730&sid=89a2a44117e827204c3b9a24651d6c19

southcoastukes
10-10-2011, 02:41 PM
I don't like it! The 10% rule would favor high labor rates and cheap woods. In most of the world, 10% won't work for anything but their example of particleboard componenets in an otherwise metal or plastic keyboard instrument.

I suppose it's fine for those folks to be able to get out of some of the permit process, but it will do nothing for the makers of guitars or ukuleles. Even worse, it may convince APHIS that it has satisfied the musical instrument folks.

Makes me wonder a bit about who NAMM is really representing.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-10-2011, 03:19 PM
I guess it depends upon where your interests lies. I see it as a concession to the small artisan builder.

southcoastukes
10-10-2011, 04:00 PM
I guess it depends upon where your interests lies. I see it as a concession to the small artisan builder.

Well, maybe I didn't catch something. One letter dealt with things like pre-convention materials and trade show exemptions, but the other, the one I thought I undestood, seemed to be advocating a simplified declaration process if the total of all plant material of an instrument's declared value was less than 10%.

It's just hard for me to imagine, for instance, that in the case of a ukulele, where ouside of tuners, almost everything is plant or animal material, that the material would be less than 10%.

A $1000 instrument, for example, has less than $100 of wood? A $500 instrument with less than $50? I don't really know how many people would be able to take of advantage of that. Would just seem to me that you would need to be building something with a lot of labor (hand carved headstock? - intricate inlays?), and be using very basic locally obtained wood for that to help.

Then you have the new law dictating design.

Right now declarations are based on weight. It seems better help for the small builders might be an exemption on under 5 lbs (let's not forget the guitar people).

Pete Howlett
10-10-2011, 04:11 PM
It's already complicated enough isn't it?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-10-2011, 04:14 PM
You've missed the point Pete. The idea is to give us a set of regulations that are reasonable to comply with and make things easier and less complicated for everyone. I'm not saying by any means that this is the answer but I'm heartened by the discussion that seems to be happening. The key word in the subject of the thread is "hope".

thistle3585
10-10-2011, 06:30 PM
As I understand it, as the law is now written, if your instrument is valued at over $2500 then you have to declare it. They're proposing that you would only declare it if the value of the material used is over $2500 which would mean any instrument over $25,000 in value. They want to use the 10% of its value to represent the amount of specific plant material and not the actual value.

By the way, NAMM's interests lay with their membership which consists mainly of manufacturers and not musicians.

Liam Ryan
10-10-2011, 08:35 PM
Andrew, have you got links to information regarding the less than $2500 cut off? My ukes don't go over that value and it would be nice if I could avoid some of the paperwork.

thistle3585
10-11-2011, 03:49 AM
Liam,
It's the "informal entry" limit from PPQ Form 505. If you look at http://www.namm.org/files/NAMM%20Comments%20Lacey%20Act%20Implementation%20% 28April%202011%29.pdf Section B Post-Trade Show Imports.

My statement above is more of a question as "is this how everyone else understands it?" I don't know that they are pushing this for anything more than trade show instruments, so I don't know if it would apply to a builder importing to the US as a sale and I really doubt it will apply to a musician however there are options already in place for musicians that are performing using PPQ Form 505.

Dan Uke
10-11-2011, 07:58 AM
I am not part of Namm but it sounds like $2,500 is the value of the instrument and not the price of just the wood.

southcoastukes
10-11-2011, 09:29 AM
In looking more carefully at NAMM's proposals, I start to wonder whether they are just naive, or if this is a publicity stunt to try to convince people they are doing something.

The main reason is their call for APHIS to establish a de minimus exception from declaration requirements. That's asking a federal agency to unilaterally amend a congressional statute. This is from APHIS Q&A on declarations:


9. Is there a de minimis exception?
The statute does not provide for any de minimis exceptions, either to the substantive prohibitions or to the declaration requirement....

That's the point. There are no exceptions to the law as Congress has written it. The APHIS quote goes on to say that there can be mitigating circumstances when the penalties/fines and or jail time is determined, but they don't have the power to change a law of Congress.

What they can do, are doing, and are inviting comment on, is decide how that law will be enforced. At present, they say they are not enforcing the requirements on informal entries. This probably means everyone in small business or in individual transactions have no need to worry. Much.

There aren't any clear definitions I can find about what constitutes an informal entry. NAMM says less than $2500 - the Luthier's Guild feels it means less than 8 identical items. Apparently they don't agree, and I've never found references to either standard.

The more important point, however, is that even if these vaguely defined "informal entries" are not being held to the letter of the law today, it doesn't mean that can't change tomorrow. Point #9 goes on to make it very clear that knowing violations are the ones subject to the most severe penalties.

So are you going to say "I knowingly imported plant material without a declaration, but I didn't think you were currently enforcing that law?"

thistle3585
10-11-2011, 01:29 PM
Here is a definition of an entry from the FAQ page.

At present, we will be enforcing the declaration requirement for formal entries (i.e., most commercial shipments). At this time, we are not enforcing the declaration requirement for informal entries (i.e., most personal shipments), personal importations, or mail, transportation and exportation entries, in-transit movements, carnet importations (i.e., merchandise or equipment that will be re-exported within a year), and foreign trade zone and warehouse entries. As with the different product types, we would issue a Federal Register notice before initiating any enforcement regarding such imports.

southcoastukes
10-11-2011, 03:44 PM
Here is a definition of an entry from the FAQ page.

At present, we will be enforcing the declaration requirement for formal entries (i.e., most commercial shipments). At this time, we are not enforcing the declaration requirement for informal entries (i.e., most personal shipments), personal importations, or mail, transportation and exportation entries, in-transit movements, carnet importations (i.e., merchandise or equipment that will be re-exported within a year), and foreign trade zone and warehouse entries. As with the different product types, we would issue a Federal Register notice before initiating any enforcement regarding such imports.

Exactly. Well said (or quoted).

The key words are at the beginning: At present! If you want to become a regular reader of the Federal Register, and you can meet those criteria, you can operate without paperwork.

When you really read that statement, however, it's defining current enforcement policy as much as types of entry. Notice there is no clarification for small builders on NAMM's $2500 limit or LGA's "less than 8". And so, if you don't want the Federal Register to become part of your routine reading, then you avoid all restricted materials (legally skipping the permit process) and do the declaration.

dave g
10-26-2011, 09:13 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/opinion/are-guitar-makers-an-endangered-species.html

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-26-2011, 09:55 AM
This is the first article I've seen that addresses the concern of the small artisan builder. Exposure is good.

PelicanUkuleles
10-27-2011, 08:32 AM
This is what bothers me the most.
"While manufacturers have increasingly turned to sustainable alternatives to guitar makers’ traditional tonewoods, this option is largely unavailable to artisans who build a small number of instruments each year. Their inability to document the source and age of their materials exposes them to bankrupting fines and confiscations".

southcoastukes
10-27-2011, 02:32 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/opinion/are-guitar-makers-an-endangered-species.html

Great find, Dave!

I guess college journalism pays off in the end. That NY times guy did a much better job of summing up the situation for small luthiers than all my endless blathering.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-27-2011, 03:52 PM
Blather on Dirk! The more talk on this subject the better.

Pete Howlett
10-27-2011, 09:18 PM
This is a great article - I remember when Tony Revell and I made an elctro acoustic mandolin, whammy bar included with the Aston Villa colours sunburst (well know British soccer club) for the world famous Nigel Kennedy. Best reportage was in The Star - a red-top, trashy tabloid newspaper. The concise and incredibly well written article was next to a picture of a naked lady. His magaer went balisitc and we nearly lost the commission. And all of this generated from a brief 10 second news clip on a Welsh radio station. There are some great journalists out there who know how to get right to the point - just like some luthiers I have the priviledge to know :)