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The following has been gathered from various CITES sources and provided here for general information only.
Contact your local CITES office in your country for legal advice.

The Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) had a conference September 24 - October 4 in 2016.

It was decided that ALL species of Rosewood under the genus Dalbergia and three Bubinga species (Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, and Guibourtia tessmannii) will be protected under CITES Appendix II. Kosso, which is sometimes called African Rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus), Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa) and African blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon) will also be protected.

This new CITES regulation requires documentation when shipping instruments internationally that contain any amount of any kind of Cocobolo, Rosewood or the specified types of Bubinga. It does not apply to instruments shipped within the borders of your home country

Each country must set their own CITES laws and regulations.


For Canadians - From CITES Canada

Note to All Exporters and Importers: All required CITES permits or certificates MUST be obtained prior to exporting and importing the CITES-listed specimens.

CITES permits or certificates will NOT be issued retroactively. As well, a CITES permit or certificate will not be issued to release CITES-listed specimens which have been detained by customs due to lack of required CITES documents.


Here's the plain talk about this; you need a CITES certificate for any instrument that is sold privately or commercially to be shipped or personally transported to any location outside of Canada, or coming into Canada. This the same for most countries.

Canadian CITES says no permit is required to travel with a exotic wood instrument in or out of Canada. However, you must check with the CITES office of the country that you are going to with your instrument.

A CITES instrument passport issued in one country may not be accepted by the CITES department of the country you are travelling to.


From CITES US - Info Below Should Be Used As A Guideline.
Always contact your local CITES office, the CITES office of country applicable, for legal advice.


Does my instrument need a permit when I travel with it? It does not have CITES listed wildlife components (i.e., elephant ivory, python skin), but it does have Appendix-II rosewood.

This question relates to paragraph B of the new annotation for Dalbergia spp. and bubinga. Generally what this paragraph means is that if a specimen of the newly listed Appendix-II Dalbergia or bubinga is less than 10 kg and is traded for non-commercial purposes, it will not require a permit. The 10 kg threshold refers to the weight of the protected species within that instrument, not the instrument itself.


Can I sell my instrument in another country when I’m traveling with a musical instrument certificate?

No. Musical Instrument Certificates are intended for multiple border crossings for non-commercial purposes (i.e., the instruments are not being offered for sale or being sold while outside the United States), and the instrument must return to the country where the certificate was issued.


I want to sell an instrument to someone in another country. How do I do that?

Before you export for sale an instrument made from protected wood or wildlife, you need to apply for and acquire a permit. Be prepared to respond to all application questions and provide the following information and documentation with the application:

● Scientific name (genus, and species) and common name

● Description of item (e.g., Rosewood guitar)

● Date of manufacture

● Evidence of lawful acquisition, including Date of acquisition and corresponding documentation or other information on how the instrument was acquired (e.g., bill of sale, notarized statement)

● Evidence of lawful import if relevant (CITES permit, U.S. Customs import declaration)

● The current location of the musical instrument(s) including address and country

● The country of origin for the wood Shipments containing CITES-listed species must be declared, inspected and documents cleared (FWS) / validated (USDA) by the following:

● Wildlife - FWS: contact the Wildlife Inspector at the appropriate designated port (see https://www.fws.gov/le/designated-ports.html) to make an appointment for clearance of your shipment. Please review the Office of Law Enforcement's webpage on importing and exporting commercial wildlife shipments, and contact our wildlife inspectors if applicable.

● Products with wood and wildlife - FWS (this includes non-CITES wildlife such as mother-of-pearl): as described above.

● Wood and wood products (exports) - United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS).

● Wood and wood products (imports) - Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (DHS/CBP).


I want to buy an instrument from someone in another country. How do I do that?

You need a CITES import permit only if the species is listed in CITES Appendix I and the specimen is not pre-Convention. Pre-Convention specimens do not require CITES import permits.


My instrument is used and/or old. Do I need a CITES certificate?

Yes, if you plan on selling it outside of your country.


Do I need a CITES document for a commercial transaction for a single instrument even if the instrument has under 10 kg of Dalbergia spp.?

Yes, under this scenario, you will need a CITES document. The 10 kg exception is only for non- commercial shipments.


Do instrument makers who use CITES-listed wood need to have documentation of where they acquired their wood — and that they're from legally harvested timber?

Under CITES, FWS must determine that the wood was legally obtained before we can issue a CITES document. Documentation for wood that was imported well before the species were listed in the CITES Appendices may be hard to obtain.

Likewise, wood that was imported many years ago and has been sold or given to someone other than the original importer may be difficult to document. We will work with the applicant to determine appropriate documentation to show that wood imported before January 2, 2017, was legally obtained.

Any wood imported after January 2 must be accompanied by a CITES document. A copy of this document must be presented to FWS when applying for CITES documents in order to show that the wood was legally imported.


What ports may be used for import, export, and re-export?

Shipments that contain only CITES-listed plants and plant material must be imported and exported through a port designated in 50 CFR 24.12 for the import and export of CITES-listed plant material.

Contact information for USDA designated ports can be found at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/cites.pdf.

The USDA Port Offices do not have the authority to arbitrarily allow trade through non-designated ports.

Items that include both CITES-listed plant material and any wildlife material, including non-protected species such as mother-of-pearl, must be inspected and cleared by FWS Office of Law Enforcement. A list of FWS designated ports can be found at https://www.fws.gov/le/designated-ports.html.


Does this mean customs could or would detain my personal instrument or an instrument I've sold?

Yes! Don't gamble with this unless you are prepared to loose that instrument. This is not open for you to debate with customs.


The US has issued instrument passports for US musicians. Does Canada have the same?

To our knowledge, Canada has not issued an instrument passport for Canadian musicians. Also, a US musician carrying an instrument with its passport may be required to enter and to exit the US only through CITES designated ports.


Are manufacturers making changes to woods they use?
Yes. It's happening right now and you will see CITES protected wood use in instruments gone very soon.


Bottom Line

If you own an instrument which contains any amount of CITES protected wood, you now own a collector piece. Play it, enjoy it. Forget travelling with it unless it's within your own country OR if you are prepared to go through a lot of time, hassle, and some fees to take it with you.