Interesting CITES article

zappaDPJ

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Staff member
I keep trying to composing a reply here which doesn't include expletives plus tales of lost opportunities and frustration. I currently have a vintage (aka real) 1957 Les Paul Junior sitting in a customs warehouse about 10-15 miles from where I live. I bought it over 3 months ago from a reputable dealer in New York for $5,149.00 and because there's no CITES certificate no one seems to know what to do with it

I used to buy, setup and sell a lot of Japanese made Fenders which are generally far superior and under half the price of anything made outside of the US custom shop factory but they won't ship anything to the UK regardless of whether it contains rosewood because of CITES. In short it's a huge problem.
 

Tracy Perry

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Staff member
Guitar Player
That's been one of the interesting things I've discovered about it. The biggest reason for CITES inclusion was NOT the guitars... they were just an accidental "shooting in foot" from their shotgun approach. The actual culprit was China and their great desire for furniture made from it.
It apparently was used heavily back in the "good old days" of the dynasty period and the middle and upper class all want that style furniture.

Most people associate Rosewood with CITES, but do not realize that mahogany is also listed on there.
They (CITES) really needs to sit down and take a hard look at the issues that it causes. Your '57 is a classic issue. Back then there would be NO documentation for it - so is it supposed to miraculously appear?

EDIT:

Was doing some more research and found this on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife International Affairs page
The Appendix-II listing of bigleaf mahogany is intended to ensure that trade in that species is based on sustainable harvest and to address the threats of unregulated trade and illegal harvest. The listing is limited to logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets, and plywood, not other parts, derivatives, and products, such as furniture.
By reading that, if they are holding it up for the CITES for the mahogany, they are holding it for something that does not apply if it's still an Appendix-II listing. It sounds like the seller screwed up as all they needed to do was get an export certificate for it, which would have been valid for importation and delivery to you (unless your country is tighter on the Appendix-II listings, which they can be).

Rosewood does on the other hand due to the shotgun approach they took with it.
 
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zappaDPJ

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Staff member
The guitar has a mahogany body and rosewood fingerboard but if our interpretation of these regulations is correct it doesn't need of a CITES certificate. I think the problem is the people working in customs simply don't understand the regulations so they are sitting on (I've been told) many thousands of guitars.

What's worrying me is there's a possibility that they will sell or even destroy the guitar, something they have the right to do if they believe rules have been broken. I've already filed a notice of claim to try and force the issue which means I'll be attending a court hearing.
 

Tracy Perry

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Staff member
Guitar Player
If rosewood then it needs (at least here in the US) either an import AND export certificate or, if pre-CITES it simply needs a pre-convention certificate from the shipper/seller.

The new rosewood CITES aspect that went into affect in January 2017 affects instruments that have ANY kind of rosewood and some types of bubinga.
Any shipment prior to that falls under the older rules (or so they say).
 

zappaDPJ

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Staff member
If rosewood then it needs (at least here in the US) either an import AND export certificate or, if pre-CITES it simply needs a pre-convention certificate from the shipper/seller.
As far as I can tell that's correct and I think the seller has supplied the correct paperwork. Unfortunately on this side of our planet the European Commission has implemented something called 'CITES Appendix II', a directive no one seems able to understand.

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/cites/pdf/cop17/implementation_of_cites_cop17_listing_of_rosewood_clean.pdf
 
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