A Change Within CITES

Will rose­wood re­turn to the gui­tar in­dus­try in 2019?

Guitarist - - The Lineup -

The changes lim­it­ing the ex­port of rose­wood that took ef­fect at the be­gin­ning of 2017 have been huge for the gui­tar in­dus­try. In a fur­ther blow to builders of all sizes, it even af­fected the use of cer­tain types of bub­inga and co­cobolo woods for new instruments. But now there could be ten­ta­tive cause for cel­e­bra­tion on the hori­zon.

The orig­i­nal reg­u­la­tions im­posed by CITES (Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) ap­plied to all ex­ports of rose­wood from man­u­fac­tur­ers. But fol­low­ing the Oc­to­ber meet­ing of the CITES Stand­ing Com­mit­tee in Sochi, Rus­sia, NAMM (North Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Mu­si­cal Mer­chants) re­leased a state­ment to re­port that a change in reg­u­la­tions had been rec­om­mended by a work­ing group com­pris­ing mu­si­cal-in­stru­ment in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives to make instruments exempt from the reg­u­la­tions. And it was met with agree­ment.

Scott Paul, di­rec­tor of Nat­u­ral Re­source Sus­tain­abil­ity at Tay­lor Gui­tars, was part of the group and spoke to Gui­tarist about the de­vel­op­ments: “We es­ti­mate that world­wide mu­si­cal-in­stru­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers are re­spon­si­ble for less than a 10th of one per cent of the an­nual global trade in rose­wood, yet I think it’s fair to say that no other in­dus­try was hit harder than ours when the CITES rose­wood reg­u­la­tions came into ef­fect in Jan­uary 2017… It has been a dif­fi­cult past few years, but we are op­ti­mistic that re­lief for our sec­tor may be on the hori­zon when CITES meets next in Sri Lanka in May 2019.”

That meet­ing will de­cide the fate of rose­wood’s re­turn to gui­tars. The pro­posal needs to be put in the form of a res­o­lu­tion, spon­sored by a govern­ment body and for­mally sub­mit­ted for con­sid­er­a­tion at the 18th Con­fer­ence Of The Par­ties in Sri Lanka in May. If adopted, it could go into ef­fect in the mid­dle of the year.

It’s a devel­op­ment Martin Gui­tars is ea­ger to see: “We were pleased that the CITES par­ties recog­nised that the ad­min­is­tra­tive bur­den of the Dal­ber­gia list­ing, for our in­dus­try and CITES man­age­ment, ex­ceeds any con­ser­va­tion ben­e­fit,” says Frank Un­termyer, di­rec­tor of Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment at Martin. “The CITES Sochi Stand­ing Com­mit­tee rec­om­men­da­tion to exempt fin­ished mu­si­cal instruments, as well as their fin­ished parts and ac­ces­sories, is re­flec­tive of this recog­ni­tion.”

But as Un­termyer points out, there’s still a way to go yet be­fore the change can be rat­i­fied: “Canada plans to sub­mit a for­mal pro­posal to CITES mir­ror­ing the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee rec­om­men­da­tion. We recog­nise the process is not yet over; other par­ties may sub­mit al­ter­nate pro­pos­als. We an­tic­i­pate fur­ther dis­cus­sion on the is­sue lead­ing up to the Con­fer­ence Of Par­ties, where a fi­nal de­ci­sion will be made.”

CITES’ meet­ing in Sri Lanka in May could have a huge im­pact on our in­dus­try

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