Public Affairs & Government Relations

NAMM stands for its Members every day by providing ongoing representation in Washington, D.C. on issues that impact the music products industry, including:

  • Music education and education reform legislation and funding
  • Small business health insurance legislation
  • Estate tax reform
  • Import/export laws
  • E-commerce tax reform

Advancing Music: Public Policy, Music Education and Music Making
A blog by Mary Luehrsen, Director of Public Affairs & Government Relations

JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE - Import and Export FAQs

The Import Export Forum held at Summer NAMM once again revealed the complexity of import/export regulations and uncertainties about permitting and licensing of materials and products.  As part on ongoing efforts to support and inform NAMM Members, we want to gather your questions about import/export compliance issues and post answers and links to resources. As needed, we will take your questions directly to FWS personnel who have stated their desire to be an ongoing resource for NAMM Members. Send your questions to and we will be updating the Q and A list for the next 30-60 days; for starters, here are a few that seem “top of mind."

Do I need a permit to sell instruments with CITES-listed species within the US?

No, but it is encouraged that you include some type of documentation with the sale of an instrument.  Regulations issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service only require that sellers have documentation to demonstrate, if asked, that the species used was imported into the United States before their listing on CITES Appendix I.  At this time, the only such species are Brazilian Rosewood, hawksbill turtle shell and elephant ivory.  If documentation showing actual date of species importation is not available, an affidavit from the seller attesting to the pre-CITES nature of the species will suffice.  The requirement pertains to the date on which the material was imported into this country, not the date on which the instrument containing the species was manufactured.  It is suggested that sellers of such instruments include the documentation with each sale so that buyers will be able to demonstrate compliance in the future if they in turn sell the instrument.

To learn more on CITES regulations click HERE.

When will the Fish and Wildlife Service issue its new rules pertaining to ivory sales?

Not clear.  The date keeps slipping with "fall" being the most recent target.  Directors Order 210, issued in mid-February and amended in May, generally bans imports and exports of all ivory containing products except for bona fide antiques (products more than 100 years old).  FWS has indicated that the proposed rules, to implement the African Elephant Conservation Act and the Endangered Species Act, will act to ban all interstate domestic sales of ivory-containing products, with the exception of antiques.  Any proposed rules will be subject to a 60-day comment period and final rules are not expected until sometime in 2015. Together with a other musical instrument associations, NAMM will direct Members on when, where, how to post comments.  

To learn more on FWS ban on ivory click HERE.

What must I do to comply with the Lacey Act?

The Lacey Act prohibits the possession, purchase, import, export or domestic sale of any plant or plant product (e.g., a musical instrument containing wood) that was harvested in violation of the law of the plant material's country of origin.  For example, if a guitar contains wood that was harvested illegally in a foreign country, its sale in the U.S. is banned.  The Lacey Act is a strict liability law, which means that even if a seller does not know, or could have known about the illegal harvest, the seller can still be forced to forfeit the offending product.  Thus, sellers should at least exercise "due care" when obtaining wood or wood containing products, e.g., dealing only with reputable suppliers.

Importers of record for some (referenced below) musical instruments must file an import declaration (Form PPQ 505) with the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, an Agriculture Department agency, at the time of import.  At the present time, the form must only be filed for imports which fall within two tariff categories (9201, pianos, and 9202, other stringed instruments).  The form can be filed either in a per version or electronically.  Included in the information required on the form are the genus/species (scientific name) of all wood in the instrument, the country of harvest of the wood.

To learn more about the Lacey Act HERE.

Forest Legality Alliance Update and SAVE THE DATE for 12th Semi-Annual Membership Meeting

Forest Legality Alliance is a key organization focused on promoting the trade of legal wood products. Most recently, FLA, in collaboration with Reforestamos Mexico and the European Forest...

Third Annual NAMM-USPTO IP Academy


NAMM Members have the opportunity to participate in a free, two-day Intellectual Property (IP) Academy April 8 & 9, 2015, at the Global Intellectual...

Recent Legislation Could Impact Ivory Ban

July 7, 2014

Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to maintain the regulation of ivory-containing musical instruments and other products as such rules existed on February 24,...

NAMM, with Musical Instrument Coalition, Seek Solutions to Proposed Ivory Ban

June 26, 2014

Together with other musical instrument service organizations, the attached brief outlines issues and solutions to the proposed ivory ban that would restrict travel, use and...

Legislatures in New Jersey and New York have passed bills prohibiting the sale of products containing ivory

June 26, 2014

Legislatures in New Jersey and New York have passed bills prohibiting the sale of products containing ivory (including elephant, mammoth and walrus).  As of June 26, both...

Curator from the National Music Museum Testifies before Congress

June 24, 2014

Earlier today the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs held a hearing on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposed ivory ban. Arian...

JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE - Import and Export FAQs

The Import Export Forum held at Summer NAMM once again revealed the complexity of import/export regulations and uncertainties about permitting and licensing of materials and products.  As part on ongoing efforts to support and...



Import/Export Forum

Noon–1 p.m. Deli Lunch Buffet

Music City Center, 205 A–C

Join us today for a forum addressing updates on current...

NAMM Members Advocate for Music Education in D.C.

NAMM offers members opportunity to support music education during D.C. Fly-In, May 19-21

Carlsbad, CA (May 18, 2014) – NAMM members prepare to take the nation’s capital by storm making the case for comprehensive...

NAMM Members Gathering at Issues Forum During NAMM Show-Tap Into Issues Updates and Resources Provided at Links Below

Intellectual Property (IP) Forum @ The 2014 NAMM Show

Music product creators, innovators, fabricators, business owners and managers concerned about securing and protecting intellectual property vital to...

SupportMusic Community Forum-It’s A Wrap

The NAMM Foundation finished its back to school year advocacy kick off with five SupportMusic Community Forums across the U.S.  In collaboration with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, the NAMM Foundation presented town-hall...

SupportMusic Coalition school year kick off – on the road with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

For us at NAMM, back to school means a chance to rev the engines again for targeted and increased action as music education advocates.  And this year, the term “rev the engines” takes on new meaning as we converge with...

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