CITES Update: Commercial Rosewood and Bubinga Import/Export Regulations to Take Effect January 2, 2017

Note: U.S. domestic shipments will NOT require permits. Guidelines outlined for rosewood, bubingas and kosso import/export and use of in-stock wood.

Action protecting more than 250 species of rosewood (dalbergia), three species of bubinga (guibourtia) and kosso (Pterocarpus erinaceus) taken at the recent meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will have broad implications on the international shipments of musical  instruments containing these woods including guitars, marimbas and various types of woodwinds.

The CITES delegates at the September 2016 Conference of the Parties in South Africa elected to expand the protection afforded to these tonewoods by placing select species of bubinga (Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, and Guibourtia tessmannii,) kosso (Pterocarpus erinaceus) and 250 rosewood  species on Appendix II.  Only Brazilian rosewood, currently protected under a stricter Appendix I listing is excluded.  The expanded listing comes with an annotation which makes the protection applicable to not only logs and sawn wood, but also what's called "all parts and derivatives," which means finished products like musical instruments.

The expanded listing, which will take effect on January 2, 2017 is applicable worldwide and will require all manufacturers and retailers of musical instruments containing one or more the aforementioned species (excluding Brazilian rosewood) to obtain a permit from the appropriate government regulatory agency (in the United States, it is the Fish and Wildlife Service) if they wish to export one or more instruments outside of the country. Domestic shipments will not require a permit.

  • CITES Update from2017 Summer NAMM: 
  • Audio Recordings from The 2017 NAMM Show:

    • Policy Forum: Import/Export, CITES Regulations. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, 9 am -10 am. Listen to the audio file.

      • Policy forum with special focus on recent CITES regulations of all species of rosewood implemented Jan. 2, 2017.  Moderator: Mary Luehrsen, Director of NAMM Public Affairs and Government Relations. Panelists: Jim Goldberg, Goldberg, Goldberg Associates; Heather Noonan, Vice President for Advocacy, League of American Orchestras. 

    • Policy Roundtable: Import/Export, CITES Compliance Q&A. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, 11 am – 12 pm. Listen to the audio file.

      • Jim Goldberg of Goldberg and Associates, League of American Orchestras vice president of advocacy Heather Noonan and Taylor Guitars legal counsel Ethna Piazza address NAMM member questions about CITES compliance and explain significant changes to international trade in instruments containing all species of rosewood.

  • Webinars Available:

    • Hosted by the League of American Orchestras and NAMM this December 7, 2016 webinar emphasized new rules for protected species and musical instruments. Access the following: archived webinar, a PDF copy of the slides, or download the MP4 file
    • Hosted by the International Wood Products Association, this December 6 webinar emphasized guidance on commercial imports and exports of timber and timber products. Listen to the audio recording, here.
  • For specific information, please read this letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to U.S. timber importers and re-exporters.
  • U.S. Companies with questions about this new listing, please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Management Authority at:
         Phone: 703-358-2095
         Fax: 703-358-2298

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Permit Information and Instructions
    • USFW PPT presentation concerning commercial import/export requirements available here.
  • Non-U.S. companies seeking to import to the U.S. or export to other countries, contact the CITES Management Authority of your country of origin.
  • If you have specific questions about the designated U.S. ports for CITES-listed plants import, or other enforcement matters related to the CITES listings of Dalbergia and Guibourtia, please contact: Mr. John Veremis with APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine at:

         Phone: 301-851-2347
         Fax: 301-734-3560

  • For more information about APHIS and the designated CITES plant ports, please visit the APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) website.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has provided a 21-page FAQ addressing 61 questions on the new CITES rosewood rules. View that here.

International Resources

  • Updated CITES information for MI companies in the UK can be found here. 
  • CITES guidelines for MI companies in EU in German (including Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria) have been prepared by SOMM, GDM and BDMH and are available, here. List of names and addresses of institutions responsible for implementation in EU countries can be found here.
  • Q&A on the implementation in the EU of the listing of Rosewood and Palisander species into CITES appendix II: Clarifications regarding questions asked by CITES authorities can be found here

Updates available at the following websites: