CITES UPDATE: New Rosewood Proposals Slated for CITES Conference

Several issues of interest to the music industry will be on the agenda for the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which begins September 24 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Through a partnership with the League of American Orchestras, NAMM will be monitoring developments on these issues.

During the  Conference, delegates from more than 180 countries will consider a proposal to streamline current requirements for travelling internationally with musical instruments that contain protected species materials, and other policies that impact musicians whose instruments contain rosewood, ivory, and other material that is subject to the terms of the treaty. The League of American Orchestras partners with NAMM, the American Federation of Musicians, the American Federation of Violin and Bowmakers, and other national and international music organizations on these issues, and with support from NAMM will host an event open to all CITES delegates to discuss CITES policy solutions that balance urgent conservation needs with ongoing international cultural activity.

Included on the agenda are discussions to further restrict the sales of products containing elephant ivory, adding dozens of additional rosewood (dalbergia) species to the treaty's Appendix II and streamlining the rules for international travel with musical instruments, which were initially discussed at the last CoP when the concept of a musical instrument passport was approved.

The rosewood proposal presents the most significant challenge for the music products industry.  Adding species to Appendix II would require imports and exports of instruments containing rosewood to be accompanied by permits issued by the exporting country.  Currently, the 50-plus rosewood species listed on Appendix II are annotated with an exemption for finished products.  NAMM will continue to advocate for such an exemption if all rosewood species are added to Appendix II.

NAMM will also be closely watching the elephant ivory discussion in order to preserve the exemption for most musical instruments contained in rules issued in June by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pertaining to domestic interstate transactions.