Know Your Bow: Tips for Owners and Users of Pernambuco Bows

Bow Tips

Since September 13, 2007, the Pernambuco wood used in bows has been included under CITES Appendix II, with rules that require any wood material exported from Brazil (up to the unfinished “bow blank” stage) to be legally and sustainably harvested and accompanied by CITES permits when traded internationally. However, until February 23, 2023, finished bows were not subject to CITES requirements or controls and could travel without CITES permits. As of February 23, 2023, CITES permits are required for all Pernambuco wood the first time it leaves Brazil – including finished bows as they leave Brazil. CITES Parties adopted these measures at CoP19 in an effort to halt the trafficking of Pernambuco wood and bows and to protect wild populations of Pernambuco.  

Now that CITES is regulating bows as finished products in this new way for exports from Brazil, it is wise to proactively have a record to make clear for future resale that your bow is CITES compliant with the latest rules, meaning it was located outside of Brazil before February 23, 2023, made outside of Brazil before February 23, 2023, or was exported as a finished bow from Brazil with a CITES permit after that date. Documentation is also a helpful way to establish that certain bows are exempt from permit rules.  

NAMM members serving the orchestra community are urged to familiarize themselves with and distribute as necessary, the FAQ “Know Your Bow,” prepared by our partners, League of American Orchestras, Pearle-Live Performance Europe, and the International Federation of Musicians.