Trade

NAMM supports free and fair trade. Review the recent informational webinar, including exemption-filing procedures and ongoing updates about the impact of the 2020 Chinese trade agreement.

NAMM Supports Free Trade

On behalf of 10,400 global members, NAMM believes that a strong and vibrant music and pro audio products and entertainment technology industry is important to the educational and cultural vitality, as well as the economic prosperity of all countries. As a trade association, NAMM will continue in our efforts to proactively engage elected officials to keep the lines of dialogue and trade open and urge U.S. and world leaders to reaffirm a commitment to such.

Ongoing updates and resources will continue to be posted to this page. Resources below include policy updates from the U.S. Trade Representative, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and The National Retail Federation.

To contact NAMM's Public Affairs and Government Relations team, email publicaffairs@namm.org  

Shipping Webinar: Delivery delays and other updates
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
2:00 pm ET/11:00 am PT

Disruptions in the availability of shipping containers and routes, backlogged ports, trucking shortages, and warehouse storage fees are causing major issues for music, pro audio and live event product manufacturers, distributors, retailers and, ultimately, for consumers who face delivery delays and increased pricing on goods. NAMM Public Affairs gathered a panel of international shipping experts for a webinar to get to the bottom of this complicated and multifaceted crisis. Host Mary Luehrsen, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations engaged Jonathan Gold, VP Supply Chain and Customs Policy, National Retail Federation, Karyn Booth, Partner and Practice Group Leader, Thompson Hine LLP and general counsel for the National Industrial Transportation League, and Armin Zertor and Carley Jones with Masterpiece International in a conversation that covers the origins of the current shipping backlog, explains where it currently stands, and provides suggestions for how to mitigate delays in receiving products from overseas.

Watch Here

Latest Update

 

    Tax

    NAMM monitors tax reform issues and provides periodic updates on advocacy efforts and pending legislation. For up-to-date information on this issue, please visit this page regularly.

    Latest Update

    5/7/21: U.S. Dept. of Labor Withdraws Independent Contractor Rule

    The U.S. Department of Labor officially withdrew the “Independent Contractor Rule” effective May 6, 2001. The rule, adopted by the prior administration, would have made it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

    Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), covered employers are required to pay employees at least the federal minimum wage and overtime compensation. These FLSA requirements do not apply to independent contractors. Independent contractors, however, typically have more flexibility to set their own schedules and can work for more than one company.

    According to the Department’s press statement, it is withdrawing the rule for several reasons, including:

    • The independent contractor rule was in tension with the FLSA’s text and purpose, as well as relevant judicial precedent.
    • The rule’s prioritization of two “core factors” for determining employee status under the FLSA would have undermined the longstanding balancing approach of the economic realities test and court decisions requiring a review of the totality of the circumstances related to the employment relationship.
    • The rule would have narrowed the facts and considerations comprising the analysis of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, resulting in workers losing FLSA protections.

    For the near term, it appears unlikely that the Department of Labor will re-examine or issue rules that could ease criteria for classifying workers as independent contractors.

    The official notice of the rule’s withdrawal is published in the Federal Register.

    CA Prop 65

    NAMM supports resolution to the “background noise” realities of Prop 65 labeling requirements. NAMM is participating in the Coalition for Accurate Product Labels, with pending federal legislation outlining clear compliance and enforcement for product components.

    Latest Update

    March 31, 2021: NAMM Joins Over 120 Organizations Opposing Proposed Prop. 65 Amendments

    On March 26, NAMM sent a letter in support of the comments filed by the California Chamber of Commerce on behalf of its members and over 120 national and regional organizations and businesses, stating that the current proposal to amend prop. 65 should be withdrawn pending further study and consultation with affected parties.

    Specifically, NAMM believes that the proposed changes in the short form “safe harbor” disclosures will impose an undue burden on NAMM’s members who wish to utilize its protections from the increasing number of private plaintiff lawsuits and demands without providing a corresponding benefit to California consumers.

    Many musical instruments and accessories do not have “labels” per se but are often sold with minimal packaging or may be accompanied by hang tags displayed at the point of sale.  Any amendments should provide a more expansive definition of what constitutes a “label” for disclosure purposes.

    The proposed five-square-inch limitation on label size is arbitrary and could easily lead to plaintiffs’ suits based solely on non-compliant label size.  Any limitation on label size should be larger and easier to compute, e.g., an even number of square inches.

    Elimination of the short form “safe harbor” from catalogs and internet websites will result in confusing disclosures, increase costs, and reduce available space for other consumer-facing information including product specifications, uses, warranty and care.

    And, finally, a requirement to disclose at least one OEHHA listed substance on the short-form label will impose significant testing and research costs on distributors who import foreign-made musical instruments (of which there are thousands to choose from in the U.S.) and manufacturers who outsource components or parts to U.S. or offshore sources. 

    The public comment period for this regulatory action closed on March 29, 2021. NAMM will continue to carefully monitor this important issue and will post updates here.

    Formaldehyde Emissions and CA Prop 65 Information and Resources

    CA Prop 65

    In 1986, California voters approved Proposition 65, an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. The law requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, and for businesses with ten or more employees to provide warnings when they knowingly and intentionally cause significant exposures to listed chemicals. Penalties for violating Proposition 65 by failing to provide warnings can be as high as $2,500 per violation per day. Prop 65 also provides for enforcement "in the public interest" by private attorneys, who typically send a required 60-day notice to prospective violators and then seek to reach settlement agreements which usually include a monetary payment (shared by the lawyers and the state) and a correction of alleged labeling violations.

    Formaldehyde Emissions

    In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule that would regulate the amount of formaldehyde emissions from composite wood, such as hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard. Additionally, the proposed rule would regulate laminated wood products, impose more precise labeling on covered products and require compliance information to be passed down from manufacturer/importer through the distribution chain. 

    On December 12, 2016, EPA published a final rule to reduce exposure to formaldehyde emissions from certain wood products produced domestically or imported into the United States. The rule regulates laminated wood products, imposes more precise labeling on covered products and requires compliance information to be passed down from manufacturer/importer through the distribution chain. Any musical instrument made of composite or laminate wood is impacted by the new regulations. In July of 2018, the EPA suppressed a draft health assessment on formaldehyde, suggesting that current regulations protecting the public from overexposure to formaldehyde might not be stringent enough to prevent increased risks of developing leukemia, nose and throat cancer, and other illnesses. NAMM will continue to monitor developments. 

    CARB2 - California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Phase 2. CARB2 stands for the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Phase 2, a stringent standard for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, including hardwood plywood (HWPW), particleboard (PB), and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Composite wood products are panels made from pieces, chips, particles, or fibers of wood bonded together with a resin. In the production of laminate flooring, the core board is made up of medium to high-density fiberboard. This is where the emissions concerns come from.

    Note: The formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products under the EPA final rule, and set by Congress, are identical to the California “Phase 2” formaldehyde emission standards (CARB2). EPA worked to align the other requirements of the federal rule with the California requirements. However, there are a few differences. Unlike the California requirements, among other things, the EPA rule:

    • Requires records be kept for three years versus two years;
    • Requires importers to provide import certification under TSCA beginning March 22, 2019;
    • Requires manufacturers to disclose upon request formaldehyde testing results to their direct purchasers; and
    • Requires laminated products not exempted from the definition of hardwood plywood to meet the hardwood plywood formaldehyde emissions standard beginning March 22, 2024.

    Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulations. Manufacturers exporting musical instruments to the European Union (EU), or operating within the EU, should be aware of the REACH regulation. Effective June 1, 2007, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) reg (EC1907/2006) is regarded as the strictest in the world pertaining to chemicals (e.g., glues, resins, etc.) used in the manufacture of a wide variety of products. Learn more. 

    Resources:

    Understanding REACH Regulations

    Compliance Guide for Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood for Fabricators and Laminated Product Producers

    Formaldehyde Updates from the EPA

    Manufacturer Frequently Asked Questions

    Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products

    Rule resources and guidance materials

    EPA Fact Sheet

    EPA FAQ and Regulations re Curved Plywood

    Webinars for small entity compliance

    Find an EPA-recognized Accreditation Body

    Find an EPA-recognized Third-Party Certifier

    Endangered Species

    NAMM and global coalition achieved revisions to CITES wood listing (2019 Conference of the Parties) and has established a forum concerning sustainability in the music industry.

    CITES, Traveling with Musical Instruments, LAWGS/LACEY Act and Ivory Ban Information and Resources

    Latest Updates:

    September 1, 2021: Reminder: New October 1st Lacey Act Import Requirement Includes Drums, Clarinets, Flutes, and Piccolos

    As reported this Summer, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that implementation for Phase VI of the enforcement schedule will start on October 1, 2021. Phase VI mandates that companies importing musical instruments containing wood - including drums, clarinets, flutes, and piccolos - will be required to file a new import declaration form.  Learn how to comply with this new import requirement by viewing our short webinar.

    Since 2010, the import declaration requirement has been applicable to pianos (including player pianos, harpsichords, and other stringed keyboard instruments) defined in Harmonized Tariff Schedule 9201 and "other stringed instruments" (including acoustic guitars, violins, and harps) in HTS 9202. Beginning on October 1, 2021, the import declaration requirement expands to imported products falling within the following HTS codes:

    • 9205.90.20.00 -- wind musical instruments, bagpipes
    • 9205.90.40.20 -- clarinets
    • 9205.90.40.60 -- flutes and piccolos
    • 9205.90.40.80 -- other woodwind instruments
    • 9206.00.20.00 -- drums
    • 9207.90.00.40 -- fretted stringed instruments, the sound of which is produced or must be amplified electrically.
    • 9209.92 -- parts and accessories for musical instruments (e.g., instrument stands, tuning pins, bows)
    • 9209.92.80.80 -- parts and accessories for musical instruments, other
    • 9209.99.20.00 -- parts and accessories for bagpipes
    • 9209.99.40.40 -- parts and accessories for other woodwind instruments
    • 9209.99.80.00 -- parts and accessories for musical instruments, other

    The import declaration form must be filed electronically or in paper format by the importer although as a practical matter the information required by the form must be obtained from the product manufacturer or exporter.

    The European musical instrument organization CSFI has prepared a guidance document for European manufacturers and exporters, but it can also be helpful to U.S. importers. 

    July 6, 2021: Lacey Import Declaration Implementation Date Extended to October 1, 2021.

    On Friday, July 2nd the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a change in the date of implementation for Phase VI of the enforcement schedule, from July 1, 2021, to October 1, 2021. Read the Federal Register posting.

    Phase VI mandates that companies importing musical instruments containing wood - including drums, clarinets, flutes, and piccolos - will be required to file a new import declaration form.

    To learn the steps you must follow to comply with this new import requirement, View our short webinar..

    Since early June, NAMM has been in communication with APHIS administrators, urging an extension of the July 1 deadline, allowing the industry more time to comply. NAMM will continue to monitor this issue closely and will post updates here as they are available.

    Traveling with Musical Instruments

    During the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 2013, the United States proposed a “passport” program to ease the burden on musicians traveling with musical instruments made from CITES-listed species. The proposal was adopted and as a result musical instruments with CITES-listed species may travel through a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) designated port with proper documentation. Individuals traveling abroad with musical instruments that contain Brazilian rosewood, tortoiseshell, elephant ivory, or any other parts or products protected under CITES or the Endangered Species Act (ESA) must obtain special documentation before traveling.

    For more information on the permit process, documentation requirements, and how to file, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Musical Instruments website.

    Lacey Act

    The Lacey Act is a federal statute that regulates the import, export and commerce of protected wildlife, plant species and products. The law covers all fish and wildlife and their parts or products, plants listed on the CITES Appendices as well as those protected by state law. In 2008, Congress amended the law to include new provisions covering plants and plant materials.  Under the revised law and subsequent regulations,  all shipments of imported pianos and other stringed instruments (e.g., guitars and violins) must be accompanied by a declaration listing that includes, among other things, the scientific name (genus and species) of all wood and other plant material used in the imported product, as well as the country of origin of the wood. Specifically, any imported product subject to Harmonized Tariff Schedule Chapters 9201 and 9202. For more information on the Lacey Act and how it relates to injurious wildlife, visit the Office of Law Enforcement.

    Ivory Ban

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has been tasked with developing specific rules and regulations for oversight and enforcement. Along with other music and musician organizations, NAMM is actively  advocating for the development of compliance rules that assure fair and legal trade of instruments that contain ivory and that regulations are congruent with exiting requirements (CITES, etc.). The release of proposed rules and a public comment period is expected in the coming months. NAMM continues to be active in advocacy and oversight of rule development process and will advise NAMM Members of the public comment period.  NAMM Members seeking further clarification on the ivory ban can visit the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife’s FAQs.

    Updates and Resources:

    Elizabeth Dale

    NAMM Member KHS America has donated $100,000 worth of musical instruments to Waverly Junior High and High School to revive their school music programs after a devastating flood swept through their Tennessee community.

    In August 2021, heavy rains culminated in a flash flood across western Tennessee. In 12 hours, five counties received up to a quarter of the normal annual precipitation, totaling ten to 15 inches. Much of the torrential rainfall flowed along the Trace Creek, causing swells to fall on the city of Waverly and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, and flooding Waverly Junior High and High School. With the surge of floodwaters sweeping through the schools, officials have commented that the only saving grace of the disaster was that it had not occurred on a school day, as rescue efforts would have been nearly impossible.

    In November, KHS America, alongside 22-time GRAMMY® Award winner Vince Gill, singer/songwriter Alex Hall, and the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation, visited Waverly Central High School to present students with new instruments. The project arose from the long-standing collaborative efforts of KHS America and the CMA Foundation. The duo has worked on endeavors that supply quality musical instruments to support music education including, supporting charitable organizations like Little Kids Rock, United Sound, Save The Music, and the W.O. Smith School. When Gill heard of the efforts from the CMA Foundation, he felt it was important not only to get involved with the project but to personally meet and talk with students about the importance of music and the difference it makes in students’ lives.

    “One of the core values of KHS America is that as a company, ‘We believe that music is an essential part of life for every individual and that it provides a contribution to society as a whole.’ This donation mirrors our core value, and it is the reason we do what we do”, says Rick DeJonge, KHS America Artist and Educator Relations Manager. The relief efforts in Waverly are just one of the long list of donations KHS America and its partners have made. Past charitable projects include $15,000 worth of woodwinds to replace instruments that were destroyed by a truck, a $60,000 donation with Harry Connick Jr. to Central High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana after floods destroyed their instruments; $55,000 worth of instruments provided alongside the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Foundation to schools in the Bahamas who were impacted by a hurricane; and a $40,000 endowment of instruments to Paradise, California after a fire ravished the community.

    KHS America hopes to inspire other NAMM Members to get involved with communities impacted by disasters. DeJonge offers this advice, “We encourage others wishing to provide support to partner with a local retailer. Their existing relationships will make it easier to work closely with the school and affiliated parent organizations to create a well-rounded effort for supporting music education in the community. At KHS America, this is a fundamental aspect of our ‘Academic Alliance’ program and is critical to facilitating such endeavors.”


    For more information from KHS America, please visit them at https://khs-america.com/.

    Images Courtesy of Stephanie McKendrick

    Elizabeth Dale

    In July, four major music trade publications welcomed new owner, Mike Lawson. The change in ownership of School Band & Orchestra (SBO), Musical Merchandise Review (MMR), JAZZed, and Choral Director became effective with the August 2021 issue of each publication.

    For over 30 years, Lawson has served the music industry by publishing numerous books, videos, periodicals, directory, and software works, working with publishers like Alfred Music Publishing, artistpro.com, Hal Leonard, MIXBooks, Thomson Learning, and Thomas Nelson. Despite his lifelong desire to become a musician, it wasn’t an easy road. As a child, his family could not afford an instrument for him, so Lawson worked at an early age cutting grass and performing odd jobs to save up enough cash to purchase a guitar. As he grew, he studied music magazines and books to learn as much as he could about gear and the art of musicianship.

    Lawson honed his skills and spent years performing in clubs, colleges, frat houses, and other venues around the southeast of America. In 1991, he relocated to Nashville and opened an office on the famed “Music Row” and was intent on applying his unique history studying music publications as a child to try to break into music publishing.

    Mike Lawson

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    By 1992, Lawson introduced “The Entertainment Source Library,” an industry legal contract software, and founded the “Music Industry Forum,” the first digital promotional downloads of 30-second sound bites of music releases from top record labels. During this time, Lawson worked alongside icons like Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen (Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane), Thomas Dolby, Robbie Kreiger (The Doors), Lou Reed, and Bob Welch. In late 1993, he sold the rights to his software product to Act III Media, the publisher of MIX magazine, transitioning to product marketing for Gibson.

    In 1996, Lawson was recruited to MIX magazine and its related entities to help establish MIXBooks. While working for MIX Lawson found success outside of the office, serving on the Board of Governors of The Recording Academy, rising to serve as a trustee for the national organization. He also had the opportunity to continue performing, playing with local legends Merl Saunders and members of the Grateful Dead, Tower of Power, Jerry Garcia Band, and Legion of Mary.

    In the late 90s and early 2000s, Lawson acquired book imprints and a catalog of works by partnering with CMG, Recoding Industry Sourcebook, and Publicitas to launch artistpro.com. The website became the first to host community forums hosted by GRAMMY® winners who advised members on audio production. Before his June 2021 purchase of School Band & Orchestra (SBO), Musical Merchandise Review (MMR), JAZZed, and Choral Director, Lawson was part of the editorial staff.

    Lawson has also shown substantial achievement in his philanthropic endeavors. In 1997, he became involved in Technology in Music Education (TI:ME), a non-profit funded with a grant from The NAMM Foundation. While on the organization's advisory board, Lawson published books by educators which addressed how to modernize how music was taught in schools. He also volunteered with The Recording Academy as part of the A&N Committee until 2009 and served on the Board of Directors for The TEC Foundation before it joined The NAMM Foundation. In 2011, Lawson joined TI:ME as its executive director and helped the organization grow its professional development opportunities, a position he still holds.


    For additional Oral Histories, please visit www.namm.com/library, and to learn more about artistpro.com Publishing, please visit https://artistpro.com/.

    Shipping Webinar: Delivery Delays and Other Updates

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    Shipping Webinar: Delivery delays and other updates

    Experts Weigh in on the Shipping Crisis, Offer Tips on How to Navigate Transportation Delays and Rising Costs

    Disruptions in the availability of shipping containers and routes, backlogged ports, trucking shortages, and warehouse storage fees are causing major issues for music, pro audio and live event product manufacturers, distributors, retailers and, ultimately, for consumers who face delivery delays and increased pricing on goods. NAMM Public Affairs gathered a panel of international shipping experts for a webinar to get to the bottom of this complicated and multifaceted crisis. Host Mary Luehrsen, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations engaged Jonathan Gold, VP Supply Chain and Customs Policy, National Retail Federation, Karyn Booth, Partner and Practice Group Leader, Thompson Hine LLP and general counsel for the National Industrial Transportation League, and Armin Zertor and Carley Jones with Masterpiece International in a conversation that covers the origins of the current shipping backlog, explains where it currently stands, and provides suggestions for how to mitigate delays in receiving products from overseas. 

    Suggestions for Getting Products from Overseas

    • Stagger your warehouse staff hours, incentivize the warehouse staff, and document flow to facilitate faster unload and reload.
    • Advanced bookings, especially for time sensitive cargo, anticipate the possibility of delays with flights and sailing schedules. The sooner you book your freight the better. Do not wait. When you have freight coming planning on returning after and event or repair, make the return booking in advance as well. Bookings can be updated and amended, better to secure space when possible.
    • Be creative with your bookings, consider alternative P.O.D, for example, freight coming from EU, it may be more beneficial to consider an east coast P.O.D. and then route the ultimate destination via truck. Keeping in mind that trucking shortages are also a real issue, so it’s important to schedule the trucking in advance as well. The more notice we can give the vendors the better. Have a backup plan.
    • Consider Air freight as an option vs sea freight when possible.
    • Exhibitors from Europe and Middle East have the option to ship only to USA East Coast or Gulf ports and then cargo can be trucked to Anaheim.
    • Shipments from Asia can be shipped to less congested ports such as Oakland, Seattle or Portland and trucked to Anaheim.
    • The general service contractor will store your cargo 30 days in advance.
    • The international freight forwarder will set up a storage program for minimal fees so that early shipping can be accommodated.

    Take Action

    1. View "Shipping Webinar: Delays and Other Updates."
    2. Read Webinar Transcript.
    3. Contact your representatives now and tell them to help ease supply chain disruptions by cosponsoring the Ocean Shipping Reform Act using the National Retail Federation's OSRA21 Grassroots Tool.  
    4. File a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission.
    5. Communicate with your entire supply chain, including manufacturers, shippers, carriers, and storage facilities about your needs and deadlines.

    Resources

    H.R.4996 - Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021

    National Retail Federation Press Release

    Slate, “The Absolute Simplest Explanation for America’s Supply Chain Woes." 

    The New York Times, The Daily Podcast, “The Great Supply Chain Disruption.

     

     

                 

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    Jason Mraz

    Interview Date:
    July 7, 2021
    Job Title:
    Musician, Songwriter
    Tags:

    Jason Mraz has won the hearts of millions by the way he expresses himself musically. During his NAMM Oral History interview, Jason displayed that same passion as he recalled the important role his music teachers and choir directors played in fueling his love for singing. Jason recounted the looks on the faces of his classmates when he first stood up in front of them to sing, realizing that he had the ability to capture people's attention. Jason has been able to relive that feeling over and over again throughout his career and takes pride in the fact that his singing and the songs he has written still can convey strong feelings and emotions to his listeners. He also took the time to provide the backstories to such songs as “I’m Yours” and “93 Million Miles,” the latter of which he wrote for his parents to thank them for always encouraging him to pursue his dreams in music.

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    Jason Mraz

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