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CITES UPDATE Musical Instrument exemptions about to be announced


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YAY...  For once common sense prevails... Of course someone should have thought about his before they made the rule.. But hey ho...


We are delighted to bring you the news that the CITES meeting in Geneva have voted IN FAVOUR of allowing exemptions for musical instruments made with rosewood…

As you know, the International Coalition from our industry had made a compelling case for these changes and we are now just waiting for the final ratification, which is due in a matter of hours.

Here is the very good news about all four items that were the focus of our groups’ efforts. All of these items have completed consideration at the committee level and will be up for formal adoption by the CoP by the end of the day tomorrow.

 Prop. 52 Dalbergia Annotation #15

The proposal by Canada and the EU was accepted by consensus, with the part c exemption for finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories – and the related definitions that we supported – fully intact! Revisions were made to part b. of the annotation to expand the weight limit to 10kg per shipment, to accommodate handicrafts, both shipped and as personal effects. The proposal also includes a mandate for the Secretariat to undertake a study to assess the impact of Annotation #15’s exemption for finished products up to 10kg per shipment and finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories. If undertaken, the results of the study would be reviewed by the Standing Committee, to potentially inform an amendment proposal for CoP19. In other words, the discussions about further improving Annotation #15 will continue in the next three years.

It is of note that the Annotations Committee will also be re-established to review all annotations. And, in a separate decision, a mandate was created to study rosewood and potentially convene related workshops before CoP19.

The new exemptions go into effect 90 days after adoption.

Prop. 57 Cedrela

The proposal from Ecuador was annotated with #6 to require permits only for logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets, and plywood, with a limited application to neotropical species. This means that musical instruments containing cedrela will not require CITES permits.

 Prop. 13 Mammoth

The proposal was withdrawn by Israel, in response to objections from the Secretariat and Parties, primarily to do with the extinct species being outside the scope of the Convention. A new decision was accepted, directing the Secretariat – subject to external funding – to conduct a study on how trade in mammoth impacts trade in elephant ivory. If undertaken, the findings would be reported to the Standing Committee, which might inform proposals for CoP19.

Doc. 56 Simplified Procedures (relevant to the Musical Instrument Certificate)

A resolution was approved to initiate an new effort to streamline and simplify permit requirements for “the international movement of CITES specimens where the trade will have a negligible impact on the conservation of the species concerned.” This language was added and endorsed by the US and the EU with the intention that it will address the non-commercial cross-border movement of musical instruments, and result in a proposal for CoP19 to reduce the burdens associated with the CITES Musical Instrument Certificate.

The MIA office will naturally have further detail on all of the above for any of you that require it, contact paulmc@mia.org.uk

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FWIF, taking this discussion in somewhat of another direction here since Richlite was mentioned, I have a spectacular LP Custom with Richlite and it is a great guitar.  I know it's definitely not anywhere near a preferred material for a fretboard on this forum with most regular contributors, but the guitar I have plays great and really I don't pay any attention to what the fretboard is made of while I'm in the middle of a song.  It's a very stable material AFAICT...  Haven't had any issues with it at all.  I have 9 guitars that variously comprise of fretboards made with maple, rosewood, ebony, and Richlite...  It really isn't a big deal what material I have on my guitar that I intend on playing - not adoring all day in its case like some collector.  Either way, I respect others' opinions on the material and all that matters to me is that I like what I have.  I've never been booed off stage for my fretboard material.  My playing will do that, haha!  But no, the biggest reasons I have come across from others about why the disdain for the material on a Gibson such as a LP Custom is the cost (I want ebony or real wood on my LPC) and something like a traditional type of material not being used on a "traditional" instrument.  Not much comes back about the tonal comparison surprisingly - like ebony or any real wood sounds so much superior to Richlite.  It is definitely not a garbage material - none in the least.  Here's my LPC with Richlite:


Just a "standard" LPC from 2015 with the flamed top.  Never have I regretted this acquisition; it plays, sounds, and looks great. 

But to each and to their own I suppose.  It's not my preferred material, but I don't look away from a guitar that has Richlite obviously.  After all, I willfully accepted the charges on my LPC from initial purchase to the end of the GC 45-day return window. 


Oh, wanted to share another pic too.  Here's my LPs in my collection of 9 guitars:


left to right:

- 2010 1968 Reissue Triburst

- 2019 1959 Reissue Sunrise Teaburst

- 2015 Triburst

- 1994 Standard Cherry Sunburst

You can tell I like the triburst finish, can't you 😄

Edited by NighthawkChris
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I'm glad things are looking promising at last. Crazy situation to be in from the start.

2 hours ago, billroy said:

what's this a picture of, pretty cool!


A Baobab tree.

1 hour ago, NighthawkChris said:

...Richlite was mentioned.........I know it's definitely not anywhere near a preferred material for a fretboard on this forum with most regular contributors, but the guitar I have plays great ......It's a very stable material AFAICT...  Haven't had any issues with it at all...



I, too, like Richlite. I have three guit's with ebony 'boards (and none with Richlite) and IMO the Richlite is just as good as a material if not better. I do understand the reluctance, of course, and agree with most of the thoughts behind the reluctance but as a material Richlite can't be faulted.

Lovely group, Chris. Bags me the R9...



Edited by pippy
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Yeah, was thinking of what I would like to do next (R?).  Right now, been very content with these guitars as they are great players - especially the R9.  Gibson did something right when they made this guitar, that's about all I can say about it.  Honestly though, I think that it has cured my GAS - but then again, I thought other guitars have done this too, haha!  But in all seriousness, I just don't know what else I could ask for in a LP.  Really love the Custombuckers too.  I mean WOW!  They are easily my favorite Gibson pickups - hands down! 

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