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What do I need to do to comply with CITES regulations?

Update: On August 28, 2019, the Conference on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) in Geneva, Switzerland voted to exempt finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories from CITES restrictions on all rosewood species except Brazilian rosewood. The restrictions on Brazilian rosewood, whose endangered species status and restrictions predate those on other kinds of rosewood, remain in place.

As of November 26, 2019, the exemption for musical instruments is now in effect, according to the CITES convention. The US Fish and Wildlife Service will no longer issue permits for the export of finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories, bringing an end to much of the headaches that have plagued the musical instruments industry for the last several years.

According to the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), CITES member countries outside of the US may still have restrictions in place as they move toward abiding by the musical instruments exemption. NAMM advises anyone exporting instruments from the US to "check with the recipient's country to see what permits, if any, are required."

Note: The European Union will take up to four weeks (or possibly longer) to implement the exemption, according to France's musical instruments trade group CSFI. Until that time, exporting instruments containing rosewood from the EU will still require an export permit. As of November 26, an import permit will still be required for EU member states, but when applying for an import permit, you no longer need to have an accompanying export permit or "CITES Appendix" form. For more info, check out CSFI's website.


What is CITES?

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates the import, (re)export, sale or movement of endangered wild animals and plants. Appendices I, II and III to the Convention are lists of species afforded different levels or types of protection from over-exploitation (see How CITES works).

Why is this important when transacting online?

Transacting across borders will typically require additional forms compared to a domestic order. In addition to the customs forms that are typically included with a carrier’s label, it may be necessary to include further documentation with your shipment if the item is made of a restricted species or material.

What should sellers do before shipping internationally?

If you are selling an item to a buyer from another country, please be sure to check with the CITES Management Authority for the country of export and import prior to negotiating an international transaction or processing a shipment. U.S. seller’s can procure forms and information via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

What do I need to do if I'm buying an item from another country?

We advise messaging the seller before making a purchase or before the item is shipped. It is never a bad idea to ask if any part of the item being purchased falls under the CITES regulations.

Many countries require an import permit in addition to an export permit. In most cases you’ll need to acquire both permits before an item is put into transit. Because laws vary from country to country, you’ll want to check with the CITES Management Authority to make sure you have the most accurate and up to date information

What can Reverb do to help?

Reverb support is always happy to assist with any questions about international shipments however, it is the responsibility of the exporter and importer to ensure instruments are shipped and received successfully.

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