CITES Standing Committee Offers Proposed Exemption

An international working group comprised of musical instrument industry representatives completed a major step at the CITES Standing Committee in Sochi, Russia, when the group recommended modification to the annotation covering the listing of all dalbergia species, according to NAMM. The proposed modification would exempt all finished musical instruments, finished musical instrument parts and finished musical instrument accessories containing Appendix II dalbergia species from needing to obtain an export permit to ship these products internationally, whether for commercial or noncommercial use.

The recommendation emerged at the CITES Standing Committee meeting held in Sochi Oct. 1–5 where delegates from the CITES member countries agreed that commercial and noncommercial trade in musical instruments is not detrimental to the threatened species under consideration. The group recommended a path forward to a revised annotation, which was adopted by the Standing Committee. At present, the dalbergia statement prepared by the industry working group calls for the use of harmonized tariff codes in order to apply an existing reference point. A revised and final version of the Standing Committee's recommendations will be announced soon, according to NAMM.

"The outcome is the best we could have hoped for at this point in the process as it would exempt both commercial and noncommercial trade in musical instruments, parts and accessories from permit requirements," said Heather Noonan, vice president of Advocacy for the League of American Orchestras. "It is important to note that there will be many more steps involved in this order for this recommendation by those assembled in Sochi to move on to a final new annotation adopted by all parties next May at the Conference of the Parties."

"We are grateful for the ability to have actively engaged in the CITES process, and we're hopeful for a positive outcome in Sri Lanka," added Scott Paul, the director of natural resource sustainability at Taylor Guitars. "At this point, however, what came out of the Standing Committee is only a recommendation and not a formal proposal, but coming out of the meeting with a single, helpful, recommendation is important."

The proposal will need to be put in the form of a formal resolution, sponsored by a government body and formally submitted for consideration at the 18th Conference of the parties in Sri Lanka in May 2019. If adopted, the change would go into effect midsummer 2019.