CITES

User avatar
lagartija
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10766
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: CITES

Post by lagartija » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:32 am

andreas777 wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:58 pm
lagartija wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:06 pm
Just make sure you have that statement in writing....on official US Government letterhead.
The statement is taken from the official FWS PDF that zavaletas posted above.
In my view this is strange. Assume I commission a guitar at a luthier in the US and two years later that luthier sends the guitar to me in Germany. Then this is treated as a commercial activity, but if I fly to the US and take the guitar back in the aircraft then this is treated as a noncommercial activity because the sale took place within the US.
Yes, I know the quote was from the F&WS page. I said that tongue in cheek. Sort of. I would print it out with the web page address visible just in case I came across someone from F&WS who hadn’t read that page. The officer on duty has a lot of latitude and I’m not sure that all of them are up to date on every type of situation.

However, the main point is that if something is shipped from the US to another country, it is considered export / import and because shipping forwarders must fill out the bill of lading with the harmonized tariff code, it is “commercial “.
If you go to the US and buy a guitar, play it in your hotel room, then board a plane for home and carry it aboard as personal property, then US Customs doesn’t care. All the best to you for supporting our economy by visiting and buying stuff to take home. Move along...nothing to see here... There are no outgoing Customs checkpoints for regular commercial flights. Only if you are suspected of doing something illegal and they have received information about it would you be stopped.
Your home country might charge duty on it, though. If the reverse happened and I came to Europe, bought a guitar and carried it with me, I doubt I would be bothered by Customs in Europe as I left. When I arrived in the US, unless I had been stationed overseas for two years with that guitar in my possession, it is considered dutiable goods. Depending on the item, any duty due in excess of my yearly allowance would need to be paid. If the item was prohibited or needed CITES paperwork and I didn’t have it, it would be confiscated or impounded. If I did not declare it, then the guitar could be confiscated and I might well be be fined. All of these rules and what is prohibited and what is not are spelled out in a brochure labeled “Before You Go”, published by the Customs Service and given to international travelers or is available online or at International airports.
Most commercial exports are not performed by civilian courier on commercial flights.
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

Sharkbait
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: CITES

Post by Sharkbait » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:43 pm

CITES permit requirements are a different consideration from payment of tax/duty, even though both relate to the same act of shipment/carrying of goods from 1 country to another. They are independent factors.

The tax due arises from import tax (similar/equivalent in percentage to sales tax or VAT) imposed when goods above a certain threshold are imported into a country. These usually apply to all goods, and are usually a percentage of the value of those goods.

CITES permit requirements, on the other hand, only apply where the goods being shipped/transferred between countries contains CITES-restricted plant or animal material. They apply irrespective of the value of the goods, although there may be exemptions from permit requirements, such as goods carried as personal effects where the quantity of the CITES-restricted material used in the goods is small. Appendix 1 materials are governed more strictly than Appendix 2 or 3 materials - exemptions like what I mention above don’t apply. The main difficulty about Appendix 1 materials is having sufficient evidence to prove the age of the materials in order to obtain the CITES export permit. I think obtaining the import permit will usually be smooth if the export permit is in order.

A guitar may be subject to 1 but not the other, or both, or neither: e.g.
1. An expensive guitar containing Indian rosewood - will need CITES permits if shipped by luthier to customer in a other country, and the customer will probably pay import duty for his country. But if the customer flies to the luthier’s country & carries it home with him, he’ll only need to pay import duty and not need the CITES permit because he can get a “personal effects” exemption.
2. An expensive maple guitar containing no rosewood - will be subject to import duty but not CITES requirements.
3. A dirt-cheap mahogany guitar containing no rosewood - no CITES requirements and no import duty

The OP asked about shipping a Brazilian rosewood guitar from the US to the Netherlands - yes, a CITES certificate is required. Brazilian rosewood is on Appendix 1 of CITES and will always require CITES permits, both to export out of the US, and to import into the Netherlands. But having a law/regulation in place and the enforcement of it may not necessarily coincide, hence lagartija’s statement to the effect that Customs doesn’t care if you carry a newly-purchased guitar on your way out of a country will probably be accurate. But it’s pertinent that players who carry their BRW guitars with them do still a risk (if they don’t have a musical passport for their guitar) that their violation of CITES can result in confiscation & destruction of their guitar.

User avatar
lagartija
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10766
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: CITES

Post by lagartija » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:44 pm

👍🏽⬆️ Great post. Explains the situation in a much clearer way than my attempt. ;-)
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

User avatar
andreas777
Posts: 672
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:00 pm
Location: Germany

Re: CITES

Post by andreas777 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:31 pm

Sharkbait wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:43 pm
CITES permit requirements, on the other hand, only apply where the goods being shipped/transferred between countries contains CITES-restricted plant or animal material.
This is simply wrong, but we have already discussed this topic here in the forum.
Happiness is when what you think what you say and what you do are in harmony.

ChristianSchwengeler
Luthier
Posts: 1149
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:18 pm
Location: Lisbon Portugal

Re: CITES

Post by ChristianSchwengeler » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:34 pm

Sharkbait wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:43 pm
An expensive guitar containing Indian rosewood - will need CITES permits if shipped by luthier to customer in a other country, and the customer will probably pay import duty for his country. But if the customer flies to the luthier’s country & carries it home with him, he’ll only need to pay import duty and not need the CITES permit because he can get a “personal effects” exemption.
This is different from what has been stated before, and I would like to have this confirmed. This means as long as you carry the instrument yourself back to the US nobody will care what it is made of as long as it is not BRW, and as long as you declare it. Any experience how much you pay in taxes to bring a 4000 $ guitar into the US?Also wonder what happens if you don't declare and when they find out. Do you pay simply a fine?

What I find is that there may be some difference between what you should do and what is the regular practice of musicians who travel. Not that I really want to invite to break the law, but things in the real world are not so linear. I guess this has a lot to do with the mentalities in each country. I’m Swiss originally and most people are very strict about this kind of things, while in Portugal people will think that you are a real fool if you take this all so serious....

User avatar
lagartija
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10766
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: CITES

Post by lagartija » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:41 pm

andreas777 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:31 pm
Sharkbait wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:43 pm
CITES permit requirements, on the other hand, only apply where the goods being shipped/transferred between countries contains CITES-restricted plant or animal material.
This is simply wrong, but we have already discussed this topic here in the forum.
The Lacy Act is a law that applies in the US and also affects commerce *within* the US and shipping items across State lines. There are no inspections or CITES permits needed to cross State borders within the US; the only inspections are for items considered dangerous on public transport. There are agricultural inspections at the borders of some states to protect crops from pests brought by fresh fruit and vegetables. But it is ILLEGAL to carry Appendix I listed items (alive or dead) across State lines. If you ship items between States, then all Federal and State laws of interstate commerce apply. So if LMI wants to sell and ship to me several sets of EI Rosewood, they should supply a CITES certificate because they are shipping listed items across State lines and I would be unable to make a guitar from the wood and then send it anywhere without a CITES permit. If I were to travel to LMI and put the wood in my car and drive it back to Massachusetts, I would still need the CITES permit....although I would not be stopped from driving them home, I still would not be able to sell the guitar to anyone and ship it to them out of State without the proper paperwork.

What that page from F&WS was saying was that if you bought a guitar in the US and left the country with it, you would not be stopped by F&WS. However, that means that you are trying to enter YOUR country without the proper paperwork if that is what is required....assuming that the item has only Appendix II materials in it. The new rules on all rosewood species are interpreted diffently by different countries.

*Nobody* can take Appendix I materials across the borders of States within the US, or across borders between countries without a proper CITES permit. If carrying a guitar with BR parts in the US, officially you would need a CITES permit (to comply also with Lacey Act), but you are unlikely to be checked by anyone since there are no border inspections (except agricultural) between states. That does not make it legal. EI Rosewood parts on your guitar (if you are carrying your instrument and not shipping it) are considered "personal effects" and then the new CITES rules governing EI Rosewood by weight would apply. This is basically what the F&WS page was saying.

Coming *into* the US, all items should have proper CITES paperwork. Without it, it will be impounded or confiscated. If you did not declare it, you intentionally broke the law and could be fined or sent to prison.
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

ChristianSchwengeler
Luthier
Posts: 1149
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:18 pm
Location: Lisbon Portugal

Re: CITES

Post by ChristianSchwengeler » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:24 pm

It is getting more and more confusing! I am happy that I do not live in the US. On the other hand apendiz II did exist allready before for Madagascar Rosewood for example, but it made a distinction between wood and finished items, if I understood it right at that time you could ship internationally an instrument with madagascar, but not the wood without declaration.

ChristianSchwengeler
Luthier
Posts: 1149
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:18 pm
Location: Lisbon Portugal

Re: CITES

Post by ChristianSchwengeler » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:32 pm

I must say that I don't like to be the last replying and I found the explanation about what happens with CITES II guitars, and dealing with it within the US, and bringing it into, did not convince me at all.

Some say if you already own the instrument, no matter how long, it is your personal belonging which goes into the less than 10 kg section and from my point of view you would have simply to pay the taxes when bringing it into the US, and there is nothing to prove as long as it is not BRW.

I don't understand why this is all so confusing and I would like to hear some real life experience from people. One thing is the law and an other thing is how it is applied.

User avatar
prawnheed
Posts: 579
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:07 pm

Re: CITES

Post by prawnheed » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:50 pm

ChristianSchwengeler wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:32 pm
I must say that I don't like to be the last replying and I found the explanation about what happens with CITES II guitars, and dealing with it within the US, and bringing it into, did not convince me at all.

Some say if you already own the instrument, no matter how long, it is your personal belonging which goes into the less than 10 kg section and from my point of view you would have simply to pay the taxes when bringing it into the US, and there is nothing to prove as long as it is not BRW.

I don't understand why this is all so confusing and I would like to hear some real life experience from people. One thing is the law and an other thing is how it is applied.
The problem is that you are asking for legal advice on a music forum. To get a definitive answer you need to ask a customs lawyer. Any real life experience should also be taken with a pinch of salt as, just because someone got away with something once, it doesn't mean that the same thing will happen to you.

Return to “Advice on buying, selling or valuing a guitar”