The New 2017 CITES Regulation on Rosewood
The Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) held a conference from September 24 - October 4, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa where it was decided that all species of rosewood under the genus Dalbergia will be protected. The new regulation takes effect on January 2, 2017 that calls for documentation when shipping instruments internationally that contain any amount of any kind of rosewood protected under CITES Appendix II.
While Brazilian Rosewood is currently under CITES protection (those laws will stay in place), this move places all the other nearly 300 species of rosewood under similar regulation.
This includes the East Indian rosewood and Honduran rosewood - as well as woods like cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa) and African blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon) - that are widely used in the manufacturing of stringed instruments, marimbas and some woodwinds.
When shipping musical instruments that include any amount (i.e. fingerboard, back, sides, binding) of Dalbergia out of the European Union as part of a commercial transaction, each one must be accompanied by a CITES (re-)export certificate.
What this means for Daniel Slaman archtop jazz guitars after January 2017:
Daniel Slaman Guitars is loyal to sustainable forestry practices and certification and will comply to the new regulations in the following way:
1) Daniel Slaman Guitars will by preference not use any rosewood species of the genus Dalbergia on archtop jazz guitars built after January 2017, which is not difficult to do and will not harm performance of the guitar in any way (fingerboard and bridge will be ebony from the genus Diospyros crassiflora which does not require CITES documentation)
2) Daniel Slaman Guitars can not and will not sell or ship a guitar with any rosewood internationally (meaning outside the European Union); the reason being that acquiring the CITES permits and dealing with the extra expense (up to Euro 150) and time involved is to much of a hassle for a small company. Shipment will be delayed 4 to 8 weeks, while the permit is being processed. The country of destination authorities can also require the customer to submit paperwork and pay extra fees related to the CITES transaction.
3) However Daniel Slaman Guitars can and will sell and ship guitars that have rosewood parts inside the European Union without needing permits; this is totally legal and in compliance with CITES regulations as no CITES documentation is necessary on a sale within the European Union.
In general Slaman Guitars will strongly advise new customers with commissioned guitars to be built after January 2017 not to have any rosewood (Dalbergia) species on their guitar, which contains the added benefit that they can also travel with their Daniel Slaman guitar internationally (or re-sell it internationally) without trouble or having to deal with CITES documentation. Ebony (from the genus Diospyros crassiflora (Africa) which does not belong to the protected Dalbergia / rosewood group) is the perfect wood for fingerboards and bridges and can be exported outside the European Union without needing CITES documentation.
Slaman Guitars is as concerned as anyone about the well-being of the planet; therefore Slaman Guitars will comply to the new international CITES regulations but also note that the new regulations are not installed because of all 300 rosewood species of the genus Dalbergia would be threatened; the regulations are installed because custom officials can not distinguish one rosewood species from another, so it was decided at the 2016 CITES Convention to therefore place all Dalbergia rosewood under Appendix II protection as of from January 2017.
For some species of rosewood this is totally unnecessary; for example for East Indian rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia, widely used in guitar manufacturing) which for decades comes from controlled plantations in India, Indonesia and Pakistan and not from illegal harvest from endangered tropical forests.
Nevertheless Daniel Slaman Guitars is dedicated to purchasing and using wood for the Slaman guitars that has been sustainably, ethically and legally harvested and will comply with CITES regulations, helping to enforce them.
Daniel Slaman Guitars, December 2016