CITES update – Rosewood and Ivory


An update from Paul McManus:

I was involved, as usual, in the latest DEFRA/APHA User Group Meeting last Friday and a number of points were raised either by the authorities or me, on behalf of the industry…

Some key points emerged:

  1. I explained the huge impact the rosewood legislation is having on the industry and quoted the latest USA statistics showing imports were down 20% on the year for guitars and exports down 25%.
  2. Many other music industry heads from around the world are now getting to the various CITES meetings pressing for simplification, especially for rosewood. Chris Martin of Martin Guitars being a good example.
  3. A working party of the authorities is considering if the detailing of rosewood species could be simplified.
  4. I made the point that is it extremely difficult to test and identify what species of wood anyone is dealing with (eg second hand instruments)…even to the point of establishing if it actually is rosewood!
  5. As an example, eBay have recently seized guitars sent from the USA to the UK and are planning to “liquidate” the stock that they believe to be rosewood. The truth is that the brand involved has never used rosewood in manufacturing guitars!
  6. There is an ongoing debate on the pros and cons of the 10kg rule for rosewood.
  7. The authorities continue to apologise for lead times in processing applications whilst they struggle to fill the various staff vacancies….
  8. I raised the evidence we have the some other Countries are clearly issuing “blank” export certificates that are detailed at a later date!
  9. I updated the meeting that the coalition of MIA, Musicians’ Union, Association of British Orchestras and the International Fund for Animal Welfare are still due to present the case for Ivory exemption (made between 1947 and 1989) to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Endangered Species sometime after after the summer recess.


The Border control authorities were at the meeting and made the point that THOUSANDS of rosewood-made instruments were being seized at all the major ports in the EU (including the UK).

These instruments were simply arriving without the correct paperwork and they were surprised at the scale of the numbers and some of the major brands involved……..

They have offered (if it is of interest to you) to run a special training session for our industry.

If you would be interested in partaking, please let me know?