After a nearly two-year CITES ban on the movement of rosewood crossing international borders, unless accompanied by the relevant paperwork, it looks like the ban has finally been overturned.
CITES vs. Rosewood: The turnaround
According to media reports, trading restrictions on rosewood have been revised by the relevant CITES committee allowing all ‘finished’ instruments with rosewood, all their parts and spares, to be traded freely. This ends the restrictions previously in place for musical instruments, which will now apply only to the movement of rosewood as a raw material across international borders.
That makes sense to me. Why would you want to confiscate or destroy instruments legitimately built using rosewood, especially vintage ones or ones where the wood had been sourced in a way that is environmentally friendly? According to NPR, the 2017 restrictions cost the MI industry tens of millions of dollars without a big impact on rosewood conservation. That’s quite a big economic effect on the companies involved.
Musicians and Industry freedom
This new ruling will mean that musicians can travel freely without fear of their beloved instruments getting confiscated or destroyed. But I hope the musical instrument industry will start to think more carefully about what woods they use and how it will impact the environment going forward.
The trade in raw-material rosewood still remains regulated and is subject to permits granted by individual countries. Which, I believe, is as it should be. We need to be far more conscious of what we use and how it affects our planet in the long-term.
You can read the full report on the NPR link below.