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Information about CITES

CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) - also known as the Washington Convention on International Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora - is an international program for the protection of wildlife.

In autumn 2016, some species of wood, which are also used for making musical instruments, were added to the list of endangered plants - among them some Bubinga and Rosewood species as well as the so-called African Rosewood. These tree species have therefore been subject to strict sales and export regulations since January 2017.

Many guitars, drums, violins and orchestral instruments currently contain endangered species of wood. On many guitars, for example, the rosewood fretboards, but also some classical instruments and accessories such as batons contain one of the above mentioned types of wood. For musical instruments this is usually only a few grams, but since there is no lower limit for CITES, every instrument is affected where even one gram of an endangered species of wood has been used - even if the wood comes from sustainable and certified cultivation.

Of course it was not possible for us or for other dealers and manufacturers of musical instruments to sell off all stocks and develop new versions of the instruments with sustainable materials within three months - so there are still many instruments with one of the above mentioned wood species on the market, but their sale is now subject to special conditions.

Consequences for manufacturers, dealers and musicians

Since January 2nd 2017, the sale and export of products with CITES materials has been severely restricted and involves an enormous amount of regulatory bureaucracy. Any instrument imported into the EU must be registered and approved by the authorities. As a customer and owner of an instrument, you must also present this special permit if required, e.g. if you wish to resell the instrument at a later date.

For deliveries to countries outside the EU, a complicated and sometimes lengthy approval procedure is necessary. This may delay shipping for several weeks and may also result in additional charges in the recipient country. In some countries not all specifications have yet been implemented, so that CITES products cannot currently be shipped to these countries. 

Please check the regulations in your country before making your purchase.

Consequences for our customers in Switzerland:

If you order an instrument with rosewood, you have to expect a delivery time of at least 14 days, because we first have to request an import permit from the Swiss authorities for your instrument. In addition, Swiss customs often charge a small handling fee.

If you transport your guitar across the border in a car, it usually goes without control or we have not yet received any information that customers have therefore been stopped at customs. 

However: if you purchased your guitar with Rosewood components from us locally, and you want to get the VAT back when importing into Switzerland, then you have to expect that your guitar will be held at the border if you do not have an import permit. However, this approval must be obtained by us in advance, which usually takes at least 2 weeks. If you purchase the instrument directly at our premises, it is advisable that we first request the necessary documents and then send it to you free of charge in Switzerland.

Effects of CITES on your existing equipment

You can register your existing equipment with your local authority as "pre-acquired goods". All you need are your invoices/purchase receipts, which you can download from our customer centre at any time. So you have it in writing that you purchased the instruments before January 2, 2017, when the used materials were not yet classified as endangered.

Resale of your used instruments to a country outside the EU

If you as a customer sell a guitar with rosewood components to a country outside the EU (e.g. Switzerland), today or later, and ship it with a shipping company such as DHL, DPD or UPS, the guitar goes through customs. The Swiss customs intercepts almost every guitar with rosewood and requires an import permit for the instrument. We can obtain this approval if the instrument was purchased from us and you provide us with the serial number of your guitar. We will then request the necessary documents based on your serial number and your invoice.