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Thread: Brazilian CITES angst redux…..

  1. #1
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    Brazilian CITES angst redux…..

    Triggered by another inflammatory and likely misinterpreted thread on TGP, this issue still brings up some questions for me.

    Just suppose I had a, say, original Santana Brazilian from the numbered run (again, not saying I actually do or don't, but IF I did ; - ))……will this be OK to sell here in the US with no CITES documentation? Same for, perhaps, AP guitars from the 2006-2007 period with Brazzy fingerboards, again, IF I had one.

    I wouldn't mind if I couldn't sell them outside of the US, but will there be restrictions for sales within? If so, can PRS provide any documentation for older Brazilian guitars to enable legal sales within the US?

    I know confusion probably still reigns supreme on this issue, but take a shot anyway if you think you're close.

  2. #2
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    I just bought a Custom 24 Brazilian edition with zero issues and no documents. As long as the wood was imported into the country before the law went into effect there should be no problems. Remember how long they age their wood for too, chances are it has been in this country for quite some time.

  3. #3
    Bobble Head Moderator JMintzer's Avatar
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    It's fine to sell in the US...
    ---Jamie---

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  4. #4
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Think of CITES as a passport. That instrument, without CITES documents, cant cross any country borders. It can, however, stay within the country it is currently residing it (presumably the US).
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    Senior Member Jazzedout's Avatar
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    I was thinking about that the other day while playing my 2005 513.
    I am not sure if I could travel with my 513 inside Europe and this is an instrument originally bought in Europe in 2005 (not imported used from the US) although I do not think there should be an issue while moving in the EU, since there is no customs control or anything while traveling in the EU.
    Should guitars, originally sold overseas in 2005, have some kind of CITES clearance in order to be imported and sold in other areas of the world anyway?
    What if I wanted to send the guitar to the PTC?
    1992 PRS Cu24 Tortoise Shell, "10",Birds, Reg Neck
    2005 PRS 513 Brazilian Rosewood Orange

  6. #6
    Senior Member shinksma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzedout View Post
    I was thinking about that the other day while playing my 2005 513.
    I am not sure if I could travel with my 513 inside Europe and this is an instrument originally bought in Europe in 2005 (not imported used from the US) although I do not think there should be an issue while moving in the EU, since there is no customs control or anything while traveling in the EU.
    Should guitars, originally sold overseas in 2005, have some kind of CITES clearance in order to be imported and sold in other areas of the world anyway?
    What if I wanted to send the guitar to the PTC?
    Somewhere on the PRS website, or maybe it's this forum, it is stated that in-bound and outbound shipping to PRS PTC can be a big PITA for brazzy-wood guitars. And that PRS sometimes has to jump through annoying, and possibly expensive, customs-related hoops to help out those foreign customers. And the PRS website certainly says this on the AP page:

    *Instruments containing Brazilian Rosewood that are marked with “USA Only” or “Custom Built for the USA” on the back of the headstock are for the purpose of sale ONLY in the U.S. When a guitar is shipped overseas from the U.S., a re-export permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service certifying that the Brazilian Rosewood components are from a lawful source is required. In addition, some countries require a separate permit to import a guitar with Brazilian Rosewood components. Finally, a number of countries, including the countries making up the European Union, have barred the importation of Brazilian Rosewood altogether, except under certain very narrow circumstances.
    United States law does not require supporting documentation to be shipped with a guitar containing Brazilian Rosewood components sold in the United States. Therefore while the wood used on the above mentioned instruments is qualified for sale in the U.S., the instrument cannot be exported from the U.S., nor can certification be obtained for the exportation of the instrument. Only Brazilian Rosewood that was harvested before June of 1992 (when the wood was listed as a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)) and is accompanied by a CITES export permit from Brazil can be shipped in foreign commerce. (In normal circumstances, the CITES document does not travel with the specific guitar to the end customer). The Brazilian Rosewood used by PRS Guitars is obtained in compliance with these conditions.
    But as mentioned, there are no issues for anything staying within the current country of possession.

    I really like the look of brazzy fretboards, and if I ever buy a PRS with brazzy wood it would likely stay in the US forever, so I'm not concerned about exporting, but I gotta wonder whether it is worthwhile for many people to pay more the wood and then not be able to take it on tour out of the country, etc.

  7. #7
    The Force is weak in ^^ mezzio's Avatar
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    I was actually just watching a video about Santanas gear, pretty sure it was a PG Rig Rundown, but don't quote me, ill look for it if anyone is interested.

    Anywho, his #1 is equipped with a BR neck and fretboard, and they had to have another identical instrument made, sans BR, so he could take it out of the country. It was stated that they don't hold CITES paperwork, and can't get it, so the original guitar runs the risk of being seized if he took it out of the country.

    If PRS can't give Santana CITES paperwork, there's probably a slim chance anyone else will be able to get it. That being said, your guitar can't leave the country, period. I suppose you could try smuggling it in to Canada, maybe even Mexico, but then you're just possibly causing yourself or whoever buys it a huge headache.

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    Junior Member omikl's Avatar
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    Ok. So I have a Y2K AP Custom 24. Brazilian Rosewood or not? I'd hate to have to sell it if & when I leave the country I currently reside in...
    00 Cu24AP, 02 McStd, 02 Cu2210T, 06 McSoapBRW

  9. #9
    Senior Member shinksma's Avatar
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    OK, stupid question of the day regarding brazzy rosewood: (just remember kids, there's no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid people)

    If omikl doesn't know his guitar has brazzy wood or not, how do the customs guys know? Do they have a database of all suspected brazzy-content makes and models, do they know what to look for in terms of visual and textural appearance, or do they just drill a sample out and run it through the mass-spectrometer? Or do they just look for the "USA Only" label on the back of the headstock?

  10. #10
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    In the past couple of years Customs officials all over the world have been getting substantial training in how to spot Brazilian rosewood and other black market wood such as Madagascar rosewood. There are also an increasing number of scientific tests and labs available to Customs officials to confirm the identification.

    Something to keep in mind is that to be legal you must have a CITES certificate from both the government of the country you are taking it out of as well as the country you are taking it into. And if they seize your guitar, not only do you lose it permanently, but they can fine you as well. And if you are found to be running a business of illegally exporting/importing such guitars then they can arrest you and put you in jail.

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