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 Post subject: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:59 am 
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FYI:

Recently I sold a flute on Ebay and mailed the flute to Ireland via Ebay’s prearranged Global Shipping Center. This morning I received a note:
Quote:
“Dear Jordan,

We are writing to inform you that your recent Global Shipping Center transaction cannot be completed.

The item was stopped at the Global Shipping Center, and has been restricted from international shipment. The item will not be shipped forward to its final destination.
No further action is needed at this time. We’ve let your buyer know why the item couldn’t be delivered.

Under the terms of the Global Shipping Program your buyer will be refunded automatically, and you are entitled to keep the proceeds from the transaction. “


I believe the crux of the problem is; Customs believes the flute is made of Blackwood. But the flute is in fact made of Cocobolo and I stated so in my Ebay listing.

I was surprised at the inexpensive postage through the Global Shipping Center (same price as domestic) and the brevity of their customs declaration form. {I only needed to state the origin (United Kingdom) of the flute and certify it was not restricted, all other info was automatically filled in from Ebay.}

I am offered no recourse in the matter and have no way to contact the Customs House in Ireland or the Global Shipping Center. :swear:

As the message states, I do get to keep my proceeds and the buyer receives a refund. :) I suspect this may change as the Global Shipping Center will seek to recoup their loss. :really: I will post any further information.

But what is to become of the flute? I presume it will be destroyed. :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:06 am 
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Er.......
"New Regulation on Rosewood and Bubinga
The Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) held a conference ....where it was decided that all species of rosewood under the genus Dalbergia and three bubinga species (Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, and Guibourtia tessmannii) will be protected under CITES Appendix II.
........
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."

Not read anywhere however what happens to an instrument that's impounded. One would assume that you can buy it back if you still want it.
DaveL


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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:40 am 
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Hey Davel,

Thanks for the info. I did not know Cocobolo was included in CITES II. :oops:

I had read some posts here on the forum about Blackwood, but didn't know restrictions included the Rosewoods as well. :boggle:

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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:55 am 
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Sillydill wrote:
Hey Davel,

Thanks for the info. I did not know Cocobolo was included in CITES II. :oops:

I had read some posts here on the forum about Blackwood, but didn't know restrictions included the Rosewoods as well. :boggle:


Yes, all Dalbergia is restricted. You can still ship cocuswood (Brya ebenus)


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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:23 am 
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The instrument won't be destroyed probably. But it will go into storage somewhere. My local FWS has an interesting display case of items that have been seized over the years. It may also be returned to you - the best thing would be to contact them.

In general I am noticing that all of my international clients are shying away from blackwood and ordering Boxwood. I am also simply getting fewer orders from out of the country as a result of this. My guess is that fewer Americans are ordering from overseas to avoid similar hassles.

Casey

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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:42 am 
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Sillydill wrote:
I am offered no recourse in the matter and have no way to contact the Customs House in Ireland or the Global Shipping Center. :swear:

As the message states, I do get to keep my proceeds and the buyer receives a refund. :) I suspect this may change as the Global Shipping Center will seek to recoup their loss. :really: I will post any further information.

But what is to become of the flute? I presume it will be destroyed. :cry:


I was curious myself regarding what would become of the flute. According to the following article, they can't sell them (since they would be seen as supporting the sell of illegal goods) but they just have a large repository of confiscated items.

https://www.fretboardjournal.com/featur ... on-treaty/

The article is primarily about guitars, since guitars often use rosewood. I didn't read the whole thing, but of what I did read, one part seems worth quoting:
Quote:
Even if you belatedly obtain the import or export permits, USFWS will not return it, because you’ll be a known violator of international law. USFWS can’t sell the seized guitars to the public because that would be the equivalent of supporting illegal trade.

So, what do the Fish and Wildlife folks do with seized guitars? My mind’s eye sees them off by the side of a stream playing a bit of bluegrass on a bunch of prewar Brazilian rosewood guitars, fishing poles stuck in the ground. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.


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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:17 pm 
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But isn't there some sort of mechanism to ship/retrieve woods (other than Brazilian rosewood) that were harvested, and subsequently made into instruments, prior to 1 January 2017 when the new regulations went into effect? My understanding was that pre-2017 wood, with documentation, could still be shipped—although there was some sort of expensive paperwork necessary.

Befuddled in Dartmouth,

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:29 pm 
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There are the permits that we makers had to get here in the US for multiple sales of instruments, and these include the single permits for each shipment which are good for only 6 months and not renewable. Everything has to go through an inspection process which is cumbersome for some makers when the inspecting site is 2-3 or more states away. Using a similar process one can get a single permit for any item sold out of the country. But a permit isn't needed for hand carrying something as a personal possession if it contains any rosewood with the exception of Brazilian Rosewood which is under a higher restriction. However, one may run into a customs inspector at a border who is not in full understanding of the law so it is considered kind of risky. So people have been erring on the side of caution.

It may be that I am not getting much international business right now because the world is as fed up with our President as I am, and doesn't want to send any business here.

Casey

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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:30 pm 
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My understanding is that for overseas sales, the seller has to get a permit to export, but the buyer also needs to apply for an import permit in their own country.
That's probably the bigger barrier, as makers can build it into their planning and pricing, but buyers have got used to a simple online ordering process and many will be turned off by the hassle and cost.
From personal experience, the bottom has dropped out of the market for vintage highland pipes and that's what I put it down to.
DaveL


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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:47 pm 
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Casey Burns wrote:
... But a permit isn't needed for hand carrying something as a personal possession if it contains any rosewood with the exception of Brazilian rosewood .... However, one may run into a customs inspector at a border who is not in full understanding of the law so it is considered kind of risky. So people have been erring on the side of caution.

Back when the issue was ivory components on instruments, there was talk of an "instrument passport". Do those really exist? Are they only for ivory or would the current restrictions on Dalbergia/rosewoods also apply?

Is Delrin becoming endangered?

Thanks and best wishes.

Steve

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~ Antoine Mahaut, 1759 in a tutor for playing the transverse flute ~


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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:39 am 
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I curious as to what would be speculated to happen if you traveled, say from the US to Ireland with a blackwood flute in possession, for playing at sessions. Would it be confiscated by customs?


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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:12 am 
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hpinson wrote:
I'm curious as to what would be speculated to happen if you traveled, say from the US to Ireland with a blackwood flute in possession, for playing at sessions. Would it be confiscated by customs?


No, you are allowed to cross borders/customs with instruments made of restricted woods as personal possession. That's how orchestras and bands manage to carry instruments from country to country. They don't need to be declared and if you are stopped there can be only one question; is this instrument your personal possession? if the answer is yes they have to let you through with your instrument.

You need some knowledge the material used in your instrument's construction as different standards are applied to different species but in general this rule is applicable. You may have to make your case at customs control but I have travelled with instrument that are subject to control and have not had a problem.

H

(Paragraph four in this precis; https://reverb.com/uk/news/new-cites-re ... od-species)


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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:53 am 
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Holmes wrote:
No, you are allowed to cross borders/customs with instruments made of restricted woods as personal possession. That's how orchestras and bands manage to carry instruments from country to country. They don't need to be declared and if you are stopped there can be only one question; is this instrument your personal possession? if the answer is yes they have to let you through with your instrument.

You need some knowledge the material used in your instrument's construction as different standards are applied to different species but in general this rule is applicable. You may have to make your case at customs control but I have travelled with instrument that are subject to control and have not had a problem.


While this may be the case for woods, I know that musicians coming into the US have had problems with personal instruments that contain ivory. Good to keep in mind before traveling abroad with a beloved instrument, especially since the customs agents may or may not have a full understanding of what they should and shouldn't be confiscating.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertai ... ae8320a394


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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:59 am 
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I'm having trouble with the logic here. I can cross a border with a blackwood flute, say, and I'm okay because t's a personal possession? So I could, I suppose, travel to another country fluteless, buy my blackwood flute there, and bring it back to my country with no problem, because it's a personal possession. Yeah? But I CAN'T order a blackwood flute from a maker in another country and have it shipped?.... once I pay for it, is it not my personal possession?

I'm a woodworker. I understand the issues around conservation, and I support conservation. But this seems stupid and arbitrary and unlikely to do anything worthwhile except make life difficult for musicians.

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 Post subject: Re: Customs Gestapo
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:49 pm 
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It's a compromise. Allowing people to travel with their instruments does create a loophole, but it's not a very large one. If you're traveling only to buy and import an instrument, you have to factor the inconvenience and the cost of the travel into the price. Realistically, not many will do this. Targeting shipped but not carried instruments focuses enforcement on the trade, rather than on people's personal instruments.

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