Information on CITES
CITES - also known as the Washington Convention (wikipedia) - is an international agreement to protect plants and animals.
In autumn 2016, some varieties of wood which are used in the manufacture of musical instruments, amongst other uses, were included in the list of endangered species. This now includes some bubinga and rosewood varieties, particularly African rosewood. Therefore, these varieties have been subject to strict sales and export regulations since January 2017 which of course we adhere to.
The environment is an important concern for us here at Thomann, but of course neither we nor other manufacturers of musical instruments could sell off our old stock and come up with new versions of our instruments which contain exclusively sustainable wood in the limited time of three months. Furthermore, in some countries not all of the regulations have been implemented, so that CITES products cannot be sent to these countries for the time being.
Please use these pages to learn about the effects of CITES on the equipment you already own. We will keep this space up to date with further developments.
Endangered species of wood
Many guitars, drum sets, violins, and orchestral instruments are wholly or partly made of species of wood which are endangered at the moment. Many guitars, for example, feature rosewood fretboards, but some classical instruments and equipment, such as conductor's batons, also contain one of the varieties mentioned above.
The weight of these woods amounts only to a very few grams in many instruments, but as CITES does not specify a minimum quantity, every instrument featuring even a single gram of an endangered variety of wood is affected - even if this wood comes from certified sustainable forestry.
Side effects for musicians
Since Jan 02, 2017, the sale and export of products containing CITES materials has been severely restricted and subject to significant red tape. Every instrument which is imported into the EU must be registered and approved by the authorities. As our customer and the owner of such an instrument, you must be able to produce this special approval document when required, for example if you decide to sell your instrument on at a later date.
You can register items you have previously acquired with your local authority. In order to do this you only need to show the invoice for your product, which you can download at any time from our customer centre. This will suffice as written proof that the instrument or piece of equipment was bought before January 02, 2017, i.e. before the materials contained were classified as endangered.
Deliveries into non-EU countries require a complicated and sometimes lengthy approval procedure. This may delay delivery by several weeks and may cause further fees in the recipient's country. Please make sure you understand the relevant rules in your country before making a purchase.
If you want to order CITES products from us, please note that you will have to figure in a waiting time of several weeks for export licenses to be granted. Since all authorities involved are overstretched at the moment and the license fees are very high, we can only export products of a value of at least 500€ to non-EU countries. For those products, we will take care of all export fees for you. As soon as the waiting times decrease and the processing runs more smoothly, we will release our other equipment for export again. Thank you for your understanding.
Setting an example
There are plenty of reasons to complain about politicians and regulations, but there are also good reasons to set an example every now and then and do the right thing, for example where the protection of our environment is concerned.
As soon as the content of the convention for the protection of endangered species became public, we at Thomann began to replace the endangered varieties of wood in our own-brand products (e.g. Harley Benton guitars) with alternative materials.
We were also the first dealer in Europe to implement the strict documentation and export regulations right on time on January 02, 2017 and we are now striving to make instrument manufacturers aware of the importance of moving on to regenerative and sustainable materials for their instruments.
However: on our own, we will not succeed in our efforts! As a musician, you can use your wallet and your voice to make sure that manufacturers take this topic seriously and search out alternatives. You can let manufacturers, the media and other retailers know that you believe in the importance of sustainably produced equipment.
We know that there will always be individual pieces where the manufacturers cannot use other materials without negatively affecting the sound or the way the instrument plays. But if we focus on the exceptions and lose sight of the rule, we will never change anything.
Thank you very much for your understanding and for your support.
We're looking forward to hearing from you and aim to solve any problems as soon as we can.