• Thomas Russell

New rosewood regulations take effect January 2

Material falls under 'endangered species' convention

WASHINGTON D.C. - Effective Jan. 2, importers of products containing solid rosewood or rosewood veneers will have to get permits for these products to show that they are being harvested legally.

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service recently informed companies of the regulation, which falls under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It covers major rosewood and palisanders species including (Dalbergia spp.), kosso, or African rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) and bubingas (Guibourtia spp.)

Washington–based law firm Mowry & Grimson issued an alert to its clients and the industry in late December. According to its letter, there is no phase-in period, and the rule covers the aforementioned species regardless of country of export. In addition, shipments without the permits could be held at the ports by U.S. Customs.

“From the effective date, the wood products containing CITES-controlled woods may not be exported or imported without the required permits,” the law firm stated. “All entries on or after Jan. 2, 2017, are subject to the new requirements even if exported prior to Jan. 2.”

The firm said that companies should vet shipments on the water to make sure none of the products contain a CITES-controlled wood. The firm also noted that it would assist companies through this process and to make sure they are compliant.

In its letter, the Fish and Wildlife Service also advised importers to communicate with their trade partners to make sure their shipments are in compliance with CITES requirements. It added that if the species was harvested before it was listed by CITES, the shipment must have a Pre-Convention certificate.

According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, CITES is an international treaty ratified by 182 countries and the European Union since it first went into effect in July 1975. The required permits help ensure that the wood is being legally harvested and does not threaten or endanger the species. CITES protects some 35,000 species of plants and animals by making sure that international trade is both legal and also “does not threaten their survival in the wild.”

Rosewood is commonly found in higher end furniture products including fancy face veneers seen on tabletops, headboards and drawer fronts as well as the tops and sides of case pieces. It is also one of the most common woods used on the backs and sides of acoustic guitars.

For more information on the issue, contact John Veremis at 301-851-2347 or via email at john.veremis@aphis.usda.gov.

Is your company affected by the new rule? If so, what are your concerns and how are you addressing it? Feel free to respond below or via email to Tom Russell at trussell@furnituretoday.com

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, Furniture Today

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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