WASHINGTON, D.C. – Starting this month, companies that import rosewood and rosewood veneer must comply with a new regulation and have a required permit.

Wood products companies are advised to make sure their trading partners are in compliance with the new regulation, even for material shipped before the rule implementation on January 2.

Rosewood and veneer are used in musical instruments and residential furniture.

Earlier, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) adopted new regulations that would subject approximately 80 percent of the multi-billion dollar global trade in precious rosewoods to stricter regulation and increased transparency to assess legality and sustainability.

Since 2010 there has been a booming rise in demand, with trade in rosewood often illegal, unsustainable and in some cases leading to violence in source countries, according to the Environmental Investigative Agency, an environmental activist group.

The total value of seized illegal rosewood between 2005 and 2014 is higher than all seizures related to elephants, big cats, rhinoceros, pangolins, parrots and marine turtles combined, according  to figures from the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, which monitors it. China and Vietnam, the chief trade and processing hubs, are the predominant end markets for rosewood, used mostly in luxury furniture. See: http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/wood/pricing-supply/rules-stop-illegal-rosewood-wood-trade-adopted-new-cites-regulations

These new listings include an entire genus of plants, Dalbergia, covering over 300 species on Appendix II of the CITES convention, meaning only controlled trade in sustainable volumes will be allowed. The initiative, led by Guatemala and other Latin American countries, was designed to list the remaining Dalbergia species under extreme threat as well as close a long-standing loophole that has allowed smugglers to avoid detection by purposefully labeling illegal trade of regulated tree species as unlisted.

CITES members also unanimously approved a change in regulation to close a loophole that has allowed the illicit trade in Siamese rosewood to continue, devastating 98 percent of the population and bringing it dangerously close to extinction. The rare and growingly coveted African bubinga tree (Guibourtia spp.) was also approved for stronger protection and listed on Appendix II.

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service has made available a detailed description of the regulation, which falls within the recommendations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

To see a detailed FWS document on questions and answers on recent changes to CITES rosewood protections, see https://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/questions-and-answers-appendix-II-timber-listings-December-2016.pdf

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