CARLSBAD, CA -- The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) announced it has joined the Lacey Act Defense National Consensus Committee, a newly-formed group made up of companies, associations and organizations impacted by the Lacey Act, to create a new standard designed to provide a defense to Lacey liability.

In addition to NAMM, participating in the new Lacey Act committee are: Forest Stewardship Council, Anderson Berkshire Hathaway, National Wood Flooring Assn., Rainforest Alliance, Knoll, Williams Sonoma, Sustainable Furnishings Council, National Wildlife Federation, Floor Covering Institute, Wood Flooring International, Gibson Guitar Corp., Staples, Home Depot, Kimberly-Clark, Columbia Forest Products, C.F. Martin & Co., Danzer Group and the Capital Markets Partnership.

"Along with other activities, this effort represents a yearning for clarity in Lacey Act regulatory guidelines, enforcement rules and the desire of business and industry to implement adequate and appropriate 'due care' in assuring that material and product imports meet the requirements of the Lacey Act," Mary Luehrsen, NAMM's director of public affairs and government relations, said in a statement. "Due care standards have been negotiated for other regulations such as Superfund environmental cleanup; NAMM will work with other industry groups to achieve a fair and reasonable standard by which business can operate successfully within the guidelines and intent of the Lacey Act."

A draft of the proposed standard will be announced at a public meeting to be held the next few months. An approved National Consensus Standard is expected in mid-2012. 

Meanwhile, members of NAMM's Import/Export Task Force set meetings with regulators and members of Congress on Nov. 2 and 3 to discuss Lacey Act compliance along with other issues. Among those meeting with the group is Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN), sponsor of the Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Fairness (RELIEF) Act, introduced last month. According to Congressman Cooper, the RELIEF Act would: grandfather from law foreign wood products owned before May 22, 2008, the date that the Lacey Act amendments were signed into law; give protection to persons that unknowingly violate the Lacey Act and prohibit the government from confiscating the property; and provide public access to an internet database of forbidden wood sources. Rep. Cooper said the RELIEF Act would not affect ongoing cases under the Lacey Act. Gibson Guitars in Memphis has been the subject of two investigations related to compliance with the Lacey Act.

    NAMM is among 20 national environmental and business organizations that support the RELIEF Act. “It is imperative that NAMM and its Import Export Taskforce advocate for clarification of the Lacey Act as it is presented in the RELIEF Act [H.R. Res. 3210] and other import and export regulations that impact the music products industry,” Mary Luehrsen, director of public affairs and government relations at NAMM, said in a statement. “NAMM members seek to uphold the intention of the Lacey Act, which is to protect the world’s forest and at the same time, allow for fair and legal trade of tone woods and materials essential to the music products industry.”

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