Canadian Musician


U.S. Proposes Creation Of Musical Instrument Passport

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Here’s a proposal that will surely be of interest to musicians who regularly travel internationally. According to an Associated Press article found at, the American delegation to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Bangkok, Thailand has proposed creating a musical instrument passport.

The purpose, as stated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, is to streamline the sometimes-cumbersome process of moving musical instruments across international borders. The movement of natural products that high-end instruments are often made of – such as exotic wood, ivory, and tortoise shell – are tightly regulated. These regulations and the often undocumented origins of instrument materials can cause headaches at the border for travelling musicians and can possibly result in an instrument being confiscated.

As the Arts Journal article mentioned, concerns on this issue were raised in 2011 when federal agents raided the factories and offices of Gibson Guitars with the purpose of seizing illegal ebony wood shipped from India. The U.S. government also accused Gibson in 2009 of using illegal wood exported from Madagascar.

For more information, check out the article on the Arts Journal website by clicking here.


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