I’m in Canada, and am hoping to buy a used banjo that is currently in the US. The banjo has some mother of pearl, so I’d like to make sure I’m going about this the right way.
I’ve been reading earlier discussions of this topic in the archives, and I find that I’m still very much confused.
It seems to have been taken as a given since at least 2008 that mother of pearl requires a CITES permit if it is leaving the US.
However, this 2016 document from US Fish and Wildlife Service clearly states that mother of pearl is not regulated by CITES:
Could anyone clarify this discrepancy for me?
Also, the banjo was built in Canada. Would it still be subject to CITES regulation, when it is returning to its country of origin?
The more I’ve been researching these issues, the more confused I’ve become. I’d be grateful for any insight!!
You're fine. MOP on an instrument will not cause any CITES issues coming into Canada. No documentation needed.
If you have any Canadian CITES questions you can always email Lise Jubinville at the Canadian CITES compliance office
She or someone else usually answers in a timely manner.
Mother of pearl and other shell products are not CITES regulated, but US Fish & Wildlife Service is charged with enforcing The Lacey Act that regulates import and export of anything that contains a wildlife product. Any commercial export or import of a musical instrument with shell inlay has to be inspected at a designated port, then repacked and forwarded to the purchaser. What they do with that information I have not been able to figure out. I, personally, have been trying to get a step by step list on how to become a registered vendor with USFW and make sure I have all the ducks in a row, but I continually get varying answers to my questions.
If you are purchasing from a private seller, then you will not have to do anything. A business needs to register with USFW, file paperwork for each shipment, and pay the approximately $100 fee per shipment.
That is the best information I have. Maybe other members have better sources for clarity.
Thanks so much Antoine and Bob!
Bob Smakula The sale is a private one. Just to clarify—since the sale is private, nothing need be done?
Great—thanks again Bob!
Hi Bob the charge is 100 dollars a year
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