Exemption Approved for Travel with Bows! (6/14/07)

Exemption Approved for Travel with Bows

Orchestras and individual musicians touring internationally may continue to travel with their bows, after winning an exemption during negotiations at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).  The international community met over the past two weeks to determine whether to include the Brazilian pernambuco tree on the endangered species list. Most fine bows used by string musicians are made from pernambuco wood. Negotiators settled on adding the tree to the endangered species list, but applying the listing only to "logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets...," specifying that finished bows that are transported internationally would not be subject to cumbersome CITES permit and certification requirements.

U.S. Delegation Responds to Music Community

The League, in partnership with the American Federation of Musicians, met with officials from the office of the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Fish & Wildlife prior to the start of international negotiations, calling for responsible conservation efforts that would also protect the ability of musicians to travel and perform internationally with their instruments.  In response to a League alert, and in partnership with NAMM and U.S. bow makers, orchestras filed comments directly with U.S. officials.  The U.S. delegation to the convention spoke up for the interests of musicians and helped to negotiate the final agreement.

Conservation Efforts Essential

While musicians will continue to be able to travel with their bows, it is important to note that the issue of conserving the pernambuco tree remains.  CITES will be closely monitoring the status of the pernambuco forests in the two years leading up to the next convention of international parties.  To preserve the ability of musicians to travel with their bows—and to sustain the long-term viability of this important natural resource—orchestras can participate in the conservation effort.  Visit the International Pernambuco Conservation Initiative web site to learn more.


Please direct any related questions to Heather Noonan, Vice President for Advocacy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Najean Lee, Government Affairs & Education Advocacy Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The League is a member of the Performing Arts Alliance, a coalition of national performing arts service organizations dedicated to advocating for national policies that recognize, enhance, and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America.