The Move Part 8: Prohibited materials
This is my little series on the big move back to Australia. Perhaps I will look back in the future and laugh... or cry!
Part 1: Finding a Moving Company
Past 2: A Slight Travel Panic
Part 3: Comparing Crypto Tax Accounting platforms (Cointracking vs Rotki)
Part 4: A Week in Involuntary Stasis
Part 5: The Last Harvest
Part 6: Letting Go...
Part 7: Putting the name out there!
So, just to get this out of the way. This is a post about the nightmare of trying to do the right thing when importing certain materials out of Europe and into Australia!
As musicians, my wife and I are not really crazily familiar with a the rules regarding the import and export of goods... But over the last few months, we've had to try and learn about how it all works with regards to some of the instruments that we own.
Now, at some point in the mid to late 20th century, there was an international agreement on the prohibition of trade in certain endangered animal and plant materials known as CITES. Perhaps the best known part of this is the past that restricts the trade and cross border transport of ivory... Especially that which comes from the endangered African elephants.
Now, unfortunately, many old musical instruments do have ivory components. As musical instruments, they have exemptions for if they were constructed before the date of the treaty. So, you would think that that would be the end of the story..
... However, like all well meaning systems.. It all falls a bit to crap on implementation. Well, I guess I have no idea about the actual impact on black market trade and smuggling... But if you are trying to get an exemption, it is a stupidly difficult thing to do!
Now, the instrument in question is definitely older than the treaty date. So contacting the Dutch office for CITES, they said that they would need a letter confirming the exact date of manufacture and an attestation that the ivory was Not from a particular species of elephant.
Okay, contacting the manufacturer, they told us the date from the serial number... But they had no way of stating the species that the ivory was from... Probably not something that they would have ever recorded!
So, back to the Cites office... An expert declaration would suffice. Okay, but they would not it could not provide any contract details of any experts... Or even define what is an expert! A piano manufacturer, an antique dealer, a zoologist???
So, we've had to just randomly come contact a number of possible people in a variety of professions... And most of it has been met with complete bewilderment and a suggestion that we just go and contact the Dutch office for Cites. Ha ha... Funny.
So, at the moment we have a few attestations lined up... Hopefully one of more will suffice and we will be issued with a proper exemption. I'm a bit cranky that all of this is such a pain in the arse and circle running for people that actually trying to do the right thing! I'm sure that the black market and smugglers have a much easier time with all of this... Or maybe if you are wealthy and have your own private key and access to bribes.
Anyway... Little people like us are left navigating the stupidly complex and unhelpful system... Bleah!
Anyway, thankfully my personal instruments only have mammoth ivory... And last time I checked, they weren't endangered any more. But hilariously enough, there was a proposal in the near past that aimed to add mammoth ivory to the protected species trade restrictions!
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