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Musical Instruments: Transport

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Duchy of Lancaster)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she has taken to secure a transitional period with the EU on the application of CITES to allow musicians and others to continue to travel with their instruments which may contain materials covered by CITES regulation.

Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

If we leave the EU without a deal, all Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) items that are currently freely traded between the UK and the EU, including musical instruments, will require CITES permits or an import notification. This would mean movement of CITES specimens between the UK and the EU would need to follow the same processes as those currently in place for movement between the UK and the rest of the world. We are working hard to make sure we maintain continuity and minimise disruption for those who trade and move CITES listed species, and have been working closely with the music industry on this issue.

In addition to import/export permits, there are other options which may be more appropriate for musicians looking to move musical instruments. Travelling Exhibition Certificates can be issued to cover instruments that are owned by orchestras (rather than individuals). We have also been increasing awareness of CITES Musical Instrument Certificates. These can be used for non-commercial purposes, including performing, to allow musicians to travel with their own instruments across the UK border in place of CITES import/export permits. These are valid for multiple movements for three years and can be used by individual musicians travelling alone or with an ensemble. They also allow travel outside the EU. In September, we announced the addition of Dover, Eurotunnel, and Holyhead to the list of ports to be designated for CITES movement after exit.

At the recent CITES Conference of the Parties, a decision was made to change annotation number 15 which relates to rosewood species, such as Dalbergia. This will exempt musical instruments made of this wood (including finished musical instrument parts and accessories) and small finished items up to 10kg. This exemption allows a person to travel to any country in the world with a musical instrument or finished product containing less than 10kg of a rosewood or a Bubinga without a CITES permit. The EU Commission are preparing legislation to implement this amendment to the CITES Appendices by amending the Annexes of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations.

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