Mr. Juszkiewicz (CEO of Gibson) says that the government of the country where the rosewood comes from certified it for export, and Gibson jumps through rather elaborate hoops before it buys the wood after it is imported to the U.S. The Lacey Act, which puts American importers of exotic woods at risk, is discussed here. One of the ironies, as you might expect, is that America is a trivial importer of rosewood from Madagascar and India. Ninety-five percent of it goes to China, where it is used to make luxury items like $800,000 beds. So putting Gibson out of business isn’t going to do a whole lot for the forests of Madagascar.
It also seems that the Martin Guitar Company, which uses the same kinds of woods as Gibson in its guitars hasn’t been raided. Nothing about Fender, MusicMan, etc.. This is a strange case. Obscure law, federal raid, property seized. No indication of any crimes committed. One government certifies the product for export and another, ours, decides that this wasn’t good enough. Of all the things the Federal government should be doing why are they spending their time and effort on this? Is there some need for us to be protected from the blight of vintage guitar owners whose decades old instruments may or may not be in violation of another country’s, or our’s, recent law? What benefit is there to putting a venerable American company, Gibson, and its worker’s jobs, in jeopardy for such a bizarre thing? This just doesn’t pass the smell test.
Anyway, ignore the comments section and glean what you can from the article. And if you have a vintage instrument be prepared to show your papers when they come knocking on your door.