CITES Issues Continue to Cause Confusion

Peter Hastings, Rogers and Norton


The litigation team’s continued success in supporting the musical instrument industry has been further enhanced with the restoration of a very significant number of guitars. The valuable instruments had been seized by UK Border Force at Felixstowe Docks as they contained small traces of Rosewood, leaving the company importing the goods with the potential of being substantially out of pocket.

Initially Border Force refused to restore the guitars, but after an appeal to the First Tier Tax Tribunal it was accepted that the seizure was disproportionate. The team produced evidence illustrating that the company were not responsible for issues with shipment and the Grounds of Appeal made it clear that the shipment was contrary to our client’s instructions.

The case demonstrates how confusion still abounds for companies wishing to import goods containing materials restricted under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Wild Fauna & Flora (CITES).

The listing took effect on 2 January 2017, and any imports or exports of items containing rosewood or ivory will generally require CITES documentation.

We are still finding that eighteen months after the law was introduced many companies approach us for help, even after undertaking careful and thorough research into the intricacies surrounding the importation of goods containing restricted items such as rosewood and ivory. They are obviously anxious and very concerned when they find themselves in a predicament were they could potentially lose large sums of money.

The team have a great depth of knowledge and wide experience in dealing with issues relating to the importation of goods to the UK and understand the need for swift and decisive action to support companies when they need it most.

If you are experiencing problems and issues with UK Border Force relating to the import of goods into the UK please contact me at or on 01603 675639.

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