Free Trade

Gibson Guitar Fined $300,000 Due to Complicated Wood Shipping Laws

The Lacey Act requires companies to make detailed disclosures about wood imports and bars the purchase of goods exported in violation of a foreign country's laws.

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The Justice Department has closed its criminal investigation against the Gibson Guitar Company after the company agreed to a series of steps, including payment of $300,000 in penalties and forfeiture of seized rosewood and ebony shipments from India and ebony from Madagascar with an estimated value of more than $419,000.* [3:12 p.m. | Updated | The company may be able to get the Indian wood back, under the terms of the complicated agreement. ]

It's vital to find ways to curb illegal trafficking in tropical hardwoods. I criticized last year's raid of one of the company's factories as heavy handed (the company was also raided in 2009). Instrument makers are a tiny fraction of the global trade in such woods. But the law is the law.