In an Associated Press report published Thursday (3/7) on Huffington Post, Todd Pitman writes, “Musicians, take note: next time you travel abroad, you might need a passport—for your instrument. Delegates attending a global biodiversity conference in Bangkok this week are debating a U.S. proposal to streamline international customs checks for travelers with musical instruments that legally contain endangered wildlife products like exotic hardwoods, ivory or tortoise shell. The goal is not to burden musicians, but to make foreign travel easier … said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, who is leading Washington’s delegation to the 178-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in the Thai capital. The proposal is expected to be voted on as early as Friday. If approved, travelers would be able to carry a ‘musical instrument passport’ valid for three years. … Heather Noonan, vice president for advocacy at the League of American Orchestras, said that ‘understanding how to navigate the current international and domestic permit requirements—which vary from country to country—is very complicated and confusing. Streamlining the permit process through a passport of some kind could be quite helpful, but it is essential that a passport be voluntary, and take into account the time, expense, and practical realities of traveling with instruments.’ ”

Posted March 7, 2013