Join Date: Dec 2004
My own CITES experience
I applied in August, 2005 for a CITES permit to export three swords to Macao for the History of Steel exhibition. For this I provided my own declaration regarding the age of the swords, which is copied in the next post for reference.
I did not even receive an acknowledgment of my application until November, at which time I was asked for additional information to establish that the swords had "legally entered" the United States, which means that applicable Customs laws/regulations (including CITES) were complied with when they entered the U.S. Oddly, all I needed to do to satisfy this requirement was to show that I had bought them in the U.S. I presented a thorough legal argument supporting my interpretation that 100+ year old artifacts simply are not subject to CITES (or rather, the enabling U.S. statute, the Endangered Species Act), and thus all I needed to do was establish their age, but this was not successful. I am quite sure that I am correct, but the FWS holds all of the cards, so their interpretation governs until someone challenges it in court.
In the end, I was only approved to export three of the five swords for which I requested the permit. The reason for denying a permit for the other two was the FWS's position that in order to be granted a permit to "re-export" an item, you must establish that it was legally imported. Those two swords were ones that I bought from dealers overseas and had sent to me in the U.S., while the other three were bought by me within the U.S. I contested the decision, but was not successful. My only other option was to file a legal action against FWS, which would have been more time, effort and money than I was willing to put into it, so I let the matter drop.