Guitar Maker Gibson Affected By Trade Law
When rare ebony and rosewood were seized by federal agents from popular guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitars, it ignited a firestorm over illegal logging, the materials used in musical instruments, and safeguarding American jobs.
The raid last month on the Tennessee factories of Gibson so angered Henry Juszkiewicz, the guitar maker’s chief executive, prompting him to go to Washington.
His cause got the attention of the top Republican in the U.S. Congress, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner. Last week, Boehner said that the company is being singled out unfairly and was a symbol of over-regulation by the government, which hurt an industry that has been providing good jobs.
Juszkiewicz, who was sitting in Boehner’s box in Congress as President Barack Obama earlier this month presented his jobs proposal, said he wants the matter to be cleared up.
According to Juszkiewicz, his company that has been making guitars for music industry stars like B.B. King and Elvis Presley, lost millions of dollars due to the probe and forced it to forage for wood to use in making guitar fingerboards, as well as stop production on certain models.
In an interview with Reuters, Juszkiewicz also said, “There’s a lot of innuendo … that we are being sneaky and surreptitious. They are flat innuendo and no factual proof whatsoever.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in court documents, said that Gibson is suspected of acquiring from Madagascar illegally logged ebony and rosewood, as well as unfinished wood from India. This is in violation of the 2008 amendments to the Lacey Act, which makes it illegal to trade endangered plants and animals.