NAMM’s Import Export Task Force to Advocate on Capitol Hill for RELIEF Act

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The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) announced today that its Import Export Task Force, comprised of NAMM Members wanting to stay informed and involved in regulatory issues, will be meeting with regulators and representatives of Congress in Washington D.C. on Nov. 2 -3, 2011.

The meetings will allow NAMM and its Members to discuss import and export issues including Lacey Act compliance, address the inhibitions to trade and commerce that exist within the law, and to continue to advocate for needed changes within the regulatory compliance framework.

On Nov. 2, NAMM Members will participate in issue briefings and meetings with Members of Congress or their staff. Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN-5th) will be present to discuss the new Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Fairness (RELIEF) Act that he introduced in October. The legislation will clarify a broad federal law so that musical instrument manufacturers, retailers and resellers—among many others including musicians—would not be subject to penalties for unknowingly possessing illegal woods. NAMM is among 20 national environmental and business organizations that support the RELIEF Act.

Representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will also be on hand to offer insight into current import/export issues and federal regulations.

Briefing day guest speakers also include Brent J. McClendon, CAE, executive vice president of the International Wood Products Association, and Krissa Barclay, counsel to Congressman Jim Cooper. The Taskforce will also participate in advocacy briefing sessions from NAMM’s legislative advisors Leo Coco of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, and Jim Goldberg of Goldberg & Associates.

On Nov. 3, NAMM Members will participate in more than 40 meetings with Members of Congress or their staff to encourage co-sponsorship and support for the RELIEF Act.

“It is imperative that NAMM and its Import Export Taskforce advocate for clarification of the Lacey Act as it is presented in the RELIEF Act [H.R. Res. 3210] and other import and export regulations that impact the music products industry,” said Mary Luehrsen, director of public affairs and government relations at NAMM. “NAMM members seek to uphold the intention of the Lacey Act, which is to protect the world’s forest and at the same time, allow for fair and legal trade of tone woods and materials essential to the music products industry.”

Members of the 2011 Import Export Task Force include:

David Berkowitz - Berkowitz Guitars
Christie Carter - Gruhn Guitars
Leo Coco - Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough LLP
Chuck Erikson - Duke of Pearl, LLC
David Eynck - PRS Guitars
Gulab Gidwani - Exotic Woods Company, Inc.
Jim Goldberg - Goldberg & Associates

George Gruhn - Gruhn Guitars
Jack Higginbotham - PRS Guitars
Tim Kletti - Music Go Round – Winmark Corporation
Hap Kuffner - Kuffner International
Mary Luehrsen - NAMM
Brian Majeski - Music Trades Magazine (PRESS)
Steve McCreary - Collings Guitars
Cindy McAllister - C. F. Martin & Co., Inc.
Gregory Paul - C. F. Martin & Co., Inc.
Howard Paul - Benedetto Guitars
Charles Redden - Taylor Guitars
Hugh Reitz - PRS Guitars
Tom Ribbecke - Ribbecke Guitars
Bob Taylor – Taylor-Listug, Inc.
Kathy Wingert - Wingert Guitars

About NAMM
The National Association of Music Merchants, commonly called NAMM in reference to the organization's popular NAMM trade shows, is the not-for-profit association that unifies, leads and strengthens the $17 billion global musical instruments and products industry. For more information about NAMM, please visit