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At CITES, US proposes 'musical instrument passports' to ease foreign travel for musicians

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.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe says the goal is to make foreign travel easier by doing away with cumbersome import and export permits and ensuring legal instruments aren't confiscated. Ashe is leading the U.S. delegation at the 178-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Thailand.

If approved, travelers would be able to carry a "musical instrument passport."

The proposal is expected to be voted on as early as Friday.