Arlington, Va. -
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is supporting the introduction of
H.R. 3210, Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement
Fairness (RELIEF) Act by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.).
The legislation is
in reaction to a raid on Tennessee-based Gibson Guitar, a CEA member, on Aug.
24 by the Justice Department due to the Lacey Act.
In a statement at
the time, Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman/CEO of Gibson Guitar, said the raid of
his company's facilities in Nashville and Memphis was because the Justice
Department "has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished
by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the
Justice Department's interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from
the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This
action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India."
Gibson's innocence, Juszkiewicz also said the raids forced the company to cease
manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day. "Agents seized wood
that was Forest Stewardship Council controlled," he said. "Gibson has a long
history of supporting sustainable and responsible sources of wood and has
worked diligently with entities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace
to secure FSC-certified supplies. The wood seized on Aug. 24 satisfied FSC
In supporting the
new legislation, Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of CEA, issued a statement
yesterday: "We commend Rep. Cooper on the introduction of the RELIEF Act. This
common-sense legislation will help rationalize the Lacey Act and ensure that it
does not ensnare innocent or unsuspecting individuals and businesses. The
passage of the RELIEF Act will help create a better environment for innovation
and job creation, and we urge Congress to act on it immediately."