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."
In pressing 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 standards."
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."