The European Union will exempt musicians entering its territory from declaring instruments intended for professional use after at least two Japanese violinists had their high-priced violins seized at a German airport last year.
The EU in principle requires those bringing in goods worth more than 430 euros to declare them at customs. Following the confiscations at the German airport, the Japanese government asked the European Commission to address the issue.
The commission has amended the customs code by inserting a line that says, "Total relief from import duties shall be granted for portable musical instruments temporarily imported by a traveler ... with the intention of using them as professional equipment." The revised rule will come into effect on Nov. 21.
Customs authorities at Frankfurt Airport seized a Guarneri violin belonging to Belgium-based violinist Yuzuko Horigome in August last year and also a Stradivarius brought by the Germany-based violinist Yuki Manuela Janke in September that year. Both instruments were later returned to the musicians at no charge.