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Governor appeals to Trump administration for Nashua bagpipe maker

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 09. 2017 9:30PM

An image taken from Gibson Bagpipes' Twitter page. (

CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu urged two Trump administration cabinet secretaries to help break a regulatory logjam preventing a Nashua-based bagpipe maker from selling its products abroad.

Sununu released on Thursday a letter he had sent to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke seeking their assistance.

Gibson Bagpipes LLC has been in business since 1978 and moved its operations to Nashua in 2014 after having been based in Willoughby, Ohio.

The firm learned last January that it would need going forward a permit from the Department of Agriculture because its wood product had been covered by the parties of a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

They also submitted an application to the Department of the Interior.

Sununu said company officials learned from federal officials the original application was “lost,” so they had to resubmit their paperwork last July.

“When they checked on their application this past September they were told that it was in the queue for review and there was no way to expedite the process,” Sununu wrote in a letter dated last Friday.

Since January, the permit snafu has prevented the company from selling its products abroad, the governor said.

Prior to this issue, Gibson Bagpipes sold widely in Scotland, Canada, New Zealand, throughout Europe and Japan.

Sununu said timing is critical for the company as it does 20 percent of its business from mid-October until the end of the year for the holiday season.

“A delay in receiving the CITES permit will dramatically reduce sales for Gibson in the next two months,” Sununu said.

The first-term Republican governor reminded Trump administration officials that a priority of this President was to break down regulatory barriers.

“In this age of trying to find ways to help businesses grow and cutting back on excess government regulation, I hope you will find a way to help Gibson Bagpipes LLC,” Sununu said.

And Sununu said this permitting process for the New Hampshire company has not been felt by foreign firms in the same business.

“The competitors for Great Britain have not had the same difficulties with the CITES permitting process as Gibson Bagpipes LLC has,” Sununu said.

“This advantage allows overseas companies to ship to the United States and worldwide allowing them an unfair advantage in this niche market.”

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