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Eleven pipers piping: Nashua company's bureaucratic maze

December 08. 2017 12:47AM

Gibson Bagpipes of Nashua tried to do everything right.

Some of the wood it uses in its high-end instruments is covered by an international treaty on endangered species, so Gibson submitted an export permit application last December.

Four months later, the company learned that its application had been lost. Meanwhile, the world’s fourth-largest bagpipe manufacturer could not export its products.

Gov. Chris Sununu last month wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to make sure Gibson’s case was not again buried at the bottom of a pile of paperwork.

This week, Gibson finally received its federal permit, and can resume competing around the world.

Kudos to the Sununu administration for helping a New Hampshire company find its way out of the Byzantine maze of Washington regulations, and to the Trump administration for responding to Sununu’s plea for help.

Such responsiveness will enhance New Hampshire’s reputation as a business-friendly state, which was at the center of Sununu’s campaign for governor.

But the broader problem is the maze itself. Business owners should not have to rely on a sympathetic governor bringing their plight to the attention of high-level federal officials.

Gibson got some help and escaped the maze. Far too many businesses get lost in it.

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