Monday, January 19, 2009

Chinese View of MOU

Here is a report from a Chinese news outlet about the recent MOU:

I would take issue with the following statement:

"In addition to the newly-signed Sino-U.S. memorandum, China has signed similar agreements with Peru, India, Italy, the Philippines, Greece, Chile, Cyprus, and Venezuela, according to the official."

The "multilateral response" requirement of the CPIA requires such agreements to enforce similar restrictions as contemplated by the US as a pre-requisite for the US entering into an MOU. My recollection is that most, if not all, of these other agreements are largely aspirational in character. Here, of course, the MOU with the United States actually calls for specific import restrictions on specific categories of cultural goods. I would also note none of the countries mentioned are known to host a significant trade in Chinese artifacts. In contrast, the "multilateral response" requirement assumes that other countries with a significant trade in similar types of cultural goods will also enter into similar agreements restricting trade. Otherwise, (and as likely will happen here) that trade will just go elsewhere.

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