Friday, November 25, 2016

State Department Official Confirms Collector Concerns

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Larry Schwartz has confirmed collector concerns about how the State Department has administered the CPIA in a video prepared on behalf of the Antiquities Coalition, an archaeological advocacy group.  For Schwartz and the State Department, MOUs only stem the flow of "illegal" antiquities; not legal antiquities openly sold abroad that don't meet stringent documentation requirements.  The CPIA's legal requirements are "not hard;" there are no real procedural and substantive constraints before import restrictions may be approved.  The burden of proof is on the importer; artifacts can be seized and forfeited without proof they were first discovered within and subject to the export control of the country for which restrictions are given.  And, of course, State sees itself as a partner with foreign cultural bureaucracies, academic archaeologists that depend on these foreign bureaucracies for excavation permits and their advocacy groups.  But what rule of law and the interests of museums, collectors and the small businesses of the numismatic and antiquities trade?  They apparently don't rate, something that hopefully will be addressed when a new administration takes over in January.

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