Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kerry Ignorant of Collateral Damage to Legitimate Trade and Museums

It's evident listening to Secretary Kerry that he has been grossly misinformed about how the State Department and CBP misapply import restrictions under the CPIA.  If restrictions were applied as contemplated, there would not be so much collateral damage to the legitimate trade.  Unfortunately, however, our CBP and State Department take cues not from the plain meaning of the statute, but from the archaeological lobby's desire to "shift the burden of proof" to the collector based on the dubious assumption that undocumented means stolen.

Under the CPIA, the burden is on the government to prove: (1) the item is of a type that appears on the designated list; (2) the item was first discovered within and subject to the export control of the country for which restrictions were granted; and (3) that it was illegally removed from the country for which import restrictions were granted after the date the restrictions were imposed.  19 USC Sections 2601, 2604, 2606, 2610.  Draconian rules that assume guilt after only the first element is proved are for dictatorships like Egypt, not for democracies that respect rule of law like the United States.


Duncan Finch said...

Why do you think that Kerry either knows about the concerns of American collectors, dealers and scholars, or could care less about them even if he does? If such people were spending about US$ 1 Billion a year and were politically active, Kerry would notice them; but they don't and they aren't. To be blunt, Hillary Clinton lost the election because she ignored the concerns and feelings of a remarkable number of ordinary people. Why should Kerry be any different?

Cultural Property Observer said...

Agreed. Here Egyptian import restrictions were being pushed hard by the Antiquities Coalition, whose founder, an international business consultant with an emphasis on the Middle East and China, is the wife of one of Goldman Sachs' top partners. That in itself should raise some questions even if they weren't involved in giving an award to the decision maker, Assistant Secretary Evan Ryan, on behalf of the AIA. No wonder Kerry and the State Department couldn't care less about the small businesses of the numismatic trade and antiquities collectors (the vast majority of whom are middle class men of a certain age).