Monday, July 18, 2011

Secretary Clinton Misinformed?

The text of Hillary Clinton's signing statement for the Greek MOU can be found here:

In addition to the predictable pandering to the bankrupt Greeks, Secretary Clinton makes the following statement:

This agreement that we are signing today will protect Greece’s culturally significant objects even further from looting and sale on the international market. It will be illegal to import protected items from Greece into the United States unless they have been certified by the Greek authorities. And that will help reduce the incentive to illegally remove such objects in the first place.

Of course, if that was all the agreement did it would be far less objectionable than it is: But restrictions also bar import of items on the designated list from other legitimate markets abroad unless accompanied by documentation proving they were out of Greece as of the date of restrictions. The problem is that such documentation typically does not exist for common artifacts like ancient coins. Certainly, as far as I know no other country (including Greece) requires such documentation before importing ancient coins into the country.

Is Secretary Clinton misinformed about the impact of import restrictions? And if so, who at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is responsible?

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