Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Italian MOU Renewal: Enough is Enough

The Cultural Property Advisory Committee will conduct an open session to discuss the renewal of the current MoU with Italy on April 8, 2015.  Directions for public comment can be found here.

US collectors, museums and the small businesses of the numismatic and antiquities trade have had to deal with an embargo on unprovenanced artifacts "of Italian type" for some 15 years.  In the interim, Italy has mounted aggressive police actions that have greatly diminished looting in the country.

Yet, all this enforcement effort has done little to actually protect Italy's "cultural patrimony."  During this same time, gross underfunding, ineptitude and corruption have hamstrung Italy's own care for even major sites like Pompeii.  And at the same time, promises of long term loans to museums made by Rome have faded with devolution of power to regions such as Sicily.

Enough is enough.  It's time to scrap current import restrictions and instead promote real cultural cooperation rather than more confrontation.

1 comment:

Dave Welsh said...

It is time to take a thorough look at the 1983 CCPIA, with a view toward initiating legislative action to close "loopholes" that have allowed the State Department's Cultural Heritage Center to thwart its legislative intent, and embark upon a "jihad" against the antiquities trade and antiquities collecting.