Friday, January 15, 2016

MOU with Italy Extended for Yet Another 5 Years

The MOU with Italy has been extended for yet another 5 years.  That means that restrictions will have been in place 20 years by the time of the next renewal.

There is a serious question why this MOU should have been renewed.  The MOU lacks public support. Restrictions put unreasonable burdens on American citizens importing Italian cultural goods.  Many objects cannot be imported at all because they lack the necessary paperwork.  Yet, Italy has an open, legal market in certain of the objects-- notably ancient coins-- which raises an obvious question:  What's the point?

This burden was never supposed to be permanent.  Rather, restrictions were only supposed to be in force so long as necessary to allow the source country time to get control over looting.  Here, due to aggressive enforcement, Italy has been successful in limiting looting in places like Sicily.

What ails Italy's magnificent cultural patrimony most now-- gross under funding and continued mismanagement of its cultural resources-- won't be fixed by another MOU.

It's long past time the MOU with Italy should sunset, but its burden on American citizens interested in importing Italian cultural goods will last for at least another 5 years.

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