Friday, July 13, 2012

U.S. Renews MoU Import Controls on Cultural Heritage From Cyprus

Byzantine glass lamp.  U.S. State Dept.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Treasury Department today published notice of America's extension of import controls governing archaeological and ethnological materials from Cyprus.

The decision renews a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United States and Cyprus, which serves to protect cultural patrimony in jeopardy from pillage under the terms of the Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA).  The CPIA implements the1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.  Import protections granted under a Memorandum of Understanding--also known as a bilateral agreement--last for five years and may be renewed.

The import restrictions forbid designated cultural objects from importation into the United States unless authorized by permit.  Categories of cultural property protected under the renewed import protections include archaeological objects such as ceramics, sculpture, architecture, jewelry and coins from pre-classical and classical periods.  Other import controls regulate ecclesiastical and ritual ethnological materials such as liturgical crosses, painted icons, glass church lamps, and mosaics from the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods.

Comments submitted earlier this year to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) in support and opposition to renewing import controls may be found here.