Monday, 6 August 2018

EU import licensing proposals Debate Delayed

The European Parliament has delayed a vote on adopting new rules on cultural property imports until September. The antiquities trade has been putting lawmakers under pressure to scrap even modest reforms, such as requiring documentation of source country (Anna Brady, 'Leaked document on EU import licensing proposals is deeply concerning, say dealer associations' The Art Newspaper 3rd August 2018):
The European Parliament has delayed a vote on the contentious EU import licensing proposals, initially due in July, until September. But the contents of a leaked confidential document have “deeply concerned” both CINOA, the international confederation of art and antique dealer associations, and the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA), two of the trade associations that have fiercely opposed the new regulations. The document, dated 28 June, reveals a list of draft compromise amendments to the proposal which fall short of the changes argued for by both associations during a meeting in Brussels on 18 June.
One of the problems these dealers see is  in the proposed requirement to identify one “source country” for an item in order to obtain an import license to bring it into an EU country. Dealers claim  “it is impossible to attribute an item directly to any source country, or to pinpoint when it was exported, which means it is equally impossible to state whether such an export was conducted according to laws that existed at the time”. Well, then no responsible dealer can claim that he or she has demonstrated its licit origins before adding it to their stock. So what is such a 'reputation' worth, for goodness' sake, if they are trading items of unknown origins? It is certainly up to the dealers and the would-be importer to prove that the item is not illegal, before attempting to move it across any borders.

The dealers point out that:
the document also does not specify the value and age thresholds for objects above which the new import laws would apply. These, CINOA and the IADAA suggest, should be set at €75,000 and 500 years. 
yet the laws of some countries from which items are exported have other criteria, and surely the new regulations should respect those for individual cases. The new regulations cannot either override the 1970 UNESCO Convention and the legislation based on it in states party.

Vignette: Soon not a matter for UK

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