Tuesday 12 January 2021

Boris's Britain Rejects European Regulations to Reduce Illegal Antiquity Trafficking

       Dirty hands of the British antiquities market  

As part of its post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, the United Kingdom has rejected new import licensing regulations imposed by the EU designed to safeguard cultural heritage from illegal trafficking, according to the Art Newspaper (Valentina Di Liscia, 'UK Rejects European Union Regulations to Reduce Illegal Antiquity Trafficking' Hyperallergic 11th Jan 2021).  
The regulations were introduced by the European Union in April 2019 and are meant to protect against the illicit trade in cultural property, including terrorist financing and money laundering. The legislation requires import licenses for art, antiques, books, and other artifacts that are more than 250 years old before they can enter any EU country. To acquire the rights, importers must prove that their goods were legally exported from the country of origin. Under the new rules, there are no licensing requirements for importing objects of cultural interest into the UK. [...] The legislation, the first common EU law of its kind concerning imports of cultural property, attempts to control the looting and trafficking of antiquities, a thriving [...] industry that has repercussions far beyond the arts sector. For example, the illegal trade of cultural goods often contributes to funding organized crime, according to Interpol.

So, basically, if you are a responsible antiquities buyer, best from now on to avoid the UK market where dealers are not required by any law to prove that their goods were legally exported from the country of origin. But buy from a law-abiding EU dealer who is. 

If the European art market is Europa on her bull, this is what this move makes the British art market right now. 

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