U.S. Response:
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 Review Process: Requests for Protection under the 1970 UNESCO Convention

Official requests to the United States to assist in the protection of another country's cultural property are reviewed in accordance with the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act and Presidential Executive Order 12555, as cited in the Act. This process involves the following:  

RECEIPT: A request sent through diplomatic channels to the United States by a State Party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property is received by the United States Information Agency (USIA), on behalf of the president.  

REVIEW: USIA transmits information about the request to the president's Cultural Property Advisory Committee for its review. The committee reviews information provided in the request with reference to the criteria set forth in the law. During the evaluation period, the committee may examine additional documentation regarding the request. The committee's findings and recommendations are submitted to USIA. The committee may recommend that certain terms and conditions be made part of an agreement.  

DECISION: USIA must consider the committee's findings and recommendations when the committee's report is submitted within 90 days of referral of a request to the committee to take emergency action or within 150 days of referral of a request to the committee for an agreement. Before reaching a final decision, USIA consults with the Departments of State and Treasury.  

  • If the final decision calls for an agreement, the Department of State leads the negotiation with the participation of USIA.
  • If the final decision calls for emergency import restrictions, the U.S. Customs Service takes immediate action.
  • If the recommendations made by the committee are not adopted, USIA must report its reasons to the U.S. Congress.
ONGOING REVIEW: The Cultural Property Advisory Committee reviews the effectiveness of import restrictions and agreements. The maximum amount of time for an import restriction under an agreement is 5 years unless extended. The maximum period of an emergency restriction is also 5 years with the possibility of an extension. Based on its findings, the committee could recommend suspension or continuation of the import restrictions.  


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Revised: November 10, 1998
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