US Implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention Should Be Transferred to the Department of Commerce
The White House has solicited input
from the public concerning reorganizing the Executive branch of government.
On behalf of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild,
Peter Tompa made the following request that the US State Department should be reformed:
"The State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and its Cultural Heritage Center should be reformed by moving the Cultural Property Advisory Committee and decision making on import restrictions on cultural goods to the Department of Commerce.
The Cultural Heritage Center has mal-administered the Cultural Property Implementation Act. That well considered statute was meant to balance the interests of the public, the trade, museums and archaeologists in coming up with import restrictions which were to be limited in time and in scope to objects of cultural significance first discovered within and subject to the export control of a specific UNESCO State party. Instead, the anti-trade and anti-collecting biases of the extremists within the archaeological lobby have been allowed to dominate. The result has been very broad restriction on all cultural artifacts from placed on a given culture. These restrictions have gravely damaged legitimate collecting and people to people cultural exchanges it engenders at $0 cost to the US taxpayer. Instead, the Cultural Heritage Center has promoted expensive academic projects and studies of looting that have cost the US taxpayer millions of dollars with little to show for it. In addition, it has required little, if any, self-help measures from other countries, placing most of the burden of policing the area on US Customs, which is ill equipped to perform the job in a manner that is fair to importers.
Moving CPAC and decision-making to the Commerce Department would likely break this cycle and return our policy for imposing import restrictions back to a more targeted, fair approach."
Dr. Tompa's request is appropriate and sensible. I would add that the administration of the Cultural Property Implementation Act should be placed under the direction of an experienced administrative law judge, as I discussed in this post:
Political Correctness Loses