The State Department has announced an exceptionally short comment period for a proposed MOU with Libya ending today. The proposed regulation will effectively ban the import of essentially all cultural objects produced in Libya from prehistoric to 1911 (yes, 1911 AD!) - i.e.: 14,000 years of Libyan history.
As everyone knows, Libya is presently a complete war zone but what you probably don’t know is that as part of every US agreement on cultural property, the US agrees to send any art seized at US borders back to the source country. CPIA does not provide for the return of embargoed art to any but a source country government, despite little probability of survival. With no single effective government, there is no guarantee Libya presently has the hierarchy capable of handling any such return.
ADCAEA is against this proposal because we think the request hurried and ill-considered and a move politically motivated in a bid to shut the complete art trade down. What Libya needs at the moment is security: wire fences, bodies on the ground protecting these sites not pieces of paper.
Please do comment on the regulations.gov website here: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOS_FRDOC_0001-4160 . Why? Because silence will only be spun as acquiesce by US and Libyan cultural bureaucracies as well as the archaeological lobby with an ax to grind against collectors.
Click HERE for the full report by ADCAEA explaining our objections.