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Statute

Customs Duties, 19 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2613, Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act ("CPIA")

Citation

Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, 19 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2613

Summary

 19 U.S.C. § 2601, defines an object of archaeological interest as an object of cultural significance that is at least two hundred fifty years old and that is normally discovered through scientific excavation, digging, or exploration. An object of ethnological interest is a product of a tribal or nonindustrial society that is important to its cultural heritage. Cultural property includes articles described in article 1(a) through (k) of the UNESCO Convention.

 19 U.S.C. § 2602 provides that before the President may enter into a bilateral or multilateral agreement to apply import restrictions under section 2606 for up to five years, the President should first determine that the cultural patrimony of the State Party is jeopardized by the pillaging of its archaeological or ethnological materials, that the State Party has taken measures to protect its materials, that the application of import restrictions would be of substantial benefit in deterring the serious pillage in the absence of less drastic alternative remedies, and that import restrictions are in the best interests of the international community in the exchange of cultural property.

19 U.S.C. § 2603 provides that the President may apply the import restrictions of section 2606 if an emergency condition exists and the application of such restrictions reduces the incentive for pillage, dismantling, dispersal, or fragmentation that would threaten important archaeological or ethnological material.

19 U.S.C. § 2604 provides that a specific and precise list of the archaeological or ethnological material covered by any agreement under section 2602 or emergency action under section 2603 must be promulgated by regulation by the Secretary of the Treasury.

19 U.S.C. § 2605 provides that a Cultural Property Advisory Committee should be comprised of eleven members who are appointed by the President to represent the interests of museums and the general public; the fields of archaeology, anthropology, ethnology, or related areas; and experts in the international sale of archaeological, ethnological, and other cultural property. The Committee investigates and reviews requests for import restrictions and emergency actions and issues a report with its recommendation on whether to enter into an agreement under section 2602 or implement emergency action under section 2603.

19 U.S.C. § 2606 provides that designated archaeological or ethnological material may not be imported into the United States without certification or other documentation issued by the State Party that certifies that such exportation was not in violation of the laws of the State Party. Without such documentation or other satisfactory evidence, the material will be held at a bonded warehouse or store at the risk and expense of the consignee. If documentation or evidence is not presented within ninety days, the material is subject to seizure and forfeiture.

19 U.S.C. § 2607 provides that no article of cultural property that has been stolen from the inventory of a museum, public monument, or similar institution of any State Party after the effective date of this act or of the State Party’s entry into force of the Convention, whichever is later, may be imported into the United States.

19 U.S.C. § 2608 provides that pending a final determination as to whether any archaeological or ethnological material or any article of cultural property has been imported into the United States in violation of section 2606 or section 2607, such material or article may be retained by a museum or other cultural or scientific institution in the United States if it provides sufficient safeguards to protect the object and posts sufficient bond to ensure its return.

19 U.S.C. § 2609 provides that any designated archaeological or ethnological material which is imported into the United States in violation of section 2606 and is forfeited to the United States will first be offered for return to the State Party and if it is not returned to the State Party, will be returned to a claimant who establishes valid title and status as a bona fide purchaser.

A stolen article of cultural property that is imported into the United States in violation of section 2607 to which a claimant establishes valid title will not be forfeited unless the State Party pays the claimant just compensation for the article. If the claimant cannot establish valid title but establishes that the article was purchased without knowledge that it was stolen, the article will not be forfeited unless the State Party reimburses the claimant for the amount of purchase or that forfeiture should be decreed as a matter of law or reciprocity. Forfeited articles will first be offered to return to the State Party and if not returned, will be disposed of in the manner prescribed by law. 

19 U.S.C. § 2610 provides that in any forfeiture proceeding the United States must first establish that the material subject to section 2606 has been listed in accordance with section 2604 or that the stolen cultural object is documented as being stolen from the inventory of a State Party museum, public monument, or similar institution.

19 U.S.C. § 2611 provides that the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act does not apply to an object or material that is immune from seizure under 22 U.S.C. 2459 or to any article for which there has been fair notice of its location within the United States and to which no timely claim has been made.

19 U.S.C. § 2612 provides that the Secretary of Treasury can prescribe all rules and regulations necessary and appropriate to carry out the provisions of the act.

19 U.S.C. § 2613 provides that the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act will be enforced by appropriate customs officers in the United States and in the Virgin Islands and by persons designated by the President in any other territory or area within the United States.

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