Extended Agreement Further Protects Archaeological Heritage of Cambodia

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 16, 2013

The Department of State is pleased to announce the extension of the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material from Cambodia from the Bronze Age Through the Khmer Era. This extension, consistent with recommendations made by the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, represents a continuation of cooperation that began in 1999 when emergency U.S. import restrictions were implemented to stanch the pillage of Cambodia’s rich archaeological heritage and the illicit trafficking in such material.

The Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia requested this agreement under Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. State parties to the convention cooperate to reduce the further pillage of intact archaeological sites; an activity that destroys information about past cultures and places a nation’s cultural heritage in jeopardy. Cambodia remains the only country in Southeast Asia to receive the cooperation of the United States in protecting its cultural property in this manner.

Restricted objects may enter the United States only if accompanied by an export permit issued by Cambodian authorities or documentation verifying its provenance outside of Cambodia prior to the effective date of the restriction: December 2, 1999, for Khmer stone archaeological material dating to the 6th century through the 16th century A.D.; September 22, 2003 for Khmer ceramic and metal archaeological materials dating to the 6th century through the 16th century A.D.; and prior to September 19, 2008 in the case of archaeological material dating to the Bronze and Iron Ages (1500 B.C. – 550 A.D.) and new categories of materials such as glass and bone, and if no other applicable U.S. laws are violated. The Designated List of restricted types of objects, published by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), and information about the MOU can be found at http://eca.state.gov/cultural-heritage-center/international-cultural-property-protection/bilateral-agreements/cambodia.

PRN: 2013/1122