A copy of the Statement of Intent, the designated list of categories of materials that are limited to import to the United States and corresponding information is available on the Cultural Heritage Center website: culturalheritage.state.gov. On 7 May, Minister of Foreign Affairs Baxter Hunt and Chilean Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the introduction of import restrictions on certain categories of archaeological materials from Chile. The looting and trade in ancient art pose a persistent threat to our common cultural heritage. In particular, nations that have faced conflict and other economic and security crises are at imminent risk of their irreplaceable antiquities disappearing on the black market. With an art market of $26.6 billion, the United States is an attractive final destination for stolen items. However, there are a number of steps that so-called countries of origin can take to keep their illegal antiquities away from the U.S. market. A powerful option is a bilateral agreement negotiated under the 1970 UNESCO Convention on ways to prohibit and prevent the illegal importation, export and transfer of cultural goods. As representatives of their respective governments, senior officials signed the document by exchange of letters. Through this bilateral agreement on cultural goods, the United States will comply with Article 13 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on ways to prohibit and prevent the illegal importation, export and transfer of cultural goods. Currently, the United States has 17 bilateral agreements to close its borders to illegal trade, as well as two emergency measures in which Congress passed laws to limit the importation of undocumented cultural goods from Iraq and Syria.
This list continues to grow as more and more nations take this decisive step to protect their history. This interactive timeline contains a detailed history of bilateral cultural agreements and U.S. emergency measures, highlights the long processes these nations are going through to protect their heritage, and shows how agreements have reached where they are today. The following written statement was submitted by the Lawyers Committee, the U.S. Committee for the Blue Shield, the Archaeological Institute of America and 12 other cultural science conservation organizations to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in support of the ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention. On September 25, 2008, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the ratification of the treaty by the United States. The agreement promotes the common priority of the United States and Chile in combating cross-border crime and protecting Chile`s cultural heritage. The agreement is based on a strong security alliance between the United States and Chile, which allows cultural institutions and enforcement agencies to cooperate to protect Chile`s cultural heritage from looters and human traffickers. In addition, it will allow the exchange of archaeological material for educational, cultural and scientific purposes.