EU legislation and initiatives
Jun 07 2018 | CINOA

CINOA Position Summary (1 page) on the EU proposal on the Import of Cultural Goods

                                 concerning the 13 July 2017 Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the import of cultural goods

                                                                       (COM (2017) 375) [SWD (2017) 262 final, SWD (2017) 263 final]

                                                                                                      28 May 2018


CINOA maintains its recommendations in Policy paper on and Feedback on Amendments which highlights issues and advocates that the proposal be reconsidered for the following reasons:

  1. CINOA’s overall concern about risks to the EU’s legitimate market for fine art and antiques.
  2. The proposal’s underlying assumptions are inaccurate, and require the outcome of a more thorough analysis before finalising the measures.


If the proposal goes ahead CINOA requested that in an effort to make the proposal less burdensome for the trade, CINOA highlights the following 6 key core components of the proposal:

1)      The trade prefers that the categories of cultural goods which are subject to Article 4 should be required to demonstrate they were lawfully exported from their country of export, because this can be easily verified by customs.

  • It is impossible to identify with certainty the source country for goods from a historical empire that today covers many modern states in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
  • For archaeological objects, historically export licences were often not required and in other cases export licences were given for a collection or crate that did not specifically describe each item.

2)      Article 4 should apply only to goods from a country listed by the European Commission as being a State where there is a significant risk to the safety and integrity of its cultural property. 

  • In order to avoid circumvention through a transit country, a holding period for the ‘export country’ in which the goods were held could be stipulated i.e. 5 years.

3)      The requirement for importer statements should be deleted from the proposal (Article 5).

  • Too many items will be subject to the proposal; start small and expand later, if needed

4)      A quick and efficient process (31 days or less) for import licences/statements is required, particularly if combined with an exemption for goods displayed at commercial art fairs.

  • At fairs, purchases would be pending presentation of a licence/statement which would deter clients who would prefer to purchase items that can be finalised on the spot.
  • Proposal currently allows more than 120 days to complete the process. This needs to be reduced to: 10 day review period from receipt of the applicant’s initial enquiry, 7 (not 30) days to request missing information, 14 (not 90) days to accept or reject.

5)      An electronic system for any procedure/process should be operational prior to the regulation coming into force.

  • A paper system will be unmanageable, both for customs authorities and for importers.
  • Electronic links for goods crossing the border subject to import/export licence procedures would be facilitated by item ID numbers and permit tracking of the circulation of goods.

6)      The recommendation that the list of categories from the UNESCO Convention must work alongside a value threshold of €75,000 & an age threshold of 500 years.

  • The Annex, based on the UNESCO Convention, should also be unambiguous and more precisely targeted including the confusion of the customs codes which should also be addressed.
  • Higher thresholds will limit numbers and allow for teething problems to be resolved