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EU REGULATION ON THE INTRODUCTION AND IMPORT OF CULTURAL GOODS

Regulation (EU) 2019/880 of the European Parliament and of the Council Of 17 April 2019on the introduction and the import of cultural goods has been published on the official Journal of the European Union (OJ L 151/1 of 7/06/19) and it will enter into force on the twentieth day following the publication on the OJ.

The Regulation completes the EU legal framework on trade in cultural goods, which has included until now only legislation on the export of cultural goods (Regulation (EC) No 116/2009) and on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State (Directive 2014/60/EU). As for imports, it was limited to restrictive measures on trade in cultural goods from Iraq and Syria.

In Regulation (EU) 2019/880, cultural goods are listed in three different parts of the Annex to the Regulation.

  • Part A: list of cultural items the introduction of which is prohibited if removed from the territory of the country where they were created or discovered in breach of laws and regulations of that country;
  • Part B: list of cultural items the import of which needs an import licence or an importer statement;
  • Part C: list of cultural items the import of which needs an importer statement.

 N.B.Items listed in Part A are described in general terms, while items listed in Parts B and C are clearly identified by a Combined Nomenclature (CN) Chapter, Heading or Subheading, they have minimum age and financial threshold.

MAIN ELEMENTS OF THE PROPOSAL

The scope: introduction and import of cultural goods (Art. 1)

The initiative aims at safeguarding humanity’s cultural heritage and preventing the illicit trade in cultural goods, in particular where it may contribute to terrorist financing, by setting out the conditions for the introduction and the conditions and procedures for the import of cultural goods. The Regulation does not apply to cultural goods which were either created or discovered in the customs territory of the Union.

Introduction and import of cultural goods (Art. 3)

The introduction of cultural goods listed in Part A of the Annex which were removed from the territory of the country where they were created or discovered in breach of laws and regulations of that country is prohibited. The import of cultural goods listed in Parts B and C of the Annex shall only be permitted upon the presentation of an import licence.  Exceptions to this rule are:

  • returned cultural goods, within the meaning of Article 203 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013;
  • the import of cultural goods for the exclusive purpose of ensuring their safe keeping by, or under the supervision of, a public authority, with the intent to return these goods, when the situation so allows;
  • the temporary admission of cultural goods for educational, scientific, conservation, restoration, exhibition, digitisation, performing arts, for the purpose of research conducted by academic institutions and for the purpose of cooperation between museums or similar institutions.

Import licence (Art. 4)

  • For cultural goods referred to in Part B of the Annex;
  • issued by the competent authority of the Member State in which the goods are placed;
  • valid throughout the Union.

Importer statement (Art. 5)

  • For cultural goods referred to in Part C of the Annex
  • It consists of:
    • a) a declaration signed by the holder of the goods that the goods have been exported from the country where they were created or discovered in accordance with its laws and regulations of that country at the time they were taken out of its territory; and
    • b) a standardised document describing the cultural goods in question in sufficient detail for them to be identified by the authorities and to perform risk analysis and targeted controls.

Competent customs offices (Art. 6)

Periodic publication by the Commission of the lists of competent customs offices designated by the Member States for the purposes of the Regulation.

Use of an electronic system (Art. 8)

The storage and the exchange of information between the authorities of the Member States, in particular regarding importer statements and import licences, shall be carried out by a centralised electronic system

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