Brief History on the U.S.- Cambodia Agreement
On December 2, 1999, the U.S. imposed an emergency import restriction on Khmer stone sculpture and architectural elements from Cambodia, unless such objects were accompanied by export permits issued by the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, or by documentation demonstrating that they were out of the country before December 2, 1999. Following this, in 2003, U.S. and Cambodia entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to impose import restrictions on certain Khmer archaeological materials in stone, metal, and ceramic. The materials previously protected under the emergency import restriction are subsumed under this agreement. Cambodia must submit a proposal to extend this agreement every 5 years. These extensions happened in 2008 during which it was amended to apply to U.S. import restrictions to archaeological material dating from the Bronze Age to the end of the Khmer Empire. It was then extended for an additional five years, effective September 19, 2013.
The 2017 Renewal Hearing
On Monday, October 23, 2017 members of the Antiquities Coalition joined together with fellow advocates to attend a hearing and show support for the renewal of the MoU. The renewal of MoU would allow CPAC and State to continue to place import restrictions on incoming antiquities from Cambodia to help curb the rampant artifact looting and cultural racketeering that has taken place. The U.S. has several such bilateral agreements with over a dozen countries.
Tess Davis (The Antiquities Coalition); Katie Paul (The Antiquities Coalition) and Mitch Hendrickson (University of Illinois at Chicago) participated in the open session by testifying in favor of the renewal. The written comments submitted to CPAC also underlined the extent of the support of this MoU with 20 of the letters written in favor of the renewal and only 2 against.