On Tuesday, January 14, 2014 Ambassador Marcie Ries and Minister of Culture Dr. Petar Stoyanovich signed an agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria to protect Bulgaria’s cultural heritage. The agreement, which provides for import restrictions on certain categories of cultural property from Bulgaria, enables both countries to collaborate to reduce the looting and trafficking of these antiquities. The agreement builds on the United States’ ongoing commitment to cultural preservation and respect for the heritage of other countries.
The agreement, Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic Bulgaria Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Categories of Archaeological and Ecclesiastical Ethnological Material Representing the Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Bulgaria, also encourages the increased exchange of Bulgarian antiquities for cultural, educational, and scientific purposes.
The State Department’s Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs made the necessary determinations to enter into the agreement. This decision was consistent with the recommendation of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee. Tomorrow the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of the Treasury will jointly publish in the Federal Register a Designated List of category types of restricted material. The protected archaeological items range in date from 7,500 B.C. to approximately 1,750 A.D. and ethnological material ranging in date from 681 A.D. to approximately 1,750 A.D. will be protected. Such material may enter the U.S. only with appropriate documentation.
Both countries are party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.