I. Cultural Property Agreement with the U.S.

On November 30, 2016, the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt entered into a bilateral agreement (PDF), or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to protect categories of archaeological material.

II. Summary of the Basis for the Agreement

The U.S. action is in response to a request from the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt seeking protection of its cultural heritage made under Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. (PDF)

The import restrictions are intended to reduce the incentive for pillage and illicit trafficking in cultural objects.

The MOU establishes a means of cooperation to reduce the incentive for archaeological pillage and illicit trafficking in cultural objects that threaten Egypt's ancient heritage. The MOU also aims to further the international interchange of such materials for cultural, educational, and scientific purposes. The MOU is consistent with the recommendation of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee.

III. Categories of Objects Subject to Import Restriction

The categories of archaeological material covered by the import restriction include objects ranging in date from the Pre-dynastic Period through 1517 A.D., including categories of stone, metal, ceramic, wood, faience and glass, ivory, bone, shell, plaster and cartonnage, textile, basketry, rope, leather, parchment, papyrus, painting, drawing, and mosaics.

A detailed description of the object types covered by this agreement may be found in the Designated List (PDF), published in the Federal Register by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Treasury.

IV. Import Restrictions

Objects from categories described in the Designated List may enter the U.S. only if they are accompanied by an export permit issued by the appropriate authority in the Government of Egypt, or by documentation indicating that they left Egypt prior to the effective date of the restriction: December 5, 2016.

V. For More Information

United States: Cultural Heritage Center

Egypt: Ministry of State for Antiquities
3 El-Adel Abu Bakr St.
Zamalek, Cairo
Tel.: +20 02-2736-5645
Fax: +20 02-2735-7239

Bilateral Agreements

Learn more about the agreements countries have signed with the U.S. to protect cultural artifacts.