U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco David T. Fischer and Minister of Culture, Othmane Ferdaous signed a new bilateral cultural property agreement on January 14, 2021 in a ceremony attended by Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce. This agreement solidifies the shared commitment between the United States and Morocco to combat looting and trafficking of cultural objects, to guarantee a clean market in the United States, and to increase opportunities for the U.S.& public, museums, and researchers to appreciate Morocco’s history and culture. In cooperating with Morocco, the United States seeks to ensure that the unique cultural heritage of minority communities is protected.
The agreement allows the United States to establish import restrictions on certain categories of Morocco’s cultural property, thus reducing the incentive to loot archaeological and historical sites in Morocco. The agreement also gives U.S. law enforcement the ability to repatriate trafficked cultural objects back to Morocco and it will foster interchange of Moroccan cultural heritage with U.S. institutions.
The United States is unwavering in its commitment to protect and preserve cultural heritage around the world and to prevent trafficking, which is often used to fund terrorist and criminal networks. The cultural property agreement was negotiated by the State Department under the U.S. law implementing the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The United States has cultural property agreements with countries around the world, as well as emergency import restrictions on cultural property from Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.