EU propose new import licensing regime for cultural goods

The European Commission’s proposed regulation published on 13 July 2017 is designed to close loopholes and to curb the illicit trafficking suspected to be linked to terrorist financing activities.  If the European Parliament and Council approve the draft  regulation it could become effective throughout the EU in 2019. [3]

Key points

  • Introduces a common EU definition of “cultural goods” and minimum 250-year age requirement.
  • A new import licensing regime is proposed for archaeological objects, parts of monuments and ancient manuscripts & books, being the “cultural goods” identified as most at risk.
  • For other “cultural goods” meeting the minimum 250-year age requirement (including antiquities, coins, paintings, sculptures, engravings, old books, stamps, archives and furniture), importer statements (including signed declarations from the holder of the goods) that the items have been legally exported would be required for them to enter into free circulation or into a bonded warehouse or freeport in the EU.
  • Cultural goods which cannot be shown to have been legally exported could be seized and retained by customs.


[3] ”Security Union: Cracking Down on the Illegal Import of Cultural Goods Used to Finance Terrorism,” European Commission, July 13, 2017,