SAFE supports bilateral agreements as an effective deterrent to the flow of illicit antiquities into the U.S., a major market country.

As the first major art-importing country to ratify the Convention, the U.S. signed into law the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CCPIA) in 1983, enabling the U.S. government to enter into emergency and bilateral agreements, or Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) to restrict the importation of specified objects that are in danger of being looted from archaeological sites.

Countries that currently have bilateral agreements with the U.S. are highlighted in yellow on the map below. Hover over each country you will see the year the MOU was initially signed. Click on the country and you will be taken to that country’s page on the U.S. State Department International Cultural Property Protection web site.

Part of the review process for the adoption/renewal of bilateral agreements includes public hearings in which any member of the public who can provide information pertaining to the four determinations may submit testimony in written statements as well as oral presentations. In other words, it is possible for any U. S. citizen to speak up and say NO TO PLUNDER, YES TO BILATERAL AGREEMENTS.

For more information, please visit the U.S. State Department International Cultural Property Protection web site.


Aside from raising awareness, SAFE has testified on behalf of foreign countries seeking to enter into bilateral agreements with the U.S. to restrict importation of antiquities. We also submitted the results of our advocacy campaigns created to engage members of the public in the protection of everyone’s heritage.


To date, the U.S. has agreed to sign a bilateral agreement with every nation that requested import restrictions of antiquities.