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New Agreement with China

America has signed an agreement with China, "Import Restrictions Imposed on Certain Archaeological Material from China", that will take effect from January 16, 2009 (see further details from SAFE Corner).

Randy Kennedy has written about the agreement ("Pact on Chinese Treasures Wins Praise", New York Times January 16, 2009). He includes a response from James Lally, a New York based dealer in Asian Art.
James Lally ... suggested that the restrictions would not seriously affect his business or that of many other dealers, saying that the mainstay of their trade is in artifacts that have long been in circulation outside China. But he argued that the agreement was deeply flawed and would end up hurting scholarship and museum patronage in the United States.

“It’s going to have a terrible effect on efforts to encourage new students to study Asian art and on collectors and patrons to become involved in the field,” Mr. Lally said. “They’ll say, ‘Well, I’ll just go to contemporary art or I’ll support the symphony.’ It sends the wrong signal.”
I disagree. Failing to sign the agreement would have sent out the wrong signal.

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