Moving Culture: The Future of National Cultural Property Export Controls

Faculty Author Type

Emeritus Faculty [Robert K. Paterson]

Published In

Southwestern Journal of International Law

Document Type


Publication Date



Export controls; Cultural property


Widespread border controls on the export of cultural property are for the most part a relatively recent phenomenon. Such controls only apply to physical objects that can be moved across national borders, and range from regimes that operate as embargoes on whole categories of tangible property to more selective systems that only limit the export of objects perceived to be significant properties. The United States is notable for being the only important art market country that has never had a comprehensive system of cultural property export controls. Export controls present a number of complex issues in both international and domestic law. This paper discusses the a number of important policy issues that need to be considered when developing, or amending, export control laws.