Every day, looting and plundering of priceless cultural treasures continue all over the world. The devastation of China’s cultural heritage caused by the illicit antiquities trade is perhaps among the most severe. Tomb raiders, smugglers, and citizens driven by poverty, ignorance, and especially greed ravage the world’s second largest country and destroy its most valuable non-renewable resource: China’s 7,000-year cultural history. This activity is fueled by the seemingly insatiable appetite for the exotic and beautiful at any cost— particularly in Western countries, such as the United States.

To meet this increasing demand, the illegal plundering of China’s archaeological sites has reached a fevered pitch. While this complex situation calls for a wide range of complementary solutions, one effective way to stem the traffic in looted cultural material is the implementation of import restrictions. In other words: sever the chain of supply and demand.

The agreement was extended for another five years on January 13, 2014.

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