Opinion Poll regarding EU Import Regulations

Information about the proposed EU import regulations:

Official EU Documents:

UK Parliament. Documents considered by the Committee on 29 November 2017:

Official Statement from the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB):

Blog posts about the proposed regulations:

From viaLibri blog (Jim Hinck)

From fintiques blog (Mark James)

From A New Look at Old Books blog (Antiquarian Book Company)

From Archives Security blog (Security Section of the Society of American Archivists).

Traduction française:

  1. EN FAVEUR de la proposition d’importation des biens culturels dans l’UE
  2. OPPOSÉ à la proposition d’importation des biens culturels dans l’UE dans son intégralité
  3. OPPOSÉ à l’inclusion des livres, manuscrits et gravures dans la proposition d’importation des biens culturels dans l’UE

14 thoughts on “Opinion Poll regarding EU Import Regulations”

  1. Jaja – die Regulierungswut der Behörden. Anstatt sich darauf zu konzentrieren die Zollschranken abzubauen oder besser noch Zölle und Zollvorschriften ganz zu beseitigen, so wird versucht weitere Hürden aufzubauen. Und das Argument mit den Terroristen und den Geldwäschern geht ja wohl völlig an der Sache vorbei. Wieviele Terroristen und Geldwäscher sind wohl in den letzten Jahren dingfest gemacht worden mit einem alten Buch oder Kupferstich oder Bild unter dem Arm im Versuch das zu *schmuggeln*? Solche Vorschriften doch bitte ersatzlos streichen und der Regulierungswut ein Ende setzen.

  2. I think, perhaps, the authorities are doing themselves a disservice. If importation is more restrictive than exportation, there will be a net drain of their own antiquities to countries outside the EU.

  3. I will probably take early retirement and make my one employee redundant. I have already basically stopped dealing in anything that needs an export license unless essential. I know several members of the Italian book trade who retired when they did not want to.

  4. Learning of these proposals I was immediately reminded of three matters: Knut, US Prohibition, and the so-called war on drugs.

    Sadly for Knut, well-meaning and firm in intention that he was, the waves had other ideas and simply ignored his commands. US alcohol prohibition was a failure except insofar as it kick started highly profitable new business opportunities for speakeasys and distillers of illicit hooch. That this incidentally led to maiming and death from methyl alcohol poisoning and a major boost to mafia fortunes was considered irrelevant.

    As for the ideologically rather than rationally motivated “war on drugs” most analysts consider it a disastrous and dangerous failure. Far more than did prohibition it’s fuelled huge criminal growth. It turned Colombia into a dangerous and lawless country and although there’s latterly been some improvement Mexico has gone the same way. It’s opened massive opportunities for wealth creation for the few at the lethal expense (though adulteration and irregular content but also casual killing) of the many. As ever in such instances it’s the poor and weak who are most at risk.

    The similarity of these instances with the proposed legislation respecting the import of cultural good is clear. The proposed legislation start from a position of a desirable aim but fails utterly to consider incidental and no doubt unintended consequences. It’s simply not been thought through adequately and if it’s implemented with anything like the restrictions apparently considered then it will have two main effects, perhaps most particularly in the book and print trade but also more widely.

    Firstly, exactly as with the second two examples it will fuel free enterprise activity in the area of smuggling and false certification and licensing. Surely the more recent example of exactly this consequence as a result of ordinary people fleeing their homes in Sudan, and Syria and Iraq and elsewhere should be a striking warning. Smugglers grow rich, the people lose everything and many die. Anyone who believes that a certification system could be sufficiently robust to act in a real way against such traffic is deluded.

    Secondly, the legitimate trade in these artefacts will be severely hit. The old book and print and map trade is international, works out of a sense of community and operates on trust and reliability. It’s also rapidly executed. If an EU-based customer wants to buy from me in the UK (I’m assuming for the moment that the present insanity known as Brexit actually happens) a book of a value to require licensing I expect to agree terms, including payment or credit, within a few days so that he will have the book very shortly. If he has to licence the book he has to pay me in advance and then wait for a month or two before receiving permission to import and the effects of such delays and inconveniences will be to seriously disrupt such trades. Books and paper artefacts typically use the ordinary postal service for single items; booksellers don’t turn up or expect clients to turn up at ports to deal with large quantities to be imported. If a bookseller attends a bookfair with a few hundred items the delays and inconvenience are likely to be substantial and the likely consequence is that sellers will deem it not worth the effort and it’s customers in the EU who will then lose out.

    Knut never did master the waves but then nor did the US government in respect of alcohol. As for illicit drugs, the number of ideological ostriches is falling steadily as corresponding increases in numbers come to recognise the huge damages associated with the failure of that policy, damages entirely preventable with a sane management policy..

    Don’t repeat history. Learn from it.

  5. We sell some high end books, but a large part of our antiquarian book selling is done to individual purchasers in the EU who are happy to get a book in Latin on the classics from 1625 for $200-600 dollars. Should this legislation go through, we will of course have to cease selling to those Europeans because the cost of compliance will be ludicrously high. How many terrorists are funding their heinous activities through the purchase of a nice Delphin edition of Pliny’s Natural History? This bill is ridiculous, stupid and will make absolutely no one happier or healthier and certainly not wiser.

  6. The proposal of legislating cultural exchange to the effect of elimination is an absurd idea and will be a near death sentence for the trade. It is the product of incompetent, culturally impoverished bureaucrats of the EU administrative bodies who need to justify their existence. What a poor choice of object though! I wonder about their priorities and honest intentions. When was there ever evidence of books being used for generating funds for terroristm? Prove it! And, if at all, what could the percentage be in comparison to the illigal or, “legal” world trade in objects like drugs, diamonds, weapons, to name just a few. They do not have the guts to go to the source and stop all import/export of weapons! The latter are the best source of income of many countries who prove themselves hypocrats pretending they want to stop terrorism. They are actually making it possible and, financing it! Stop producing and selling weapons and ammunition, and there will be no terrorism nor war. That is how simple it is.

  7. The EU presents as reason for the new regulation on the import of cultural goods the illicit trade of such goods without giving concrete cases or numbers. There are no facts known about the illegal trade of cultural goods. It is a phantom and does not at all justify a legislation which makes the legal trade almost impossible.

  8. An EU which can trade within its own borders in any particular field, dooms that field to extinction within the EU. The only business worth doing will be done outside its boundaries. Many Italian booksellers already have established themselves in other countries where a less restrictive commercial and bureaucratic regime applies, many EU booksellers will be prompted to do the same to be able to persevere in dealing in early Books. Our well meaning but not very practical masters will have legislated some of its unusually productive citizens outside its boundaries for absolutely nothing. Our heroes in Brussels (etc) are on course to achieve 100% control of zero. Congratulations! Cui bono?

  9. These rules will basically make it nearly impossible for American, or other international businesses, to sell historic items to European libraries, and/or clients. Some of the finest libraries, museums, and private collections in the World exist in Europe, and these one-size-fits-all, and poorly designed rules will bar them from continuing to collect and preserve cultural manuscripts, printed materials, and more.

  10. I am opposed to the proposed regulation as it related to Books, Antique Maps and Antique Atlases. The proposal will essentially prevent me from exhibiting at trade fairs in Europe and the transaction cost of compliance with the regulations will likely either force me to add transaction charge that will be paid by my EU clients or I will simply be forced to stop selling material to the EU clients, except at the very high end of my price range.

    In a typical year, I make 3-5 trips a year to Europe for trade fairs and spend on average $15,000 to $25,000 while I am in Europe for hotels, fair expenses and non-inventory, non-airfare expenses. The regulation will make it virtually impossible for me to conduct business as I have in the past and will likely mean I will reduce or end my participation in trade fairs.

  11. The abject failure to widely consult (& incorporate the responses in the draft directive) the specialist national & international associations of antiquarian book & manuscript dealers is just one of the more glaring anomalies of this legislative proposal.

    Where is the EVIDENCE of the need for it for books & manuscripts being smuggled internationally to money launder funds for career criminals, terrorists or similar malcontents?

    The Italian law requiring all PRE-1945 titles to get a formal export license has had a major impact on other countries purchasers being willing to pay up front (even considerable sums) & then be prepared to wait weeks or months whilst the incompetent Italian bureaucracy decides whether or not to grant the export permission.

    This new Directive is the Italian situation on a much more massive scale, without the `devil in the detail` of specific procedures being thought through.

    John O`Connor at O`Connor Fine Books.

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