American coin collectors and art dealers say a rule under consideration at the State Department could dramatically decrease the importation of goods from China, crippling a booming antiquities market in the United States.
The State Department has not yet imposed any restrictions, but officials are considering requiring shippers to provide documentation of ownership when moving goods from China to the United States. Chinese officials, who asked the State Department for the change in 2004, argue the rule is a way to protect China’s cultural heritage and prevent the trafficking of stolen goods.
Coin collectors and art dealers fear more than a receipt will be required. Instead, they expect to have to track an item’s lineage under the new rule.
That could dramatically scale back what is a growing, multimillion-dollar antiquities trade with Asia and foist an unmanageable amount of paperwork on small-business coin collectors, critics claim.
Without the necessary paperwork, customs inspectors could seize the artifacts. . . .
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