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NOVELTIES FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT OF CULTURAL GOODS BELOW THRESHOLDS

In a note dated 30 June 2021, the Legislative Office of the Ministry of Culture provided the Export Offices with some important clarifications on how to handle administrative procedures related to the circulation of cultural goods below the value threshold of € 13,500.00.

As is well known, with the amendment of the Cultural Heritage Code in 2017, works of an author no longer living, created more than 70 years ago and with a value below the amount of € 13,500.00 are no longer subject to authorisation for export; this amendment, however, had led to a series of application and interpretation problems that the note of the Legislative Office today seeks to remedy.

We summarise its contents by points:


  • DEADLINES START FROM SELF-CERTIFICATION

the submission of the self-declaration establishes the moment from which the period of 10 days set forth for the request for the physical presentation of the property to the board of examiners begins (and, consequently, that of the subsequent 30 days set forth for the commencement of the procedure for the verification of cultural interest or for the affixing of the visa, that of 10 days for the commencement of the compulsory purchase procedure, etc.).

The notation is undoubtedly appreciable, even if, in all likelihood, it will only have a disciplinary or, at most, compensatory effect, since it does not appear that such terms can be peremptory in nature: in other words, in all likelihood the Exportation Office will still be able to request the viewing of the object even after the expiry of such term, without prejudice, precisely, to any compensation for any damage caused to the owner.

  • DOCUMENTATION TO BE ATTACHED TO THE SELF-CERTIFICATION

With regard to the documentation to be attached to the self-certifying declaration, the Ministry's Legislative Office clarifies that the list sanctioned by Article 7 DM 246/2018 must be considered peremptory and, therefore, in the absence of such documentation, the office will not be able to proceed to affix the visa, without prejudice to the owner's right to also produce other documentation ad abundantiam.


  • DURATION OF SELF-CERTIFICATION

The self-certification will be valid for 6 months, during which time the asset will be free to enter and leave the country.

After that period has expired, the self-certification must be re-submitted.


  • CAS AND CAI CAN BE ISSUED

Resolving an interpretative dispute that had led Export Offices to deny the issue of Certificates of Consignment or Shipment (CAI and CAS) for goods below the threshold, the Legislative Office today clarifies that the attestation of a value below the threshold laid down for the issue of the certificate of free circulation is not to be considered an obstacle to the issue of the above-mentioned certificates, which, therefore, can be obtained by the owner under the same conditions provided for all other goods (request to be made within 40 days of entry into national territory upon presentation of the prescribed documentation certifying the foreign origin).


  • VALIDITY OF THE CERTIFICATE OF FREE CIRCULATION AT THE DISCHARGE OF CAS AND CAI

Lastly, reconsidering the policy already expressed by the Ministry in Circular no. 28/2020, which had sanctioned the obligation to proceed with the export of the good within 40 days from the issue of the certificate of free circulation on discharge of a CAS or CAI, the Legislative Office today intervenes by increasing this term to 120 days.

In this regard, although the intention to meet the practical needs that do not always allow the safe exportation of a work of art in such a short time (think of insurance aspects or the preparation of condition reports, which sometimes require a very long time) is to be appreciated, it must however be noted that this intervention leaves unchanged the basic problem, given the fact that the law provides for a free circulation certificate to be valid for 5 years, without distinguishing whether it is the result of a CAS unloading or of an export authorisation procedure (see art. 68, paragraph 5 of Legislative Decree no. 58 of 30 June 1998). art. 68, par. 5 Legislative Decree 42/2004).

Consequently, it does not seem legitimate for the administrative authority to set a shorter term of validity by way of interpretation.

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