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Vietnam: New Provisions on Cultural Treasures Sent Abroad

(June 23, 2016) Under Decision No. 23/2016/QD-TTg, issued by the Prime Minister of Vietnam on June 7, 2016, items formally designated as national treasures may be transported abroad “to serve state-level diplomatic activities of the Party General Secretary, the President, the Prime Minister and the National Assembly Chairperson.” (PM Allows Transport of National Treasures Abroad, VIETNAM LAW & LEGAL FORUM (June 16, 2016); Text of Decision No. 23/2016/QĐ-TTg, Thu Vien Phap Luat (Lawsoft) website (in Vietnamese).) The treasures may also be shipped overseas “to promote the history, culture, land and people of Vietnam under special international cooperation programs, or international cooperation plans on research and preservation of national treasures.”  (PM Allows Transport of National Treasures Abroad, supra.)

Transport of the treasures abroad must adhere to article 44 of the Law on Cultural Heritage, which states as follows:

The bringing of vestiges [i.e., relics], antiques, national precious objects abroad for display, exhibition, research or preservation must satisfy the following conditions:

  1. Getting insured by recipients of vestiges, antiques and national precious object
  2. Obtaining the Prime Minister’s decisions permitting the bringing of national precious objects abroad; or the Culture and Information Minister’s decisions permitting the bringing of vestiges and antiques abroad.

(Law on Cultural Heritage, No. 28/2001/QH10 of June 29, 2001, Ministry of Justice of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam website; Luat di san van hoa [Law on Cultural Heritage], 28/2001/QH10 (June 29, 2001, in force from Jan. 1, 2002), as amended by Luat Sua Doi, Bo Sung Mot So Dieu Cua Luat di San Van Hoa, 32/2009/QH12 (June 18, 2009, in effect from May 1, 2010).)

The recent Decision “applies to all ministries, sectors, political and socio-political organizations at the central level, provincial-level People’s Committees, public and non-public museums, organizations and individuals being owners or managers of cultural and historical relics, and owners of national precious objects.” It will take effect on July 25, 2016.  (PM Allows Transport of National Treasures Abroad, supra.)