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Extension of Import Restrictions Imposed on Archaeological Material From Cambodia

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security; Department of the Treasury.


Final rule.


This document amends Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations to reflect both continuing and new import restrictions on certain archaeological material from Cambodia. Import restrictions that were previously imposed by CBP Decision 03-28 on certain stone, metal, and ceramic archaeological materials that are due to expire on September 19, 2008, are extended. The Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State, has made the requisite determination for the extension of import restrictions that previously existed and for amending the agreement so that it applies also to archaeological material of the Bronze and Iron Ages. Accordingly, these import restrictions will remain in effect until September 19, 2013, and title 19 of the CBP regulations is being amended to reflect this amended bilateral agreement. These restrictions are being extended pursuant to determinations of the United States Department of State made under the terms of the 1970 Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act in accordance with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. This document also contains the amended Designated List of Archaeological Material that describes the articles to which the restrictions apply, including the new categories of objects (glass and bone) and the additional subcategories of stone and metal objects from the Bronze and Iron Age.


Effective Date: This final rule is effective on September 19, 2008.

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For legal aspects, George F. McCray, Esq., Start Printed Page 54310Chief, Intellectual Property Rights and Restricted Merchandise Branch, (202) 572-8710. For operational aspects, Michael Craig, Chief, Other Government Agencies Branch, (202) 863-6558.

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Pursuant to the provisions of the 1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention, codified into U.S. law as the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (Pub. L. 97-446, 19 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.), the United States entered into a bilateral agreement with Cambodia on September 19, 2003, concerning the imposition of import restrictions on Khmer archaeological material from the 6th century through the 16th century A.D. in Cambodia. On September 22, 2003, CBP published CBP Decision 03-28 in the Federal Register (68 FR 55000), which amended 19 CFR 12.104g(a) to reflect the imposition of these restrictions, which subsumed the emergency import restrictions of 1999, and included a list designating the types of archaeological material covered by the restrictions.

Import restrictions listed in 19 CFR 12.104g(a) are “effective for no more than five years beginning on the date on which the agreement enters into force with respect to the United States. This period can be extended for additional periods not to exceed five years if it is determined that the factors which justified the initial agreement still pertain and no cause for suspension of the agreement exists” (19 CFR 12.104g(a)).

Amended Bilateral Agreement

Consistent with expressed interest in an extension of the agreement from the Royal Government of Cambodia and with the findings and recommendations of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, the Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State, made the requisite determinations on June 13, 2008, that the cultural heritage of Cambodia continues to be in jeopardy from the pillage of the archaeological materials described further below in the list of designated materials, and that, therefore, the import restrictions on certain stone archaeological materials from Cambodia that were previously imposed by emergency import restrictions under Treasury Decision (T.D.) 99-88 (64 FR 67479, December 2, 1999) and then extended by CBP Decision 03-28 (68 FR 55000, September 22, 2003) to include certain stone, metal, and ceramic archaeological materials, are extended for an additional five year period until September 19, 2013, and include additional subcategories of objects and new categories of glass and bone objects from the Bronze and Iron Age. Accordingly, the title of the bilateral agreement was amended to read: “Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material from Cambodia from the Bronze Age through the Khmer Era.”

By exchange of diplomatic notes the agreement was extended and amended on August 26, 2008. Accordingly, CBP is amending 19 CFR 12.104g(a) to reflect the extension of the import restrictions on the currently protected cultural property as well as the new categories and subcategories from the Bronze Age (c. 1500 B.C.-500 B.C.) and the Iron Age (c. 500 B.C.-550 A.D.) in the amended bilateral agreement.

Amended Designated List

The Designated List of articles that are protected pursuant to the bilateral agreement, as amended, on Archaeological Material from Cambodia from the Bronze Age (c. 1500 B.C.) through the sixteenth century (16th c. A.D.) has been revised. We note that subcategories of objects from the Bronze and Iron Ages have been added, as well as new categories, such as glass and bone, pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 2606.

List of Archaeological Material From Cambodia From the Bronze Age (c. 1500 B.C.) Through the 16th Century A.D.

Restricted archaeological material from Cambodia includes the categories listed below. The following list is representative only.

I. Stone

This category consists largely of materials made of sandstone, including many color shades (grey to greenish to black, pink to red and violet, and some yellowish tones) and varying granulosity. Due to oxidation and iron content, the stone surface can become hard and take on a different color than the stone core. These surface colors range from yellowish to brownish to different shades of grey. This dense surface can be polished. Some statues and reliefs are coated with a kind of clear shellac or lacquer of different colors (black, red, gold, yellow, brown). The surface of sandstone pieces can also however be quite rough. Chipped surfaces can be white in color. In the absence of any systematic technical analysis of ancient Khmer stonework, no exact description of other stone types can be provided. It is clear however that other types of stone were also used (some volcanic rock, rhyolite, and schist, etc.), but these are nonetheless exceptional. Some quartz objects are also known. Precious and semi-precious stones were also used as applied decor or in jewelry settings.

Different types of stone degradation can be noted. Eroded surfaces result from sanding (loss of surface grains), contour scaling (detachment of surface plaques along contour lines), flaking, and exfoliation. The stone can also split along sedimentation layers. Chipping or fragmentation of sculpted stone is also common.

Stone objects included here come under several periods: Bronze Age (c. 1500 B.C.-500 B.C.), Iron Age (c. 500 B.C.-550 A.D.), pre-Angkorian (6th-9th c.), Angkorian (9th-14th c.), and post-Angkorian (14th-16th c.). Many stone objects can be firmly assigned to one of these periods; some, notably architectural elements and statues, can be further assigned a specific style and a more precise date within the given period.

A. Sculpture

1. Architectural Elements

Stone was used for religious architecture in the pre-Angkorian and Angkorian periods. The majority of ancient Khmer temples were built almost entirely in stone. Even for those temples built primarily in brick, numerous decorative elements in stone were also employed. Only small portions of early post-Angkorian edifices were built in stone. The architectural elements that follow are therefore characteristic of pre-Angkorian and Angkorian times. The state of the material varies greatly, some objects being well preserved, others severely eroded or fragmented. The sculpture of some pieces remains unfinished.

a. Pediments. Pediments are large decorative stone fixtures placed above temple doorways. They are triangular in shape and composed of two or more separate blocks that are fitted together and sculpted with decorative motifs. The ensemble can range from approximately 1-3 meters in width and 1-3 meters in height. Motifs include floral scrolls, medallions, human figures, and animals. A whole scene from a well-known story can also be represented.

b. Lintels. Lintels are rectangular monoliths placed directly above temple entrance gates or doorways, below the pediments described above. They are decorated with motifs similar to those of pediments. They can reach up to nearly Start Printed Page 54311one meter in height and one and one half meters in width.

c. False doors. Three of the four doorways of a temple sanctuary are frequently “false doors”; that is, though they are sculpted to look like doors, they do not open. They bear graphic and floral motifs, sometimes integrating human and animal figures. These doors can reach up to more than two meters in height and more than one meter in width. They can be monolithic or composed of separate blocks fitted together.

d. Columnettes. Columnettes are decorative columns placed on either side of a temple door entrance. They can be sculpted in deep relief out of a temple doorway and therefore remain attached to the doorway on their back side. The earliest columnettes are round and sculpted with bands which themselves are sculpted with decorative motifs. Later in the Angkorian period, the columnettes are octagonal in shape and bear more complex and abundant sculpted decor on the concentric bands. This decor includes graphic designs (pearls, diamond shapes, flowers, etc.) repeated at regular intervals along the length of the column. The base of the column is square and is also sculpted with diverse motifs and figures. The columnettes can reach around 25 cm. in diameter and more than two meters in height.

e. Pilasters. Pilasters are decorative rectangular supports projecting partially from the wall on either side of a temple doorway. They are treated architecturally as columns with base, shaft, and capital. Motifs include floral scrolls and graphic designs of pearls, diamond shapes, etc., as well as human or animal figures. They range in width from approximately 20-30 cm. and can reach a height of more than two meters.

f. Antefixes. Antefixes are decorative elements placed around the exterior of each level of temple tower. They are small free-standing sculptures and can take multiple forms, including but not limited to graphic designs, animal figures, human figures in niches, and miniature models of temples.

g. Balustrade finials. Long balustrades in the form of mythical serpents are found in many Angkorian temples. Often, these line either side of the entrance causeways to temples. The ends of the balustrade take the form of the serpent's multiple cobra-like heads.

h. Wall reliefs. Much of the surface area of most temples is sculpted with decorative reliefs. This decor includes graphic designs and floral motifs as well as human or animal figures. The figures can range in size from just a few centimeters to more than one meter in height. They can be integrated into the decor or set off in niches. Narrative scenes can also be represented.

i. Other decorative items. Other decorative items include wall spikes, roof tile finials, sculpted steps, and other architectural decorations.

2. Free-Standing Sculpture

The pre-Angkorian and Angkorian periods are characterized by extensive production of statuary in stone. Some stone statuary was also produced during the post-Angkorian period. This statuary is relatively diverse, including human figures ranging from less than one half meter to nearly three meters in height, as well as animal figures. Some figures, representations of Indian gods, have multiple arms and heads. Figures can be represented alone or in groups of two or three. When male and female figures are presented together as an ensemble, the female figures are disproportionately smaller than their male counterparts. Some are part-human, part-animal. Figures can be standing, sitting, or riding animal mounts. Many figures are represented wearing crowns or special headdresses and holding attributes such as a baton or a conch shell. Clothing and sometimes jewelry are sculpted into the body. Though statues are generally monolithic, later post-Angkorian statues of Buddha can have separate arms sculpted in wood and attached to the stone body. Many statues were once lacquered in black, dark brown, red, or gold colors and retain lacquer traces. Some yellow lacquer is also found.

a. Human and hybrid (part-human, part-animal) figures. Examples include statues of the eight-armed god and the four-armed god, representations of Buddha in various attitudes or stances, and female and male figures or deities, including parts (heads, hands, crowns, or decorative elements) of statuary and groups of figures.

b. Animal figures. Examples include bulls, elephants, lions, and small mammals such as squirrels.

c. Votive objects. A number of more abstract sculptures were also the object of religious representation from pre-Angkorian to post-Angkorian times. Examples include ritual phallic symbols and sculpted footprints of Buddha.

d. Pedestals. Pedestals for statues can be square, rectangular, or round. They vary greatly in size and can be decorated with graphic and floral decor, as well as animal or human figures. They are usually made of numerous components fitted together, including a base and a top section into which the statue is set.

e. Foundation deposit stones. Sacred deposits were placed under statues, as well as under temple foundations and in temple roof vaults, from pre-Angkorian to post-Angkorian times. Marks on these stones indicate sacred configurations, which could contain deposits such as gold or precious stones.

3. Stelae

a. Sculpted stelae. Free-standing stelae, sculpted with shallow or deep reliefs, served as objects of worship and sometimes as boundary stones from pre-Angkorian to post-Angkorian times. Examples include stelae with relief images of gods and goddesses, Buddhas, figures in niches, and other symbols.

b. Inscriptions. Texts recording temple foundations or other information were inscribed on stone stelae from pre-Angkorian to post-Angkorian times. Such texts can also be found on temple doorjambs, pillars, and walls. The stelae are found in a number of different shapes and sizes and can also bear decorative reliefs, for example a bull seated on a lotus flower.

4. Sculpture in Brick

Brick was used mainly in pre-Angkorian and some relatively early Angkorian religious architecture. Yet, typically, while the bodies of buildings were in brick, some of the decorative elements listed above-pediments, lintels, etc.-were in stone. The brick, of light orange color, was usually sculpted with a preliminary relief, which was then covered over with white stucco, itself sculpted along brick contours. Some brick reliefs seem however to have been fully sculpted and not meant to be covered in stucco. Brick temple reliefs include graphic design, as well as floral or animal decor. Human and animal figures can also be represented.

B. Jewelry

In the Bronze and Iron Ages, beads were made from semi-precious stones such as agate and carnelian. Agate beads are banded stone, black to light brown to white in their bands. These are usually carved into tubular shapes. Carnelian beads are reddish orange and glassy. These are usually ball-shaped. Bronze and Iron Age stone bracelets have triangular or rectangular cross-sections.

C. Chipped and Ground Tools

During the Bronze and Iron Ages, chipped and ground tools such as adzes, whetstones, and arrowheads were made of metamorphic rock.

II. Metal

This category consists mainly of bronze objects. No singular alloy is characteristic of Cambodian bronzes, which contain varying degrees of Start Printed Page 54312copper, zinc, lead, and iron. Surface colors can range from dark to light brown to goldish; a green patina is found on many objects. Some bronzes are also gilt. Some artwork in silver and gold also survives but is much less common.

Most objects were cast with the “lost wax” technique, by which a mold of the object is built around a full or hollow wax model; the wax is then melted out with hot metal, which then hardens in the mold. Because the mold must be destroyed to obtain the metal object, each casting is unique. Decor can be chiseled into the finished metal surface. As early as the Bronze and Iron Ages, objects demonstrate a very high degree of technical skill. The “repousse” technique, by which metal is beaten into shape in a concave mold, was also used.

Most of the objects presented here can be assigned to one of the periods defined for stone objects above: Bronze Age (c. 1500 B.C.-500 B.C.), Iron Age (c. 500 B.C.-550 A.D.), pre-Angkorian (6th-9th c.), Angkorian (9th-14th c.), and post-Angkorian (14th-16th c.). Some pieces, in particular statuary and ritual or domestic accessories with motifs akin to architectural decor in stone, can also be assigned to specific styles and corresponding time periods within the larger historical periods.

A. Statues and Statuettes

Khmer metal statuary is comparable to Khmer stone statuary in both thematic and stylistic treatment. (See general description of free-standing sculpture above.) Statues can be represented alone or in groups ranging from human figures on animal mounts to triads, to more complex ensembles including architectural structures and decor. Though some colossal statues are known in both pre-Angkorian and Angkorian times, metal statues are, generally, relatively smaller in scale than their stone counterparts. Colossal statues can reach more than two meters in height; fragments demonstrate that one reclining figure measured some six meters in length. Such colossal pieces are nonetheless rare.

Statuettes as small around as 15 cm. are common; larger statues more typically reach around one meter in height. Small-scale statues are generally composed of a single cast; separate pieces however can be placed together, for example on a single pedestal, to form an ensemble. Larger works can be composed of multiple pieces fitted together with joints which can be concealed by chiseled decor. Only some small statuettes are solid. Others are composed of two plaques, one for the front of the piece and the other for the back; the plaques are filled with a resin-or tar-based substance and soldered together. Larger pieces are hollow. It should be noted that the Bayon period (late 12th-early 13th c.) has left more bronze statuary than any other period.

Post-Angkorian bronze statues and statuettes, like their stone counterparts, take on certain characteristics of Siamese sculpture but can nonetheless usually be identified as Khmer due to certain types of decor and bodily form which maintain or develop on a specific Angkorian tradition.

1. Human and Hybrid (Part-human, Part-animal) Figures. Examples include standing male figures, Buddhas, four-armed male figures, female figures, gods, and goddesses, all in various attitudes and dress, including fragments of sculpture such as hands, arms, and heads.

2. Animal Figures. Animal representations in bronze resemble those in stone in both thematic and stylistic treatment. Statues and statuettes include primarily bulls, lions, and elephants with one or three trunks. Other animals, such as horses, are also represented but are less common. The only colossal animal images known date to the late 12th-early 13th c. Other animal figures, such as the mythical multiheaded serpent and mythical birds and monkeys, are also frequently found as decor of ritual or domestic objects.

3. Pedestals. Pedestals in bronze often appear to be simplified and reduced versions of their stone counterparts. One innovation of sculpting the base in openwork is to be noted.

B. Other Ritual and Domestic Objects

1. Special Objects Used in Ritual. Special ritual objects include bells, conch shells, and musical instruments such as tambourines, etc.

2. Containers. Ritual and domestic containers include such items as perfume holders, oil lamps or bowls, and boxes with decorative or sculptural features.

3. Decorative Elements from Ritual or Domestic Objects. In addition to the decorative accessory items noted below, there exist insignia finials for banner poles which often take the form of small human or animal figures.

4. Jewelry. Jewelry, including but not limited to rings, bracelets, arm bands, necklaces, and belts, could have been worn not only by people but also by statues. Bronze and Iron Age bracelets may be decorated with scrolls, spirals, and the heads of buffalo/cows. Different types of rings can be noted: Ring-stamps, rings with ornamental settings, rings with settings in the form of a bull or other animal, and rings with settings for stones.

5. Musical Instruments. Diverse percussion instruments, including varying sizes of bells, drums, gongs, and cymbals, were made in bronze. These may carry geometric designs and/or images of humans and animals.

6. Animal Fittings. In addition to bells to be suspended around the necks of animals, common to both the Angkorian and the post-Angkorian periods, various kinds of decorative animal harness accessories are known in post-Angkorian times.

C. Architectural Elements

Metal architectural elements include ceiling or wall plaques sculpted with flowers or other motifs, floral plaques, and panels.

D. Weapons and Tools

Metal weapons and tools include arrow heads, daggers, spear tips, swords, helmets, axes, adzes, chisels, spoons, and sickles.

III. Ceramics

Bronze and Iron Age ceramics are primarily earthenwares with varying colors and surface treatments. Later ceramics include both glazed and unglazed stonewares. Stonewares, and particularly glazed wares, are characteristic of the Angkorian period (9th-14th c.). Khmer ceramics production primarily concerned functional vessels (vases, pots, etc.) but also included sculpture of figurines and architectural or other decorative elements. Angkorian period vessels were generally turned on a wheel and fired in kilns. Vessels range in size from around five to at least 70 cm. in height. Glaze colors are fairly limited and include creamy white, pale green (color of Chinese tea), straw-yellow, reddish-brown, brown, olive, and black. Light colors are generally glossy, while darker colors can be glossy or matte. Some two-colored wares, primarily combining pale green and brown, are also known. Decoration is relatively subtle, limited to incisions of graphic designs (criss-crosses, striations, waves, etc.), some sculpted decor such as lotus petal shapes, and molding (ridges, grooves, etc.); some applied work is also seen. Most decoration is found on shoulders and necks, as on lids; footed vessels are typically beveled at the base. Many wasters (imperfect pieces) are found and are also subject to illicit trade.

A. Sculpture

Ceramic sculpture known to have been produced in Cambodia proper largely concerns architectural elements. Start Printed Page 54313Though some figurines are known and are of notable refinement, statuary and reliefs in ceramics seem to be more characteristic of provincial production.

1. Architectural Elements. Some pre-Angkorian, Angkorian, and post-Angkorian period buildings, primarily but not exclusively royal or upper-class habitation, were roofed with ceramic tiles. The tiles include undecorated flat tiles and convex and concave pieces fitted together; a sculpted tile was placed as a decor at the end of each row of tiles. These pieces were produced in molds and can be unglazed or glazed. The unglazed pieces are orange in color; the glazed pieces are creamy white to pale green. Spikes placed at the crest of roof vaults can also be made in ceramics. These spikes were fit into a cylinder, also made of ceramics, which was itself fitted into the roof vault. Architectural ceramics sometimes have human heads and anthropomorphic or zoomorphic features.

2. Figurines and Ritual Objects. Figurines, statuettes, or plaques can include human, hybrid (part-human, part-animal), and animal figures. These are typically small in size (around 10 cm.). Ritual objects found in Cambodia proper are limited primarily to pieces in the shape of a conch shell, used for pouring sacral water or as blowing horns.

B. Vessels

1. Lidded Containers. Examples include round lidded boxes with incised or sculpted decoration, bulbous vases with lids, and jars with conical multi-tiered lids. Lids themselves include conical shapes and convex lids with knobs.

2. Lenticular Pots. Pots of depressed globular form are commonly referred to as lenticular pots. The mouth of the vessel is closed with a stopper.

3. Animal-shaped Pots. The depressed globular form can take animal shapes, with applied animal head, tail, or other body parts that can serve as handles. The animal-shaped pot is also found in other forms. Animal-shaped pots often contain remains of white lime, a substance used in betel nut chewing. Shapes include bulls, elephants, birds, horses, and other four-legged creatures.

4. Human-shaped Pots. Anthropomorphic vessels often have some applied and incised decoration representing human appendages, features, or clothing. The vessels are usually gourd-shaped bottles.

5. Bottles. This category includes a number of different kinds of vessels with raised mouths.

6. Vases. A number of different types of vases are grouped together under this general heading. Some are flat based and bulbous or conical. Others have pedestal feet. Some are characterized by their elongated necks. The “baluster vases,” for which Khmer ceramics are particularly known, have pedestal feet, conical bodies, relatively long necks, and flared mouths.

7. Spouted Pots. These are vessels, usually in the “baluster vase” form, that have short pouring spouts attached to the shoulder. Some spouted pots also have ring handles on the opposite shoulder.

8. Large Jars. Large barrel-shaped jars or vats have flat bases, wide mouths, short necks, and flattened everted rims. They are always iron glazed.

9. Bowls. Bowls with broad, flat bases and flaring walls that are either straight or slightly concave, ending in plain everted or incurving rims, usually have green or yellowish glaze, although some brown-glazed bowls are known. Some are decorated with incised lines just below the rim. Most have deep flanges above the base; some are plain. Small hemispherical cups on button bases bear brown glaze. Another form is the bowl on a pedestal foot.

IV. Glass

Bronze and Iron Age glass beads are usually very small (1-2 mm across) and come in a range of colors from blue, green, red and white. Other artifacts made of glass include spiral earrings and triangular bangle bracelets. The bracelets are light to dark green or blue-green and translucent.

V. Bone

Bone (and sometimes ivory or horn) beads, bangles, pendants, and combs are found at Bronze and Iron Age sites.

More information on import restrictions can be obtained from the International Cultural Property Protection Web site (​culprop). The restrictions on the importation of these archaeological materials from Cambodia are to continue in effect for an additional 5 years. Importation of such materials continues to be restricted unless the conditions set forth in 19 U.S.C. 2606 and 19 CFR 12.104c are met.

Inapplicability of Notice and Delayed Effective Date

This amendment involves a foreign affairs function of the United States and is, therefore, being made without notice or public procedure (5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1)). For the same reason, a delayed effective date is not required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) do not apply.

Executive Order 12866

Because this rule involves a foreign affairs function of the United States, it is not subject to Executive Order 12866.

Signing Authority

This regulation is being issued in accordance with 19 CFR 0.1(a)(1).

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List of Subjects in 19 CFR Part 12

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Amendment to CBP Regulations

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For the reasons set forth above, part 12 of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (

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1. The general authority citation for part 12 and the specific authority citation for

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continue to read as follows:
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Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 19 U.S.C. 66, 1202 (General Note 3(i), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)), 1624;

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* * * * *

Sections 12.104 through 12.104i also issued under 19 U.S.C. 2612;

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2. In § 12.104g(a), the table of the list of agreements imposing import restrictions on described articles of cultural property of State Parties is amended:

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a. In the entry for Cambodia, in the column headed “Decision No.” by adding “extended by CBP Dec. 08-40” after “CBP Dec. 03-28”, and

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b. In the entry for Cambodia, in the column headed “Cultural Property” by removing the reference to “Khmer Archaeological Material from the 6th century through the 16th century A.D.” and adding in its place “Archaeological Material from Cambodia from the Bronze Age through the Khmer Era.”

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Approved: September 16, 2008.

Jayson P. Ahern,

Acting Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Timothy E. Skud,

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

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[FR Doc. E8-22034 Filed 9-18-08; 8:45 am]