WASHINGTON— The United States signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement with Chile Monday marking a significant milestone in collaboration on security and trade facilitation between the two countries. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske signed the agreement on behalf of CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Minister of Finance Alberto Arenas signed the agreement on behalf of Chile.
“This agreement strengthens our nations’ resilience against threats by expanding cooperation and information sharing with our international partners,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “The Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement will greatly facilitate U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s work to prevent, detect and investigate customs offenses.”
“This agreement signifies our commitment to exchange information and provide vital mutual assistance in customs matters,” said Thomas S. Winkowski, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “We look forward to future cooperative enforcement efforts and our continued partnership with Chile’s Servicio Nacional de Aduanas.”
The United States has now signed 70 Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAAs) with other customs administrations across the world. CMAAs are bilateral agreements between countries and enforced by their respective customs administrations. They provide the legal framework for the exchange of information and evidence to assist countries in the enforcement of customs laws, including duty evasion, trafficking, proliferation, money laundering, and terrorism-related activities. CMAAs also serve as foundational documents for subsequent information sharing arrangements, including mutual recognition arrangements on authorized economic operator programs.
The U.S. – Chile Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement was a signed at the U.S. Department of State as a part of a larger Chilean delegation visit to the United States, including meetings between President Barack Obama and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.