United States Signs Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement with Tunisia
WASHINGTON - The United States signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with Tunisia Thursday marking a significant milestone in collaboration on security and facilitation of lawful trade between the two countries.
On June 27, Robert E. Perez, Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) signed on behalf of the United States, and Youssef Zouaghi, Director General of Tunisian Customs signed on behalf of Tunisia, in Brussels, Belgium.
“Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements allow for the exchange of information that is vital to our national and economic security,” said Deputy Commissioner Robert E. Perez. “We value our partnership with Tunisia in pursuing our mutual goals of stronger law enforcement and a more resilient and secure supply chain. These agreements form sound legal frameworks on a wide range of issues, including securing our borders against terrorists and combatting drug traffickers. This collaboration and cooperation will enable us – and generations after us – to work more effectively to prevent, detect, and investigate customs offenses.”
The United States has now signed 81 CMAAs with other customs administrations across the world. CMAAs are bilateral agreements between countries, 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.
CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are the implementing agencies for the United States.
CBP is one of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s largest and most complex agencies, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States. It also has a responsibility for securing the border and facilitating lawful international trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations, including immigration and drug laws.
ICE is the largest investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities.