Commissioner Kerlikowske's Remarks at the Signing of the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement with Ukraine
Commissioner’s Remarks as prepared for delivery on May 23, 2015 in Kyiv, Ukraine
Thank you, and good morning everyone. I’m honored to be here today for this important milestone in U.S. relations with Ukraine. I want to express my gratitude to the Government of Ukraine.
I especially want to thank and recognize Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman; Oleksandr Danyliuk, Minister of Finance; and Roman Nasirov, Head of the State Fiscal Service. We value our partnership with Ukraine in pursuing our mutual goal of stronger law enforcement and more efficient trade facilitation.
Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements – or CMAAs – are instrumental in preventing, detecting, and investigating customs offenses and crimes relating to goods crossing international borders.
This agreement we sign today is the result of negotiations that began in June 2014. Since then, our respective teams have worked very hard to conclude these negotiations.
We have a lot to learn from each other, and this Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement will enable us to expand upon and continue the excellent cooperation we have enjoyed.
We’ve negotiated CMAAs with 76 countries around the world – including a number of Ukraine’s neighbors – and the United States is excited to sign this CMAA with Ukraine.
This Agreement provides the essential legal framework for exchanging information and evidence to assist countries in their enforcement of customs rules and regulations. The Agreement will also enable us to jointly collaborate on investigations, share best practices, and expand upon our bilateral relationship. It will also help us in the exchange of information that is vital to our national and economic security.
This Agreement forms an excellent foundation for other areas of cooperation, such as a Mutual Recognition Arrangement between Authorized Economic Operator programs. Such programs establish pre-vetted importers, exporters, freight-forwarders, shippers, and brokers to ensure optimal security while facilitating legitimate trade.
This agreement provides a sound legal basis for information and investigative sharing between our governments that will help our respective customs authorities to do their jobs more effectively and make our countries more secure.
Finally, this CMAA reflects the U.S. government’s commitment to a continued relationship and collaboration with Ukraine’s law enforcement authorities on a wide range of issues, including securing our borders against terrorists, combating drug traffickers, and disrupting the operations of transnational criminal organizations.
Our collaboration and cooperation will enable us—and generations after us–to work more effectively together …to deter, detect, disrupt, and prosecute violators. It has been a pleasure meeting with all of you today.