U.S., New Zealand Agree to Expand Mutual Recognition
New Zealand Ambassador to the U.S. Mike Moore and CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin last week signed four bilateral agreements to advance trade and security between their nations.
Moore joined Bersin at CBP headquarters in Washington, D.C., to sign a Science and Technology Project Arrangement for a pilot risk assessment exchange program, as well as Memoranda of Cooperation to allow for much closer collaboration between the agencies on traveler targeting projects, in addition to letters formalizing tier 2 status for New Zealand Secure Export Scheme members in CBP's Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, known as C-TPAT-marking the first time that another government's secure-supply-chain program merited that level of CBP recognition.
At the ceremony Bersin described the agreements as "path-breaking" and voiced his hope that they would set a precedent for similar agreements with other countries.
The granting of tier 2 C-TPAT status to New Zealand business members of the Secure Exports Scheme translates into generally greater certainty about the movement of their goods to U.S. markets. Both leaders communicated optimism about the agreements' impact on security and trade. "We're true believers and true partners in this," said Moore, stating that the agreements can serve as a "model" for other countries "to facilitate business at the least possible cost."
Bersin opened the signing ceremony by expressing our nation's concern and sympathy in the wake of New Zealand's recent earthquake. "Our hearts go out to our friends in New Zealand as you recover from the devastating events connected with the earthquake in Christchurch," said Bersin. "Please know that your friends in America grieve at your side and are standing in support."
Moore replied that the U.S. response "has touched us all."
"I've been deeply moved by the letters coming from ordinary people, schools running competitions and giving $500," said Moore. "It has been deeply moving."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.