Friday, December 5, 2014

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Singapore Sign Customs Agreements

On December 1, 2014, the United States signed three Customs agreements with Singapore, ensuring greater cooperation and mutual assistance on Customs enforcement and the facilitation of lawful trade and travel.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske and Singapore Customs Director General Ho Chee Pong signed a U.S.– Singapore Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement ("CMAA") and a Mutual Recognition Arrangement ("MRA") between U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism ("C-TPAT") and Singapore’s Customs’ Secure Trade ("STC") Partnership.

CMAAs are bilateral agreements between countries and enforced by their respective Customs administrations. CMAAs 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. With this new agreement signed, the United States now has seventy-two (72) CMAAs with other countries across the world.

The mutual recognition arrangement between C-TPAT and Singapore’s STC will link the two industry partnership programs, so that together they create a unified and sustainable security posture that can assist in securing and facilitating global cargo trade. It provides tangible and intangible benefits to C-TPAT and Singapore’s STP members including fewer exams when shipping cargo, a faster validation process, common standards, and efficiency for Customs and business, transparency between Customs administrations, business resumption, front-of-the-line processing, and marketability.

C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT recognized that CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. The C-TPAT program is one layer in CBP's multi-layered cargo enforcement strategy.

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