The U.S. and Mexican governments recently announced a mutual recognition arrangement that will strengthen collaboration between U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and Mexico’s Tax Administration Service’s New Certified Companies Scheme (NEEC).
CBP spent more than two years reviewing Mexico’s trusted trader program to make sure it measures up to C-TPAT standards.
Mutual recognition agreements require countries to agree to a core group of international customs security standards for corporate validations and overall customs controls, and implement them so that both sides can trust the other to check companies within their borders and share the results. The system is designed to reduce the need for supply chain specialists in each customs administration to travel and self-check foreign points of origin, as well as for shippers to adhere to different supply chain requirements.
“This is a significant milestone for both the United States and Mexico, and the facilitation of secure trade between the two countries,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske in a statement.
CBP outlined the benefits of the program, noting it will allow for fewer cargo exams, a quicker validation process, common standards, efficiency for both customs and businesses, and transparency between customs administrations.
C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business initiative to increase security, while allowing legitimate cargo to move efficiently across the border. The program is one layer in CBP’s cargo enforcement strategy.
In addition to Mexico, the United States has mutual recognition arrangements with New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea, Israel, Jordan, the European Union, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.
This column was published in the December 2014 issue of American Shipper.