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Dominican Republic/United States: Agreement on Customs Security

(Dec. 22, 2015) In December 2015, customs authorities from the United States and the Dominican Republic signed a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on customs security; the goal of this arrangement is to create a bilateral customs security structure aimed at streamlining and securing cargo trade between the two countries. The two offices of these programs are the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Dominican Republic’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program.  (Press Release, U.S. and Dominican Republic Sign Mutual Recognition Arrangement (Dec. 7, 2015), CBP website.)

AEO and C-TPAT are voluntary business-government partnership programs aimed at fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors by establishing requirements that stakeholders in supply chains (including customs brokers, manufacturers, and carriers) agree to fulfill in exchange for benefits such as streamlined cargo processing. (Id.; C-TPAT: Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, CBP website (last visited Dec. 21, 2015); Guia Preguntas y Respuestas, Operador Económico Autorizado, Dominican Republic Customs website (last visited Dec. 21, 2015).)

According to a press release issued by the CBP, this MRA between the Dominican Republic and the United States provides important benefits, including simplified approval procedures and fewer inspections of cargo. (U.S. and Dominican Republic Sign Mutual Recognition Arrangement, supra.)

The Dominican Republic is the eleventh country to sign an MRA with the United States; previous MRAs have been established with Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.  (Id.)