The United States signed a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) today with the Dominican Republic that allows for a stronger collaboration between the two countries in securing the global supply chain and recognizes the compatibility between U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program and the Dominican Republic’s Authorized Economic Operator Program. CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske signed the arrangement on behalf of the United States and Dominican Customs Director General Fernando Fernandez signed on behalf of the Dominican Republic.
The United States has now signed 11 MRAs with other customs administrations across the world. The Dominican Republic arrangement is the first to be signed with a Caribbean nation and second in Latin America. MRAs are bilateral arrangements that indicate that the security requirements or standards of the foreign industry partnership program, as well as its validation or audit procedures, are the same or similar with those of the C-TPAT program.
The goal of the MRA is to 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.
The arrangement provides tangible and intangible benefits to program members to include: fewer exams when shipping cargo, a faster validation process, common standards, 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.
In addition to the Dominican Republic Mexico, the United States also has mutual recognition arrangements with Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.