Following its efforts to enhance security measures and to better secure trade and travel between the two countries, the Department of Finance’s General Directorate of Customs - Abu Dhabi signed a cooperation agreement last week with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the latter’s headquarters in Washington.
The agreement was signed at the sidelines of a training session organised by the General Directorate of Customs- Abu Dhabi and in collaboration with CBP in Washington. Moreover, the agreement was signed by each of HE Saeed Ahmed Al Muhairi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Customs and Kevin K. McAleenan, CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner, in the presence of Loretta Gamble, Executive Director of the International Cooperation Department; Steven Stavinoha, Director of the US Targeting Center of Fields. The agreement also took place in the presence of the directors from the General Directorate of Customs- Abu Dhabi and managers from Customs centres.
The agreement works on enhancing cooperation between both parties regarding the provision of training and technical assistance, the exchange of expertise, the development of initiatives and mechanisms in the field of risk management and trade processes in addition to capacity building and dealing with inspections. Moreover, the agreement also urges the exchange of security information, as is permitted by laws, policies and agreements in force at both countries, within an atmosphere of confidentiality to apply laws, fight terrorism and achieve general security.
While giving his speech during the signing ceremony, HE Saeed Ahmed Al Muhairi thanked the CBP for their continuous support of the General Directorate of Customs- Abu Dhabi in the areas of training and development. HE stressed on the importance of training initiatives specialised in dealing with inspections and on capacity building in line with the agreement, both of which are considered to be important steps in aiding both parties in facing future challenges.
HE Al Muhairi said: “This agreement falls in line with both parties’ commitments to protect their borders from any risks, whereby we seek to strengthen theses two countries’ positions as safe destinations for travel and business. Hence, I would like to mention the great interest provided by the Department of Finance, in strengthening cooperative efforts with strategic partners at home and abroad. In fact, this enables the realization of both parties’ common interests which then would contribute in supporting customs work, the process of border security and in facilitating the flow of legitimate trade across borders.”
In this context, the directors from the General Directorate of Customs- Abu Dhabi and managers from Customs centres conducted field visits to different US CBP centres in different states. The goal behind these visits was to strengthen the cooperation between both sides in the field of security, and in the protections of customs posts. Moreover, during the visit, the delegation was briefed on the most important skills and practices applied by the US CBP.
The General Directorate of Customs- Abu Dhabi signed an agreement in April 2011 for fellowship programmes on international shipping with US CBP. This is important due to the large geographical coverage that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Unit at the Department of Homeland Security enjoys. Furthermore, the unit has extensive expertise in international shipping operations. The General Directorate of Customs- Abu Dhabi is the first customs administration in the Middle East to be involved in programmes for international customs partnership and border protection targeting shipments.