TREATIES AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ACTS SERIES 13029
Agreement Between the
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Signed at Washington April 9, 1999
NOTE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Pursuant to Public Law 89—497, approved July 8, 1966
(80 Stat. 271; 1 U.S.C. 113)—
“. . .the Treaties and Other International Acts Series issued
under the authority of the Secretary of State shall be competent
evidence . . . of the treaties, international agreements other than
treaties, and proclamations by the President of such treaties and
international agreements other than treaties, as the case may be,
therein contained, in all the courts of law and equity and of maritime
jurisdiction, and in all the tribunals and public offices of the
United States, and of the several States, without any further proof
or authentication thereof.”
Agreement signed at Washington April 9, 1999;
Entered into force April 10, 2003.
AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE GOVERNMENT OF
THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA REGARDING MUTUAL
ASSISTANCE IN CUSTOMS MATTERS
The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People's Republic
of China (hereinafter referred to as the "Parties"),
Considering that offenses against Customs laws are prejudicial to the economic, fiscal and
commercial interests of their respective countries;
Considering the importance of assuring the accurate assessment of Customs duties and other
Recognizing the need for international cooperation in matters related to the enforcement and
administration of the Customs laws;
Convinced that action against Customs offenses can be made more effective through
cooperation between their Customs authorities,
HAVE AGREED as follows:
For the purposes of the present Agreement:
1. "Customs laws" shall mean all statutory and regulatory provisions enforced or
administered by the Customs administrations of the Parties concerning the importation,
exportation, or transit of goods.
2. "Customs administration" shall mean, in the United States of America, the United
States Customs Service, and in the People's Republic of China, General Administration of
3. "Offenses" shall mean any violation or attempted violation of the Customs laws.
SCOPE OF THE AGREEMENT
1. The Parties agree to provide each other mutual assistance through their Customs
administrations to prevent, investigate and repress any offenses, in accordance with the
provisions of the present Agreement. All assistance under the present Agreement by the
requested Party shall be performed in accordance with its domestic law and within the
competence and ability of its Customs administration.
2. Assistance, as provided for in this Agreement, shall also include, upon a Party's own
initiative or request, all information apt to ensure the enforcement of the Customs laws and the
accurate assessment of Customs duties and other taxes by the Customs administrations.
3. The Customs administrations of the Parties shall also seek to cooperate in:
a. the exchange of personnel and experts, which may include the posting of diplomatically
accredited Customs attaches, when mutually beneficial for the purpose of advancing the
mutual understanding of each other's Customs procedures and techniques;
b. initiating, developing or improving special training programs for their personnel;
c. the consideration and testing of new equipment or procedures; and
d. any other general administrative matters that may from time to time require joint
actions by their Customs administrations.
4. In case the Customs administrations of the requested Party is not the appropriate agency
to comply with a request for assistance, it shall transmit the request to the appropriate agency,
and seek the cooperation of that agency. The requesting Customs administration shall be so
advised. Compliance shall be within the discretion of the appropriate agency, which shall be
under no obligation to reply to such a request.
5. This Agreement is intended to enhance and supplement mutual assistance practices
presently in effect between the Parties. No provisions in this Agreement may be interpreted in
a manner that would restrict agreements and practices relating to mutual assistance and
cooperation that are already in effect between the Parties.
6. Assistance as provided for in Paragraph 1 of this Article shall not extend to a request to
arrest or detain persons or recover duties, taxes, fines or any other monies on behalf of the
requesting Customs administration.
COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION
1. The Customs administrations of the Parties shall, on their own initiative or upon
request, promptly furnish each other information which has come to light in the course of their
normal enforcement activities and which gives good reason to believe that a serious customs
offense will be committed in the territory of the other Party.
2. The Customs administration of one Party shall, on its own initiative or on request,
communicate to the Customs administration of the other Party:
a. information likely to be of assistance to their investigation and repression of an offense
and particularly in connection with new means or methods of committing offenses;
b. information involving the other Party in respect of sources of smuggling goods, routes
of illegal trafficking as well as methods of committing smuggling activities in relation
to cases exposed by one Party;
c. observations and findings resulting from the successful application of new enforcement
aids and techniques; and
d. techniques and improved methods of processing passengers and cargo.
1. At the request of the Customs administration of one Party, the Customs administration
of the other Party shall communicate to that Customs administration information concerning
the following matters:
a. the authenticity of official documents produced in support of a Goods Declaration made
to the Customs authorities of the requesting Party,
b. whether goods exported from the territory of the requesting Party have been lawfully
imported into the territory of the requested Party; and
c. whether goods imported into the territory of the requesting Party have been lawfully
exported from the territory of the requested Party.
2. The information stated in sub-paragraph b and c of Paragraph 1 of this Article shall,
upon request, also contain the Customs procedure used for clearing the goods.
ASSESSMENT OF DUTIES
1. The Customs administration of one Party may, for the purpose of assuring the accurate
assessment of import or export duties and other taxes, request the Customs administration of
the other Party for assistance, if it has good reason to believe that a Customs offense has been
committed in its territory.
2. The Customs administration of the requested Party shall, in accordance with its
domestic laws, promptly provide the requesting Party with all files, documents and other
materials at its disposal in respect of the value, classification, origin and disposition of the
goods for Customs purposes.
At the request of the Customs administration of one Party, the Customs administration of the
other Party shall, within the limits of its domestic law and to the extent of its competence and
ability, maintain special surveillance for a special period over:
a. particular persons who are engaged or suspected of being engaged in offenses against
the Customs law of the requesting Party;
b. particular goods which are in connection with or suspected of being in connection with
offenses against the Customs law of the requesting Party; and
c. particular means of transport used to or suspected of being used to commit offenses
against the Customs law of the requesting Party,
and shall communicate a report thereon to the Customs administration of the requesting Party.
Upon the request of the Customs administration of one Party, the Customs administration of the
other Party shall, subject to its domestic law, conduct all necessary investigations,
verifications, or inspections in connection with matters specified in this Agreement, including
the questioning of experts, witnesses, and persons suspected of having committed an offense.
Where, by domestic law, the requested Customs administration is not competent to conduct the
investigation, verification, or inspection, it may provide the assistance requested within the
limits of its competence and ability.
DISPOSAL OF FORFEITED PROPERTY
The Parties agree:
a. to dispose of property, proceeds or instrumentalities forfeited as a result of the
assistance provided for under this Agreement, in accordance with the domestic law of
the Party in control of the property, proceeds or instrumentalities;
b. that either Party may transfer forfeited property or instrumentalities, or the proceeds of
their sales to the other Party, to the extent permitted by their respective domestic law,
upon such terms as may be agreed.
FORM AND SUBSTANCE OF REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE
1. Requests pursuant to the present Agreement shall be made in writing and accompanied
by documents necessary for the execution of such requests. When required because of the
urgency of the situation, oral requests may be accepted, but shall be promptly confirmed in
2. Requests pursuant to Paragraph 1 of this Article shall include the following information:
a. the authority making the request;
b. the nature of the proceedings;
c. the object of and the reason for the request;
d. the names and addresses of the parties concerned in the proceedings, if known;
e. a brief description of the matter under consideration and the legal elements involved;
f. the time limit for replying to the request and the requirements for methods of
3. Requests shall be made in either the English or the Chinese language.
4. In the event that a request fails to meet requirements as set forth in this Article, the
requesting Customs administration may be allowed to revise it or supplement it.
EXECUTION OF REQUESTS
1. The requested Customs administration shall take all reasonable measures, within its
competence and ability, to execute the request.
2. The requested Customs administration shall comply with a request to follow a certain
procedure, unless that procedure would conflict with its domestic law or normal practice in
force in the country of the requested Party.
3. The requesting Customs administration shall, if it so requests, be advised of the time
and place of the action to be taken in response to the request so that such action may be
ORIGINALS OF FILES, DOCUMENTS AND OTHER MATERIALS
1. The Customs administrations of the Parties shall, upon request, provide documentation
relating to transportation and shipment of goods showing value, disposition and destination of
2. Upon specific request, copies of files, documents and other materials shall be
appropriately authenticated. Originals of such files, documents and other materials shall be
requested only in cases where authenticated copies would be insufficient.
3. Originals of files, documents and other materials which have been transmitted shall be
returned at the earliest opportunity; rights of the requested Party or of third parties relating
thereto shall remain unaffected.
4. When permitted under the domestic law of the requested Party, the Customs
administration of the requested Party may authorize its employees to appear as experts in
administrative proceedings in the territory of the requesting Party and to produce such files,
documents or other materials or authenticated copies thereof, as may be considered essential for
USE OF INFORMATION, DOCUMENTS AND OTHER MATERIALS
I . Information, documents and other materials received in the course of mutual assistance
shall be used only by the Customs administration of the receiving Party for the purposes
specified in this Agreement.
2. Such information, documents, and other communications shall not be transferred to
other agencies or be used for other purposes including for use as evidence in administrative or
judicial proceedings except with the expressed consent of the Customs administration which
1. Information, documents and other materials received by either Party in the course of
mutual assistance shall, upon request of the supplying Party, be treated as confidential. The
reasons for such a request shall be stated.
2. Such information, documents or other materials obtained or communicated under this
Agreement shall be afforded in the receiving country the same protection in respect of
confidentiality and official secrecy as applies in that country to the same kind of information,
documents and other materials obtained in its own territory.
3. Nothing in this Agreement shall preclude the use or disclosure of information to the
extent that there is an obligation to do so under the Constitution or fundamental principles of
law of the requesting party in a criminal prosecution. The Customs Administration of the
requesting Party shall notify the Customs Administration of the requested Party in advance of
any such proposed disclosure.
EXEMPTION FROM ASSISTANCE
1. If one Party considers that the assistance sought would infringe upon its sovereignty,
security, public policy or other national interests, it may decline to afford that assistance or give
it subject to certain conditions or requirements.
2. In the event that the request cannot be complied with, the requesting Party shall be
promptly notified of that fact, and provided a statement of the reasons and circumstances which
might be of importance for the further pursuit of the matter.
3. Assistance may be postponed by the requested Party on the ground that it will interfere
with an ongoing investigation, prosecution or proceeding. In such a case, the requested Party
shall consult with the requesting Party to determine if assistance can be given subject to such
terms or conditions as the requested Party may require.
1. The Parties shall normally waive all claims for reimbursement of costs incurred in the
execution of any assistance under the present Agreement, with the exception of expenses for
experts, and costs of interpreters other than government employees.
2. If expenses of a substantial and extraordinary nature are or will be required to execute
the request, the Parties shall consult to determine the terms and conditions under which the
request will be executed as well as the manner in which the costs shall be borne.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT
1. The Parties agree, that their Customs administrations shall:
a. communicate directly and identify the points of contact for the purpose of dealing with
matters in connection with the present Agreement;
b. after consultation, issue any internal administrative directives necessary for the
implementation of the present Agreement; and
c. endeavor by mutual accord to resolve problems or doubts arising from the interpretation
or implementation of the Agreement.
2. The Parties agree that meetings may be held between the representatives of their
Customs administrations, on an annual basis for the first five years following the execution of
the Agreement for the purpose of reviewing the implementation of the Agreement. The
meetings shall take place, if necessary, at Commissioner levels on an alternate basis. The date
and the agenda of such meetings shall be agreed upon by their Customs administrations
sufficiently in advance.
ENTRY INTO FORCE AND TERMINATION
1. The Parties shall notify one another by an exchange of diplomatic notes that all
necessary national legal requirements for entry into force have been fulfilled. This Agreement
shall enter into force on the ninetieth (90) day following the date of receipt of the last
2. This Agreement is concluded for Unlimited duration, but each Party may, at any time,
request its termination by serving a written notice through diplomatic channels to the other
Party. The present Agreement shall cease to be in force on the ninetieth (90) day following the
date of the other Party's receipt of the notice of termination.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized by their respective
Governments, have signed this Agreement.
DONE at Washington, on the ninth day of April, 1999, in the English and Chinese languages,
both texts being equally authentic.
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA: