TREATIES AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ACTS SERIES 13062
Agreement Between the
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Signed at Miami September 21, 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 Miami September 21, 1999;
Entered into force September 21, 1999.
THE UNITED STATES CUSTOMS SERVICE
THE NATIONAL TAX AND CUSTOMS DIRECTORATE
OF THE REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA
REGARDING MUTUAL ASSISTANCE
The United States Customs Service and the National Tax and Customs Administration
of the Republic of Colombia,
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 taxes;
RECOGNIZING the need for international cooperation in matters related to the
application and enforcement of the customs laws of their respective countries;
HAVING REGARD to the international conventions containing prohibitions,
restrictions and special measures of control in respect of specific goods;
CONVINCED that action against customs offenses can be made more effective by
cooperation between their Customs Administrations; and
HAVING REGARD to the Recommendation of the Customs Cooperation Council
regarding Mutual Administrative Assistance of December 5, 1953;
HAVE AGREED as follows:
For the purposes of the present Agreement:
1. the term "Customs Administration" means, in the United States of America,
the United States Customs Service, Department of the Treasury, and in the
Republic of Colombia, the National Tax and Customs Directorate, Ministry of
Finance and Public Credit, or the Administration that replaces it;
2. the term "customs laws" means the laws and regulations enforced by the
Customs Administrations concerning the importation, exportation, and transit
of goods and any other related transactions or operations;
3. the term "information" means data in any form, documents, records, reports
and copies thereof, which may be certified or authenticated;
4. the term "offense" means any violation of the customs laws and related
5. the term "person" means any natural or legal person;
6. the term "property" means assets of every kind, whether corporeal or
incorporeal, movable or immovable, tangible or intangible, and legal
documents or instruments evidencing title to or an interest in such assets;
7. the term "provisional measures" means any measures that temporarily prohibit
the transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property or that permit the
temporary assumption of custody or control of property on the basis of an
order issued by a court or other competent authority. Those measures may
consist of the seizure, deprivation, retention or detention of property in
accordance with the domestic law of the State of each Customs
8. the term "forfeiture" means the permanent deprivation of property in favor of
the State by order of a court or other competent authority;
9. the term "requesting Customs Administration" means the Customs
Administration that requests assistance; and
10. the term "requested Customs Administration" means the Customs
Administration from which assistance is requested.
SCOPE OF AGREEMENT
1. The Customs Administrations shall assist each other, in accordance with the
provisions of this Agreement, in preventing, investigating, and repressing any
2. Each Customs Administration shall execute requests for assistance made
pursuant to this Agreement in accordance with its domestic law and
regulations, and within its competence and jurisdiction.
3. This Agreement is intended solely for mutual assistance between the Customs
Administrations, the provisions of this Agreement shall not give rise to a right
on the part of any private person, or governmental entity to obtain, suppress, or
exclude any evidence, or to impede the execution of a request.
SCOPE OF GENERAL ASSISTANCE
1. Upon request, the requested Customs Administration shall assist the requesting
Customs Administration by providing information necessary to ensure the
enforcement of customs law and the accurate assessment of customs duties and
2. Upon request or upon its own initiative, each Customs Administration may
provide assistance to the other Customs Administration in the form of
information, including, inter alia, information concerning:
a. methods, techniques and procedures related to processing passengers
b. successful techniques applied to prevent and combat offenses;
c. enforcement actions that might be useful to prevent offenses and, in
particular, special means of combating offenses; and
d. new methods commonly used in committing offenses.
3. The Customs Administrations shall cooperate in:
a. establishing and maintaining channels of communication to facilitate
the secure and rapid exchange of information;
b. facilitating effective coordination;
c. the consideration and testing of new equipment or procedures; and
d. any other administrative matters that may considered by the Customs
Administrations, necessary to reach the purposes of this Agreement.
SCOPE OF SPECIFIC ASSISTANCE
1. Upon request, the Customs Administrations shall inform each other whether
goods exported from the territory of the State of the requesting Customs
Administration have been lawfully imported into the territory of the State of
the other Customs Administration. If requested, the information shall contain
the customs procedure used for clearing the goods.
2. Upon request, a requested Customs Administration shall exercise, to the extent
of its ability and within the limits of its resources, special surveillance of and
provide information concerning:
a. persons known to the requesting Customs Administration to have
committed an offense or suspected of doing so;
b. goods identified by the requesting Customs Administration as giving
rise to suspected illicit traffic toward the territory of the requesting
c. means of transport suspected of being used in the commission of
offenses within the territory of the requesting Customs Administration;
methods and sources of payment for goods presumed to have been
involved in the commission of an offense.
3. Upon request or on their own initiative, the Customs Administrations shall
furnish to each other information regarding activities that may result in
offenses within the territory of the State of the other Customs Administration.
In situations that could involve substantial damage to the economy, public
health, public security, environment or similar vital interest of the State of the
other Customs Administration, the Customs Administrations, wherever
possible, shall supply such information without being requested to do so.
4. The Customs Administrations shall provide assistance through the use of
provisional measures and forfeiture in accordance with their domestic law.
5. The Customs Administrations may to the extent permitted by their respective
domestic laws, regulations and other agreements or memoranda of
understanding between the United States and Colombia pertaining to the
sharing and distribution of forfeited assets, agree to:
a. dispose of property and proceeds forfeited as a result of assistance
provided under this Agreement; and
b. transfer forfeited property, funds, or the proceeds of their sale, to the
other Customs Administration upon such terms as may be agreed.
FILES AND DOCUMENTS
1. Upon request, the Customs Administrations shall provide information relating
to transportation and shipment of goods showing value, destination, and
disposition of those goods.
2. Upon request, the requested Customs Administration shall, consistent with the
exemptions set forth in Article 10, provide copies of files, documents, and
3. Unless the requesting Customs Administration specifically requests copies of
files, documents and other materials, the requested Customs Administration
may transmit computer-based information in any form. The requested
Customs Administration shall supply all information relevant for interpreting
or utilizing computer-based information at the same time.
4. If the requested Customs Administration agrees, officials designated by the
requesting Customs Administration may examine, in the offices of the
requested Customs Administration, the books, records, and other documents or
media that contain information relevant to an offense or alleged offense, and
make copies thereof or extract information therefrom.
5. Any materials that have been transmitted by one Customs Administration to
the other shall be returned at the earliest opportunity. The rights of the
requested Customs Administration or of third parties relating thereto shall be
1. Upon request of a Customs Administration, in accordance with appropriate
procedures, employees or experts of the requested Customs Administration
may appear in judicial or administrative proceedings in the territory of the
requesting Customs Administration and produce files, documents, or other
materials considered essential for the corresponding procedure.
2. The requesting Customs Administration shall afford the employee or expert the
protection and legal support necessary, and will assume the costs brought about
by the appearance of the employee or expert.
COMMUNICATION OF REQUESTS
1. Requests for assistance pursuant to this Agreement shall be made in writing
directly between officials designated by the Heads of the respective Customs
Administrations. Information deemed useful for the execution of requests for
assistance shall accompany the request. In urgent situations, oral requests may
be made and accepted, but shall be promptly confirmed in writing.
2. Requests shall include:
a. the name of the authority making the request;
b. the nature of the matter or proceedings;
c. a brief statement of the facts and offenses involved;
d. the reason for the request; and
e. the names and addresses of the parties involved in the matter, if known.
EXECUTION OF REQUESTS
1. The requested Customs Administration shall take all reasonable measures to
execute a request.
2. If the requested Customs Administration is not the appropriate agency to
execute the request, it shall promptly transmit it to the appropriate agency and
so advise the requesting Customs Administration.
3. Where a Customs Administration requests collaboration or cooperation in an
investigation or procedure to be executed pursuant to its request, the requested
Customs Administration may authorize the collaboration or cooperation as
observers solely within the terms and conditions of its domestic law and
4. Upon request, the requested Customs Administration will seek authorization in
accordance with its domestic law for officials of the requesting Customs
Administration to be present in the territory of the State of the requested
Customs Administration to assist in the execution of a request as observers.
5. The requested Customs Administration may, consistent with its domestic law
and regulations, conduct such inspections, verifications, fact-finding inquiries,
or other investigative measures, including the questioning of experts,
witnesses, and persons suspected of having committed an offense, as are
necessary to execute a request.
6. If a Customs Administration so requests, it shall be advised of the time and
place of action to be taken in response to its request.
7. If one Customs Administration requests that a certain procedure be followed,
the request shall be fulfilled in accordance with such procedure subject to the
domestic law of the requested Customs Administration.
CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION
1. Information obtained under this Agreement shall be afforded the same degree
of confidentiality by the receiving Customs Administration that it applies to
similar information that it would have obtained in the territory of its respective
2. Information obtained under this Agreement may only be used or disclosed for
the purposes specified in this Agreement, including use in judicial,
administrative, or investigative proceedings. Such information may be used or
disclosed for other purposes or by other authorities only if the supplying
Customs Administration has expressly approved such use or disclosure in
3. Upon request of the requested Customs Administration, the requesting
Customs Administration, in accordance with its domestic law and regulations,
shall treat information received as confidential except to the extent necessary to
fulfill the purposes of this Agreement or to the extent that the requested
Customs Administration has given its consent. The requested Customs
Administration shall state its reasons for making a request for confidentiality.
4. Where the Customs Administration requested to treat information as
confidential, considers that fulfilling this request may violate its constitutional
obligations, in relation to criminal proceedings it will be exempted from doing
so. In such cases, the requesting Customs Administration shall notify in
advance the need for the disclosure of the information and the reasons therefor.
1. Where a requested Customs Administration determines that granting assistance
would infringe upon its sovereignty, security, public order or other substantive
national interest, or would be inconsistent with its domestic law and
regulations, it may refuse assistance.
2. If the requesting Customs Administration would be unable to comply if a
similar request were made by the requested Customs Administration, it shall
draw attention to that fact in its request. Compliance with such a request shall
be at the discretion of the requested Customs Administration.
3. The requested Customs Administration may postpone assistance on the ground
that it will interfere with an ongoing investigation, prosecution, or proceeding.
In such instance, the requested Customs Administration shall consult with the
requesting Customs Administration to determine if assistance can be given
subject to certain terms or conditions.
4. In the event that a request cannot be complied with, the requesting Customs
Administration shall be promptly notified and provided with a statement of the
reasons for postponement or denial of the request. Circumstances that might
be of importance for the further pursuit of the matter shall also be provided to
the requesting Customs Administration.
The Customs Administrations will, to the extent of their ability and within the limits
of their available resources, cooperate in the modernization of their Customs
Administrations to include, inter alia:
1. organization, structures, working methods and procedures;
2. the exchange of technical experts, trainers and other personnel;
3. the development and improvement of training programs and staffs;
4. assist in the identification of financial and technological resources to be used in
accordance with this Agreement;
5. the establishment of partnerships between the private sector and their Customs
Administrations for the purpose of preventing and repressing offenses;
6. the operation and/or use of chemical laboratories and other technical services;
7. any other administrative matters that may be considered by the Customs
Administrations, necessary to reach the purposes of this Agreement.
1. The Customs Administrations shall normally waive all claims for
reimbursement of costs incurred in the implementation of this Agreement with
the exception of expenses for experts and costs of translators and interpreters
other than government employees.
2. If expenses of a substantial and extraordinary nature are or will be required to
execute the request, the Customs Administrations 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
The United States Customs Service, Department of the Treasury of the United States
of America, and the National Tax and Customs Directorate, Ministry of Finance and
Public Credit of the Republic of Colombia shall:
1. communicate directly for the purpose of dealing with matters arising
out of this Agreement;
2. after consultation, issue any administrative directives necessary for the
implementation of this Agreement; and
3. attempt to resolve by mutual accord problems or questions arising from
the interpretation or application of the Agreement.
This Agreement shall be applicable to the Customs territory of the States of both
Customs Administrations as defined in their legal and administrative provisions.
ENTRY INTO FORCE AND TERMINATION
1. This Agreement shall enter into force on signature.
2. Either Customs Administration may terminate this Agreement at any time by
direct notification. The termination shall take effect three months from the
date of notification of termination to the other Customs Administration.
Ongoing proceedings at the time of termination shall be completed in
accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.
3. The Customs Administrations shall meet in order to review this Agreement as
necessary, or at the end of five years from its entry into force, unless they
notify one another in writing that no review is necessary.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized have signed this
DONE at Miami, in duplicate, this twenty-first day of September 1999, in the English
and Spanish languages, both texts being equally authentic.
FOR THE UNITED STATES FOR THE NATIONAL TAX AND
CUSTOMS SERVICE CUSTOMS DIRECTORATE OF THE
REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA