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13103 Mexico - Agreement Regarding Mutual Assistance Between their Customs Administrations


   
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TREATIES AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ACTS SERIES 13103

 

 

CUSTOMS

Assistance

 

 


Agreement Between the
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
and MEXICO

 

 

Signed at Washington June 20, 2000

 

 

 

 


 

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.”

 

MEXICO

Customs: Assistance

Agreement signed at Washington June 20, 2000;
Entered into force June 20, 2000.

AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES
REGARDING MUTUAL ASSISTANCE
BETWEEN THEIR CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATIONS
The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Mexican
States, 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,
Aware of the importance of assuring the accurate assessment of duties and other taxes collected
on the importation or exportation of goods, as well as the importance of controls on foreign
commerce which each respective Customs Administration enforces,
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 Co-operation Council on Mutual
Administrative Assistance of December 5, 1953,
HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:
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Article 1
Definitions
For the purposes of the present Agreement,
1) "Customs laws" shall mean such laws, regulations and any other legal provisions
enforced by the Customs Administrations concerning the importation, exportation, transshipment
and transit of goods, as relate to customs duties, taxes, and other charges, such as countervailing
and anti-dumping duties, or to prohibitions, restrictions and other similar controls respecting the
movement of goods and other controlled items across national boundaries.
2) "Customs Administration" shall mean in the United States of America, the United
States Customs Service, Department of the Treasury and, in Mexico, the Ministry of Finance and
Public Credit.
3) "Offense" shall mean any violation of the customs laws as well as any such attempted
violation.
4) "Seizure" or "freezing," shall mean:
a. temporarily prohibiting the conversion, disposition, movement, or transfer
of property, or
b. temporarily assuming custody or control of property on the basis of an
order issued by a judicial authority or other competent authority, or other
means; and
5) "Forfeiture" shall mean the deprivation of property by order of a judicial authority or
other competent authority and includes confiscation where applicable.
Article 2
Scope of Assistance
1) The Parties, through their Customs Administrations, shall assist each other, in
accordance with the provisions of this Agreement, in preventing, investigating, and repressing
any offense.
2) Assistance, as provided in the Agreement, shall also be extended upon request for the
purpose of assessing customs duties and other taxes or charges with respect to the customs laws,
and for the purpose of enforcing controls within the authority of the Customs Administrations.
3) Mutual assistance as provided in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be provided for use in any
proceedings by the receiving Party, including but not limited to, proceedings on classification,
value, and other characteristics relevant to the enforcement of the customs laws, and proceedings
involving fines, penalties, forfeitures, and in the United States of America proceedings on
"liquidated damages."
4) All actions under the present Agreement by either Party will be performed in
accordance with its laws and regulations and within the limits of its Customs Administration's
competence and available resources.
5) No provision 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 two States.
6) Upon request, the requested Customs Administration shall provide information about
the customs laws and procedures applicable in its territory.
Article 3
Obligation to Observe Confidentiality
1) Inquiries, information, documents and other communications received by either Party
shall, upon request of the supplying Party, be treated as confidential. The reasons for such a
request shall be stated.
2) Information, documents and other communications received in the course of mutual
assistance may only be used for the purposes specified in the present Agreement, including use
by the receiving Party in any proceedings as provided in Article 2, paragraph 3. Such
information, documents and other communications may be used by the receiving Party for other
purposes only when the supplying Party has given its express consent.
3) The Customs Administrations shall inform each other of any change in their data
protection laws occurring after the entry into force of this Agreement.
4) This Article shall not preclude the use or disclosure of information to the extent that
there is an obligation to do so under the laws of the requesting Party in connection with a
criminal prosecution. The requesting Party shall give advance notice of any such proposed
disclosure to the requested Party.
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Article 4
Exemptions from Assistance
1) In cases where the requested Party is of the opinion that compliance with a request
would infringe upon its sovereignty, security, public policy or other substantive national
interests, assistance can be refused or compliance may be made subject to the satisfaction of
certain conditions or requirements.
2) In cases where a request is made with which the requesting Party itself would be
unable to comply if requested by the other Party, the requesting Party shall draw attention to this
fact in its request. Compliance with such a request shall be within the discretion of the requested
Party.
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 such terms and conditions as the requested
administration may require.
Article 5
Form and Substance of Requests for Assistance
1) Requests pursuant to the present Agreement shall be made in writing. Documents
necessary for the execution of such requests shall accompany the request. When required
because of the exigency of the situation, oral requests may also be accepted but shall be
confirmed in writing as expeditiously as possible, but no later than 10 days from the date of the
oral request.
2) Requests pursuant to paragraph 1 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.
Article 6
Conduct of Assistance
1) Assistance shall be carried out in direct communication between officials designated
by the Heads of the respective Customs Administrations.
2) In case the Customs Administration of the requested Party is not the appropriate
agency to comply with the request, it shall promptly transmit the request to the appropriate
agency and seek the cooperation of that agency. The requesting Customs Administration shall be
so advised.
Article 7
Execution of Requests
1) Subject to the exemptions set forth in Article 4, the Customs Administrations will
provide the requested information for the purposes set out in this Agreement. In cases where the
information available in the files of the Customs Administration is not sufficient to comply with
the request, the requested Customs Administration will seek any official measures to carry out
the request. The laws and regulations of the requested Party shall be applicable in the execution
of requests.
2) The Customs Administration of either Party shall, upon the request of the Customs
Administration of the other Party, conduct any necessary investigation, including the questioning
of persons suspected of having committed an offense, as well as of experts and witnesses, and
examine books, documents, records or other tangible goods that might be relevant or essential to
the investigation.
3) The Customs Administration of either Party shall, upon the request of the Customs
Administration of the other Party, undertake verifications, inspections and fact-finding inquiries
in connection with the matters referred to in the present Agreement.
4) A request by a Party that a certain procedure be followed shall be complied with
pursuant to the laws and regulations applicable according to paragraph 1.
5) A request by a Party that its representative be present when the action to be taken is
carried out shall be complied with to the fullest extent possible.
6) The requesting Party shall, if it so requests, be advised of the time and place of the
action to be taken in response to the request.
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7) In the event that the request cannot be complied with, the requesting Party shall be
immediately notified of that fact, with a statement of the reasons and of circumstances which
might be of importance for the further pursuit of the matter.
Article 8
Files, Documents and other Materials; Experts and Witnesses
1) Originals of files, documents and other materials shall be requested only in cases
where copies would be insufficient. Unless the requesting Customs Administration specifically
requests originals or copies, any information to be exchanged under this Agreement may be
replaced by computer based information produced in any form for the same purpose. All
relevant information for interpreting or utilizing that information shall be supplied at the same
time.
2) 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.
3) The Customs Administration of one Party may authorize its employees to appear as
experts or witnesses in judicial or administrative proceedings in the territory of the other Party
and to produce such files, documents or other materials or certified copies thereof, as may be
considered essential for the proceedings.
Article 9
Costs
1) The Parties shall waive all claims for reimbursement of costs incurred in the execution
of the present Agreement, with the exception of expenses for experts and witnesses.
2) If expenses of an exceptional and extraordinary nature are or will be required, in order
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.
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Article 10
Instances of Assistance
1) Upon request, the Customs Administrations shall inform each other whether goods
exported from the territory of one Party have been lawfully imported into the territory of the
other Party. The information shall, upon request, contain the customs procedure used for
clearing the goods.
2) The Customs Administration of one Party, upon the request of the Customs
Administration of the other Party, shall, to the extent of its ability, and consistent with its
domestic laws and regulations, exercise special surveillance of:
a. means of transport suspected of being used in offenses within the territory
of the requesting Party;
b. goods designated by the requesting Party as the object of an extensive
clandestine trade of which it is the country of destination; and
c. particular persons known or suspected by the requesting Party of being
engaged in an offense.
3) The Customs Administrations of the Parties shall, on their own initiative or upon
request, and consistent with the exemptions set forth in Article 4, furnish each other information
regarding activities which may result in offenses within the territory of the other Party. In
serious cases which could involve substantial damage to the economy, public health, public
security, or any other vital interest of the other Party, such information shall be supplied without
being requested.
4) The Customs Administrations of the Parties, for the purpose of aiding, within the scope
of their authority, in the repression of offenses, will communicate to each other as far as possible,
without the necessity of a request, all information regarding such possible violations of the
customs laws of the other Party.
5) The Customs Administrations of the Parties shall take such steps as may be necessary
and within the scope of their authority in order to ensure that goods exported and imported over
the common frontier pass through the competent Customs offices and under such controls as it
may be necessary to impose.
6) The Customs Administrations of the Parties shall communicate to each other for that
purpose a list of the Customs offices located along the common frontier, details of the
competencies of those offices and their working hours and, when appropriate, any changes in
these particulars.
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7) The Customs Administrations of the Parties shall endeavor to correlate the
competencies and working hours of corresponding Customs offices, subject to operational and
working limitations and in accordance with the requirements imposed by the flow of their
international trade.
8) The Customs Administrations shall furnish each other all information which may be
useful for enforcement actions against offenses, in particular information relating to new
methods used in committing such offenses. They shall, furthermore, furnish copies of reports or
excerpts from reports on the subject of special means for combating offenses.
9) Based on a suspected offense, and/or in order to ensure compliance with the laws and
regulations enforced by the Customs Administrations, the Customs Administrations of the
Parties shall furnish one another, whenever possible, available information on a continuing basis,
regarding the movement between the United States and Mexico of goods, whether in-transit or
otherwise, vessels, vehicles, and aircraft, and any statistical information regarding these
activities.
Article 11
Special Instances of Assistance
1) The Parties shall provide assistance through seizure, freezing or forfeiture of property
and in proceedings involving property, proceeds, and instrumentalities subject to these measures.
2) The Parties may to the extent permitted by their respective domestic laws and
regulations, and consistent with other agreements between them pertaining to the sharing and
disposition of forfeited assets:
a. dispose of property, proceeds, and instrumentalities forfeited as a result of
assistance provided under this Agreement; and
b. transfer forfeited property, proceeds, or instrumentalities, or the proceeds
of their sale, to the other Party upon such terms as may be agreed.
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Article 12
Implementation of the Agreement
1) The Customs Administrations may communicate directly for the purpose of dealing
with matters arising out of the present Agreement which are not questions of foreign policy or
international law, and after consultation shall issue any administrative directives for the
implementation of the present Agreement.
2) The Customs Administrations of the Parties agree to meet periodically as necessary at
the request of either Party, in order to review the implementation of this Agreement.
Article 13
Territorial Applicability
This Agreement shall be applicable to the Customs territories of both Parties as defined in their
national legal and administrative provisions.
Article 14
Dispute Settlement
Any matter arising from the application or interpretation of this agreement should be resolved by
common agreement between the Customs Administrations of the Parties.
Article 15
Entry into Force and Termination
1) The Agreement Between the United States of America and the United Mexican States
Regarding Mutual Assistance between their Customs Services, signed on September 30, 1976, is
hereby terminated and replaced by this Agreement upon its entry into force. Ongoing
proceedings at the time of termination shall nonetheless be completed in accordance with the
provisions of this Agreement.
2) This Agreement shall enter into force on the date it is signed, and shall remain in force
indefinitely, unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or terminated in accordance with paragraph 4
below.
3) This Agreement may be modified by agreement between the Parties.
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4) Either Party may terminate this Agreement at any time by written notification. The
termination shall be effective three months from the date of notification of termination to the
other Party. Ongoing proceedings at the time of termination shall nonetheless be completed in
accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.
Signed at Washington, this twentieth day of June, the year two thousand, in two originals,
in the English and Spanish languages, both texts being equally authentic.
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES:
Lawrence H. Summers
Secretary of the Treasury
José Angel Gurria Trevino
Secretario de Hacienda y
Crédito Publico



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