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13144 Malta - Agreement Regarding Mutual Assistance Between Customs Administrations


   
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TREATIES AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ACTS SERIES 13144

 

 

CUSTOMS

Assistance

 

 


Agreement Between the
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
and MALTA

 

 

Signed at Valletta March 6, 2001

 

 

 

 


 

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.”

 

MALTA

Customs: Assistance

Agreement signed at Valletta March 6, 2001;
Entered into force March 6, 2001.

AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND
THE GOVERNMENT OF MALTA
REGARDING MUTUAL ASSISTANCE BETWEEN THEIR
CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATIONS
The Government of the United States of America and the Government of Malta,
hereinafter referred to as "the Parties",
Considering that offenses against customs laws are prejudicial to the economic, fiscal,
social, cultural 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
administration 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:
2
ARTICLE 1
DEFINITIONS
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 Malta,
the Department of Customs;
2. the term "customs laws" means such laws and regulations enforced by the two
Customs Administrations concerning the importation, exportation, transit, or
storage of goods as they relate to customs duties, charges, and other taxes or
to prohibitions, restrictions, and other similar controls respecting the
movement of goods across national boundaries;
3. the term "information" means data in any form, documents, records, and
reports or certified or authenticated copies thereof;
4. the term "offense" means any violation or attempted violation of the customs
laws;
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" includes:
a. "seizure" or "freezing," which means:
(i) temporarily prohibiting the conversion, disposition, movement,
or transfer of property, or
(ii) temporarily assuming custody or control of property on the
basis of an order issued by a court or competent authority, or
other means; and
b. "forfeiture" means the deprivation of property by order of a court or
competent authority and includes confiscation where applicable;
8. the term "requesting administration" means the Customs Administration that
requests assistance;
9. the term "requested administration" means the Customs Administration from
which assistance is requested.
3
ARTICLE 2
SCOPE OF AGREEMENT
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. All assistance under this Agreement by either Customs Administration shall
be performed in accordance with the Party's national laws and regulations and
within the limits of its Customs Administration's competence and available
resources.
3. This Agreement is intended solely for mutual assistance between the
Administrations; the provisions of this Agreement shall not give rise to a right
on the part of any private person to obtain, suppress, or exclude any evidence,
or to impede the execution of a request.
ARTICLE 3
SCOPE OF GENERAL ASSISTANCE
1. Upon request, a Customs Administration shall provide assistance in the form
of information necessary to ensure the enforcement of the customs laws and
the accurate assessment of customs duties and other taxes by the Customs
Administrations.
2. Upon request or upon its own initiative, a Customs Administration may
provide assistance in the form of information, including but not limited to,
information concerning:
a. methods and techniques of processing passengers and cargo;
b. the successful application of enforcement aids and techniques;
c. enforcement actions that might be useful to suppress offenses and, in
particular, special means of combating offenses; and
d. new methods 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 general administrative matters that may from time to time
require their joint action.
4
ARTICLE 4
SCOPE OF SPECIFIC ASSISTANCE
1. In accordance with its national laws and regulations, the requested
administration shall in particular provide the requesting administration with
the following information:
a. whether goods which are imported into the customs territory of the
requesting Party have been lawfully exported from the customs
territory of the requested Party;
b. whether goods which are exported from the customs territory of the
requesting Party have been lawfully imported into the customs territory
of the requested Party and about the customs procedure, if any, under
which the goods have been placed.
2. Upon request, a requested administration shall exercise, to the extent of its
ability and within the limits of its available resources, special surveillance of:
a. persons known to the requesting Party to have committed a customs
offense or suspected of doing so, particularly those moving into and
out of the requesting Party's territory;
b. goods either in transport or in storage identified by the requesting Party
as giving rise to suspected illicit traffic toward the requesting Party's
territory; and
c. means of transport suspected of being used in offenses within the
territory of the requesting Party.
3. The Customs Administrations shall provide each other, either on request or on
their own initiative, with information on transactions, completed or planned,
which constitute or appear to constitute a customs offense.
4. In serious cases that could involve substantial damage to the economy, public
health, public security or any other vital interest of one Party, the Customs
Administration of the other Party shall, wherever possible, supply information
on its own initiative.
5. The Parties shall provide assistance through the use of provisional measures
and in proceedings involving property, proceeds and instrumentalities, subject
to these provisional measures.
6. The Parties may, to the extent permitted by their respective national laws and
regulations, and consistent with any other agreement 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.
5
ARTICLE 5
FILES AND DOCUMENTS
1. Upon request, the Customs Administrations shall provide information relating
to transportation and shipment of goods showing value and disposition of
those goods.
2. A requesting administration may request originals of files, documents, and
other materials only where copies would be insufficient. Upon request, the
requested administration shall provide properly authenticated copies of such
files, documents, and other materials.
3. Unless the requesting administration specifically requests originals or copies,
the requested administration may transmit computer-based information in any
form. The requested administration shall supply all information relevant for
interpreting or utilizing computer-based information at the same time.
4. On written request, officials specially designated by the requesting
administration may, with the authorization of the requested administration and
subject to conditions the latter may impose for the purpose of investigating a
customs offense,
a. consult in the offices of the requested administration the documents,
registers and other relevant data to extract any information in respect
of that customs offense;
b. take copies of the documents, registers and other data relevant in
respect of that customs offense.
5. Originals of files, documents, and other materials that have been transmitted
shall be returned at the earliest opportunity; rights of the requested Party or of
third parties relating thereto shall remain unaffected.
ARTICLE 6
WITNESSES
1. In connection with an offense, the requested administration may authorize its
officials, whenever possible, to testify in judicial or administrative
proceedings in the territory of the requesting Party as experts or witnesses
regarding facts established by them in the course of their duties and to
produce evidence. The request for the appearance must clearly indicate in
what case and in what capacity the official is to appear.
2. Any limitation regarding the testimony of its officials shall be provided in
writing by the requested administration. If such limitations cannot be
respected, the requesting administration shall inform the requested
administration accordingly.
6
ARTICLE 7
COMMUNICATION OF REQUESTS
1. Requests 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
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. if known, the names and addresses of the parties concerned in the
matter or proceeding.
ARTICLE 8
EXECUTION OF REQUESTS
1. The requested administration shall take all reasonable measures to execute a
request and shall endeavor to secure any official or judicial measure necessary
for that purpose.
2. If the requested administration is not the appropriate agency to execute a
request, it shall promptly transmit it to the appropriate agency and so advise
the requesting administration.
3. The requested administration shall conduct, or may permit the requesting
administration to conduct, such inspections, verifications, fact-finding
inquiries, or other investigative steps, including the questioning of experts,
witnesses, and persons suspected of having committed an offense, as are
necessary to execute a request.
4. Upon request, the requesting administration shall, be advised of the time and
place of action to be taken in execution of a request.
5. Upon request, the requested Party may authorize, to the fullest extent possible,
officials of the requesting administration to be present in the territory of the
requested Party to assist in execution of a request.
6. The requested administration shall comply with a request that a certain
procedure be followed to the extent that such procedure is not prohibited by
the national laws and regulations of the requested Party.
7
ARTICLE 9
CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION
Information obtained under this Agreement shall be afforded the same degree
of confidentiality by the receiving Party that it applies to similar information
in its custody.
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 if the supplying Customs
Administration has expressly approved such use or disclosure in writing.
3. The requesting administration shall treat information received as confidential
except to the extent necessary to fulfill the purposes of this Agreement. The
requested administration may in particular circumstances direct the requesting
administration to treat such information with a greater degree of
confidentiality. The requested administration shall state its reasons for
making a request for greater confidentiality.
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 Constitution of the
requesting Party in connection with a criminal prosecution. The requesting
administration shall give advance notice of any such proposed disclosure to
the requested administration and, if possible, before any judicial proceeding is
initiated.
ARTICLE 10
EXEMPTIONS
I . Where a requested Party determines that granting assistance would infringe
upon its sovereignty, security, public policy or other substantive national
interest, or would be inconsistent with its national laws and regulations, it may
refuse or withhold assistance, or may grant it subject to the satisfaction of
certain conditions or requirements.
2. If the requesting administration would be unable to comply if a similar request
were made by the requested administration, it shall draw attention to that fact
in its request. Compliance with such a request shall be at the discretion of the
requested administration.
3. The requested administration may postpone assistance on the ground that it
will interfere with an ongoing investigation, prosecution, or proceeding. In
such instance, the requested administration shall consult with the requesting
administration to determine if assistance can be given subject to such terms or
conditions as the requested administration may require.
4. In the event that a request cannot be complied with, the requesting
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 administration.
8
ARTICLE 11
COSTS
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 witnesses, fees of 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.
ARTICLE 12
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT
1. The United States Customs Service, Department of the Treasury of the United
States of America, and the Department of Customs for Malta shall:
a. communicate directly for the purpose of dealing with matters arising
out of this Agreement;
b. after consultation, issue any administrative directives necessary for the
implementation of this Agreement; and
c. endeavor by mutual accord to resolve problems or questions arising
from the interpretation or application of the Agreement.
2. Conflicts for which no solutions can be found will be settled by diplomatic
means.
ARTICLE 13
APPLICATION
This Agreement shall be applicable to the Customs territories of both Parties as
defined in their national legal and administrative provisions.
ARTICLE 14
ENTRY INTO FORCE AND TERMINATION
1. This Agreement shall enter into force on signature.
2. Either Party may terminate this Agreement at any time by notification through
diplomatic channels. The termination shall take effect 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.
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 by their respective
Governments, have signed this Agreement.
DONE at Valletta, in duplicate, this sixth day of March, 2001, in the English
language.
9
DEBORAH BOLTON, CHARGE d'AFFAIRS
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
ALFRED J. PACE
COMPTROLLER OF CUSTOMS
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF
MALTA:



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