Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Homeland Security

efdBern, 20.05.2019 – On Monday, 20 May 2019, the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), represented by the Federal Customs Administration (FCA), signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in customs matters with the United States Department of Homeland Security, represented by the United States Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) in Washington D.C.

A visit to Washington by Mr Christian Bock, Director of the FCA, revealed in May 2018 that many subjects of common interest existed between the two administrations and that they were willing to deepen contacts at expert level. It was therefore agreed to frame this enhanced cooperation between the two agencies in a legally non-binding memorandum of understanding. The economic importance of the United States requires Switzerland to deepen its relations with this key trading partner and in particular to pursue the simplification of cross-border goods traffic. This is one of the fundamental objectives of the regular exchanges of experience and skills that this memorandum of understanding is intended to establish.

Content of the memorandum of understanding

This memorandum of understanding provides a cooperation in customs matters with the main objective of facilitating trade while ensuring security between the two countries. It is agreed in the text that the parties provide mutual assistance in terms of capacity building in various areas,. As is usually the case in such cooperation, these exchanges of good practices will take place through working visits and various types of seminars and training at the expert level in Switzerland and the United States.

The implementation of this memorandum of understanding also provides a good opportunity to exchange views with the United States on some of the main topics dealt with by the World Customs Organisation, as well as on the standards that it is trying to develop in a harmonised way.

This new cooperation between the FCA and the US CBP began as soon as the memorandum of understanding was signed. The search for the first working topics to implement its application is underway and has been discussed on the margins of the signing ceremony, but no concrete project has yet been decided.