Customs cooperation between the EU and the United States (U.S.) is based on an agreement of 1997 and has been further expanded through an agreement of 2004, a Joint Statement on Supply Chain Security of 2011 and a decision on mutual recognition of trade partnership programmes of 2012.
EU-U.S. customs cooperation is based on the Agreement on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters ('1997 Agreement'), which was signed in The Hague on 28 May 1997 and entered into force on 1 August 1997. The agreement provides the legal framework for customs cooperation and mutual assistance and establishes the Joint Customs Co-operation Committee ('JCCC'), consisting of representatives of the two parties' customs authorities. The JCCC is responsible for overseeing the implementation and ensuring the proper functioning of the agreement.
The scope of the 1997 Agreement was expanded by an agreement signed in Washington D.C. on 22 April 2004 ('2004 Agreement'). The 2004 Agreement expands the EU-U.S. customs cooperation to cover supply chain security and in particular cooperation on the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI). It envisages the prompt and successful expansion of CSI to all ports in the Union that meet relevant requirements. The 2004 Agreement also sets out a work program for further implementation measures, including the development of standards for risk management techniques, information required to identify high-risk shipments imported into the Parties, and industry partnership programs. The JCCC is responsible for overseeing the implementation and ensuring the proper functioning of the 2004 Agreement.
The JCCC met most recently in Washington D.C. on 4 May 2012 (see EU press release IP/12/449) to formally adopt and sign the decision on mutual recognition of trade partnership programs, i.e. the EU Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) and U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) programme. In addition to AEO mutual recognition, the JCCC discussed air cargo security, risk management, IPR border measures and cooperation on detection technology.
Signature of the decision on mutual recognition of AEO and C-TPAT programmes on 4 may 2012
Following the adoption in 2007 of the U.S. legislation introducing a 100 percent scanning requirement for U.S.-bound maritime cargo at export, the Commission carried out a number of studies to assess the impact that the implementation of this legislation would have on EU customs, maritime transport and on trade. The results of the Commission's studies are outlined in the February 2010 Commission Staff Working Document 'Secure trade and 100% scanning of containers '.
On 23 June 2011, three Commissioners and the U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security signed a Joint Statement on Supply Chain Security that defines an ambitious agenda for enhanced bilateral cooperation between Commission services and their counterparts within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in charge of customs, aviation security, maritime security, research and development. The Joint Statement acknowledges that the EU and the U.S. face similar challenges and share a common approach to supply chain security. The Joint Statement outlines several key initiatives and actions, which are being pursued.