Today the United States and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA). U.S. Ambassador John L. Estrada and Finance Minister Colm Imbert represented their respective governments.
The CMAA is an important part of the strong cooperative relationship between our two countries. It will allow our governments to cooperate more effectively to track and interdict shipments of narcotics, illegal weapons, and other contraband. In many cases, effective coordination between our law enforcement and customs bodies will prevent contraband from ever entering our countries.
The agreement also allows our law enforcement bodies to coordinate the investigation of complex money laundering cases, and make it more difficult to hide ill-gotten gains by moving them across national boundaries.
Further, the agreement will also allow us to continue strengthening our economic ties through expediting trade procedures. Our customs services will be able to set up programs to expedite shipments to and from the United States with a high degree of security, and minimal risk that drugs, weapons, or other contraband are being transported under the cover of legitimate trade.