Contraband - NZ Customs

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Cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to benefit exporters and travellers


A three-day visit to Wellington in May by United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, resulted in a commitment to a two-year joint work programme that will benefit New Zealand exporters and travellers to the United States.

The signing of a joint statement between New Zealand and the United States aimed at strengthening border security, combating transnational crime, and assisting legitimate trade and travel, provides a platform for an invigorated work programme.

Comptroller of Customs, Carolyn Tremain, says that discussions with the Secretary resulted in an agreement to build on the excellent cooperation that already exists between the New Zealand Customs Service and United States border agencies.

“We agreed to further enhance our ability to assist legitimate trade and travel to and from New Zealand and the United States by being able to target illicit goods and travellers more effectively. The better we can target the high-risk trade and travellers, the faster that low-risk trade and travelers will move across our two borders”.

New Zealand Customs and United States border agencies will work together to improve trade to the United States by increasing participation in our trusted trader programmes.

“This will build on our world class supply chain security relationship whereby New Zealand exporters who are members of the Secure Exports Scheme are 3.5 times less likely to be inspected on arrival into the United States than those of other exporters. Only New Zealand has this status amongst the United States’ trading partners”, says Ms Tremain.

To improve the experience for travellers entering the United States and New Zealand, Customs is investigating whether low-risk New Zealand travellers can become members of the United States’ Global Entry programme, a trusted traveler programme, and in return whether United States travellers can use SmartGate or other means to speed up their entry to New Zealand.

During her visit, Secretary Napolitano was briefed on the benefi ts to New Zealand from a trial that Customs has been conducting of American targeting software, ATS-G. Customs has been trialling the software, which focuses on traveler security and facilitation, for the past 11 months. The trial has been an outstanding success. It has increased the number of flights that Customs is able to profile each day, thereby making our border safer.

The commitment of the United States and New Zealand to a closer working relationship brings a coordinated border management focus to information sharing and operational work, and will see the expansion of our joint targeting activities. Exporters and travellers will ultimately benefit from this commitment and the results of the two-year work programme, which will increase Customs’ ability to
share information to assist exporters and travellers.