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Mutual Recognition refers to those activities associated with the signing of a document of arrangement between U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and a foreign Customs Administration that provides the platform for the exchange of membership information and recognizes the compatibility of the respective supply chain security program.  The document, referred to as an “arrangement”, indicates that the security requirements or standards of the foreign industry partnership program, as well as its verification procedures, are the same or similar to those of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program.  Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA), therefore, are bilateral understandings between two Customs Administrations.

The essential concept of Mutual Recognition is that C-TPAT and the foreign Customs Administration program have established a standard set of security requirements which allows one business partnership program to recognize the validation findings of the other program which benefits both Customs Administrations and the private sector participants.

Current Status

As of July 2016, CBP has signed eleven MRA’s:

  • New Zealand - June 2007 – New Zealand Customs Service’s Secure Export Scheme Program

  • Canada - June 2008 – Canada Border Services Agency’s Partners in Protection Program

  • Jordan - June 2008 – Jordan Customs Department’s Golden List Program

  • Japan - June 2009 – Japan Customs and Tariff Bureau’s Authorized Economic Operator Program

  • Korea - June 2010 – Korean Customs Service’s Authorized Economic Operator Program

  • European Union - May 2012 – European Union’s Authorized Economic Operator Program

  • Taiwan - November 2012– Directorate General of Customs, Taiwan Ministry of Finance’s – Authorized Economic Operator Program*

  • Israel – June 2014 -  Israel Tax Authority’s Authorized Economic Operator Program.

  • Mexico - October 2014 - Mexico Tax Administration Service's New Scheme of Certified Companies (NEEC) Program

  • Singapore – December 2014 – Singapore Customs’ Secure Trade Partnership (STP) Program

  • Dominican Republic - December 2015 – Authorized Economic Operator Program – AEO


*Note: This MRA is signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States. C-TPAT and Taiwan AEO are the designated parties responsible for implementing the MRA.

CBP and C-TPAT are always open to suggestions of potential benefits and welcome feedback from our partners, the trade community, and partners of other supply chain security programs.

"The goal of Mutual Recognition is to link the various international industry partnership programs together to collaborate and create a unified and sustainable security posture that assists in securing and facilitating global cargo trade."  

"Mutual Recognition promotes end-to-end supply chain security based on program membership."

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