AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE GOVERNMENT
OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION ON COOPERATION AND MUTUAL ASSISTANCE
IN CUSTOMS MATTERS
The Government of the United States of America and the Government
of the Russian Federation, hereinafter referred to as "the
Regarding violations of customs laws as being detrimental to the economic,
social, fiscal interests, and public health of their respective countries,
as well as to the lawful interests of commerce;
Noting the importance of ensuring the precise calculation of customs duties
and other fees imposed on the import or export of goods, and of properly
enforcing conditions of prohibition, restriction, and control;
Recognizing the need for international cooperation in matters related to
the administration and enforcement of the customs laws of their respective
Believing that efforts directed at preventing violations of customs laws,
and at ensuring the proper imposition of import and export duties, can
become more effective by cooperation between the Customs Administrations;
Having regard to the Recommendation of the Customs Cooperation Council
regarding Mutual Administrative Assistance of December 5, 1953, and
obligations under multilateral agreements such as the Vienna Convention of
December 20, 1988;
Have agreed as follows:
For the purposes of the present Agreement:
"Customs laws" shall mean such laws and regulations enforced
by the Customs Administrations concerning the importation,
exportation, and transit or circulation of goods, as they
relate to customs duties, taxes and other charges, or to
prohibitions, restrictions and other similar controls
respecting the movement of controlled or prohibited goods
across national boundaries.
"Customs Administration" shall mean, in the United States of
America, the United States Customs Service, Department of the
Treasury, and in the Russian Federation, the State Customs
Committee of the Russian Federation.
"Offense" shall mean any violation of the Customs laws as
well as any attempted violation of such laws.
"Person" shall mean any natural or legal person.
"Property" shall mean assets of every kind, whether movable
or immovable, tangible or intangible, and legal documents or
instruments evidencing title to or an interest in such
"Seizure" or "freezing" means temporarily prohibiting the
transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property, or
temporarily assuming custody or control of property on the
basis of an order issued by a court, or other competent
"Forfeiture" includes confiscation where applicable, and
means the deprivation of property by order of a court or
other competent authority.
SCOPE OF AGREEMENT
The Parties shall assist each other through the Customs
Administrations to prevent, investigate and repress any
offense, in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.
The Parties affirm their commitment to the facilitation of
the legitimate movement of goods and individuals and will, by
mutual arrangement of the Customs Administrations, undertake
measures to improve customs systems, techniques, and
procedures with a view toward achieving that objective in
accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.
All assistance under the present Agreement by either Customs
Administration shall be performed in accordance with its
This Agreement is intended solely for mutual assistance
between the Parties; the provisions of this Agreement shall
not give rise to a right on the part of any person to obtain,
suppress, or exclude any evidence, or to impede in the
execution of a request.
This Agreement is without prejudice to mutual assistance
practices presently in effect between the Parties.
FORMS OF COOPERATION AND MUTUAL ASSISTANCE
Assistance provided pursuant to this Agreement shall include
the exchange of information necessary to ensure the
enforcement of the customs laws and the accurate assessment
of customs duties, taxes, and other fees. Such information,
provided upon the initiative or request of either Customs
Administration, shall include where applicable, but not be
enforcement actions that might be useful to suppress
offenses and, in particular, special means of combating
new methods used in committing offenses;
observations and findings resulting from the successful
application of new enforcement aids and techniques; and
techniques and improved methods of processing goods and
Assistance as provided in Paragraph 1 of this Article shall
be provided for use in all proceedings, whether judicial,
administrative or investigative, and shall include but not be
limited to proceedings on classification, value, origin, and
other characteristics relevant to the administration and
enforcement of the customs laws, and proceedings involving
fines, penalties, forfeitures and liquidated damages.
The Parties, through the Customs Administrations, shall
initiating, developing or improving specific training
programs for their personnel;
establishing and maintaining channels of communication
between the Customs Administrations to facilitate the
secure and rapid exchange of information;
facilitating effective coordination between the Customs
Administrations, including the exchange of personnel,
experts and the posting of liaison officers;
exchanging information and experience concerning the
testing of new equipment or procedures; and
any other general administrative matters that may
require their joint action.
SPECIAL INSTANCES OF MUTUAL ASSISTANCE
Upon request, each Customs Administration shall supply to the
other Customs Administration information on whether goods
exported from the territory of the country of the requesting
Customs Administration have been lawfully imported into the
territory of the country of the requested Customs
Administration, and the nature of the customs procedure, if
any, under which the goods have been placed.
Either Customs Administration, upon request of the other
Customs Administration, shall exercise special surveillance
means of transport suspected of being used in offenses
within the territory of the country of the other Customs
goods designated by either Customs Administration as the
object of an extensive clandestine trade of which it is
the country of origin or destination; and
particular persons known or suspected by the requesting
Customs Administration of being engaged in an offense.
The Customs Administrations shall, by mutual arrangement, on
their own initiative or upon request, furnish each other
on persons, goods, or means of transport known or
suspected of being involved in offenses or activities
which may result in offenses within the territory of the
country of the other Customs Administration; and
on activities, planned or completed, which constitute or
appear to constitute an offense with respect to goods of
major importance to be determined by consultations
between the Customs Administrations.
In those circumstances which could involve substantial damage
to the economy, public health, public security, or any other
vital interest of the country of the other Party, where
possible the Customs Administrations shall supply such
information without being requested to do so.
4. The Customs Administrations may, by mutual agreement and
arrangement, permit, under their control, the import, export,
and transit via the territory of their respective countries
of goods involved in illicit traffic in order to suppress
such illicit traffic.
5. The Parties shall:
assist each other in proceedings including seizure or
freezing, or forfeiture directed at property, proceeds,
and instrumentalities involved in offenses related to
the customs laws;
dispose of property, proceeds or instrumentalities
forfeited as a result of the assistance provided for
under this Agreement, in accordance with the law of the
country of the Party in control of the property,
proceeds or instrumentalities; and
permit either Customs Administration to transfer
forfeited property or instrumentalities or the proceeds
of their sale, which may be transferred in accordance
with laws of the Party to the other Party upon such
terms as may be agreed.
FILES AND DOCUMENTS
The Customs Administrations shall, upon request, provide each
other documents including reports, protocols and records, or
other evidence, or copies of documents giving all available
information on activities, planned or completed, which
constitute or appear to constitute an offense.
The Customs Administrations shall, upon request, provide each
other documentation relating to transportation and shipment
of goods showing value, disposition, and destination of those
Originals of files, documents, and other materials shall be
requested only in cases where certified copies would be
insufficient. Copies of such files, documents, and other
materials shall be appropriately authenticated upon specific
Originals of files, documents, and other materials that have
been transmitted shall be returned at the earliest
opportunity; rights of the requested Party or of third
parties relating thereto shall remain unaffected.
Documents stipulated in this Agreement may be replaced by
computer-based information produced for the same purpose in any form.
All relevant information for the interpretation or utilization of the
information shall be supplied at the same time.
EXPERTS AND WITNESSES
Upon request, either Customs Administration shall, except in
exceptional circumstances, authorize its officials to appear
as experts or witnesses before judicial or administrative
authorities in the territory of the country of the other
Party. Such officials shall produce such files, documents,
or the certified copies thereof, or other materials as may be
considered essential for the proceedings. The request for
appearance must clearly indicate in what case and what
capacity the official is to appear.
Where a Customs official has the right to refuse to give
evidence or testify, the requested Party will give
consideration to the possibility of a waiver of such right
under such circumstances as the requested Party determines to
COMMUNICATION OF REQUESTS
Requests pursuant to the present Agreement shall be made in
writing. When required because of the urgency of the
situation, oral requests may also be accepted, but shall be
promptly confirmed in writing. Relevant information
necessary for the execution of such requests shall accompany
Requests made pursuant to the present Agreement should
include the following information:
the Customs Administration making the request;
the nature of the proceedings;
the subject of and the reason for the request;
any relevant information regarding the parties
concerned in the proceedings, including their names
and addresses, if known; and
a brief description of the matter under
consideration and the legal elements involved.
Requests shall be made in either the English or the Russian
In the event that a request fails to meet requirements as set
forth in this Article, the requesting Customs Administration
may be allowed to revise it or supplement it.
In case the requested Customs Administration is not the
appropriate agency to comply with a request, it shall
promptly transmit the request to the appropriate agency and
seek the cooperation of that agency. The requesting Customs
Administration shall be so advised.
EXECUTION OF REQUESTS
The requested Customs Administration shall take all
reasonable measures to execute the request, and if required,
shall endeavor to seek any official or judicial measure
necessary to carry out the request.
Either Customs Administration shall, upon the request of the
other Customs Administration, conduct all necessary
investigations, verifications, or inspections in connection
with the matters specified in this Agreement, including the
questioning of experts, witnesses, and persons suspected of
having committed an offense.
Upon the approval of the requested Customs Administration,
officials of the requesting Customs Administration may be
present in the territory of the country of the requested
Customs Administration at such investigations and, if
appropriate, provide any information or assistance with
regard to the request for assistance. They must at all times
be able to produce documentary evidence of their official
authority and must not wear uniforms or carry arms.
A request by a Customs Administration that a certain
procedure be followed shall be complied with, subject to the
laws of the country of the requested Customs Administration.
5.The requesting Customs Administration shall, if it so requests,
be advised of the time and place of the action to be taken in
response to the request so that such action may be coordinated.
CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS
Information, documents, and other communications received in
the course of mutual assistance may only be used for the
purposes specified in this Agreement, including use in
judicial or administrative proceedings. Such information,
documents, and other communications may be used for other
purposes only when the supplying Customs Administration has
given its express consent.
Requests, information, reports of experts, and any other
communications received by either Customs Administration from
the other Customs Administration, in whatever form, pursuant
to this Agreement shall be afforded the same protection from
disclosure by the receiving Customs Administration as is
afforded to documents and information of the same kind under
the national law of the country of the receiving Customs
Administration. The receiving Customs Administration shall
ensure the confidentiality of the received information if so
requested by the other Customs Administration.
This Article shall not preclude the use or disclosure of
information to the extent that there is an obligation to do
so under the laws of the country of the requesting Customs
Administration in a criminal prosecution. The requesting
Customs Administration shall notify the other Customs
Administration of any such proposed disclosure in advance.
EXEMPTIONS FROM OBLIGATION TO RENDER ASSISTANCE
In cases where the requested Customs Administration is of the
opinion that compliance with a request would infringe upon
the sovereignty, security, public policy or other substantive
interest of its country, assistance may be refused, in whole
or in part, or compliance may be made subject to the
satisfaction of certain conditions or requirements.
In the event that the request cannot be complied with, the
requesting Customs Administration shall be promptly notified
of that fact, and provided a statement of the reasons and,
where possible, circumstances that might be of importance for
the further pursuit of the matter.
If a Customs Administration requests assistance which it
would not itself be able to provide, it is to draw attention
to that fact in the request. Such a request may be complied
with at the discretion of the requested Customs
Assistance may be postponed by the requested Customs
Administration on the ground that it will interfere with an
ongoing investigation, prosecution, or proceeding. In such a
case, the requested Customs Administration shall consult with the
requesting Customs Administration to determine if assistance can
be given subject to such terms or conditions as the requested
Customs Administration may require.
The Parties shall normally waive all claims for reimbursement
of costs incurred in the implementation of this Agreement,
with the exception of expenses for witnesses, fees of
experts, and costs of interpreters other than government
Expenses connected with cooperation under the provisions of
Article 3, Paragraph 3, of this Agreement may be the subject
of a separate agreement between the Customs Administrations.
If execution of a request requires considerable expenses,
or if they are of an extraordinary nature, the Customs
Administrations shall consult to determine the terms and
conditions under which the request will be executed as well as
the manner in which the costs shall be borne.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT
Cooperation and mutual assistance provided pursuant to this
Agreement shall be rendered directly by the Customs
Administrations. The Customs Administrations shall mutually
agree on detailed arrangements for that purpose.
The Customs Administrations shall, in particular, but not
hold regular consultations on matters of cooperation
within the framework of this Agreement;
communicate directly for the purpose of dealing with
matters arising out of this Agreement;
after consultation, take any measures necessary for the
implementation of this Agreement; and
endeavor by mutual accord to resolve problems or
questions arising from the interpretation or application
of the Agreement.
This Agreement shall be applicable in the Customs territory of
the United States of America and in the Customs territory of the
ENTRY INTO FORCE AND TERMINATION
This Agreement shall enter into force 30 days after the date
on which the Parties have notified each other through
diplomatic channels that the national requirements necessary
for the entry into force of the Agreement have been
This Agreement shall supersede and replace the Agreement
between the Government of the United States of America and
the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on
Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Customs
Services signed at Washington June 2, 1990, which entered
into force for the United States of America and the Russian
Federation on December 7, 1993.
This Agreement is concluded for unlimited duration. Either
Party may terminate this Agreement at any time by written
notification to the other Party through diplomatic channels. The
termination of this Agreement shall take effect three months from
the date of such notification. Ongoing proceedings at the time
of termination shall nonetheless be completed in accordance with
the provisions of this Agreement.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized by
their respective Governments, have signed this Agreement.
DONE in duplicate at this day of , 1994,
in the English and Russian languages, each text being equally
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: RUSSIAN FEDERATION: