Reception in Honor of Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good Evening.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to a reception in honor of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske.  During his visit to Senegal, Commissioner Kerlikowske met with the National Police; the Gendarmerie; and Customs.  He took advantage of this opportunity to discuss with them Customs and Border Protection efforts to further the already outstanding relationship between the United States and Senegal.

The highlight of this visit was the joint signing ceremony of a new Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. Commissioner Kerlikowske and Director General of Customs Papa Ousmane Gueye signed this important document to strengthen our countries’ close cooperation on security issues.

This Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement will be a powerful investigative tool.  It provides a model for mutual administrative assistance in implementing national customs policy.  This type of legal framework is vital because of the explosive growth in the volume and complexity of international trade. This agreement enables the exchange of information, intelligence, and documents that will ultimately assist Senegal and the United States in the prevention and investigation of customs offenses.

I am very proud of our strong relationship with Senegal and I look forward to future successes based upon this new Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement.  I feel confident this document will further improve security cooperation between the United States and Senegal.  Thank you to all of those who made this success possible.