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HSI, Dominican Customs sign agreement to establish trade transparency unit

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Dominican Republic’s Dirección General de Aduanas (DGA) signed a letter of intent Thursday to establish a trade transparency unit in Santo Domingo to exchange information and promote the detection of trade-based money laundering and commercial fraud violations.

DGA Director Juan Fernando Fernandez hosted the Sept. 26 signing ceremony and U.S. Charge d’ Affairs to the Dominican Republic Daniel L. Foote also attended.

HSI will provide the Dominican DGA with access to the Data Analysis and Research for Trade Transparency System, an HSI computer system that contains domestic and foreign trade data and allows users to see both sides of the trade transaction, making the transaction transparent. This access will provide both HSI and DGA the tools necessary to identify international trade anomalies and financial irregularities indicative of trade-based money laundering, customs fraud, movement of counterfeit goods and other import-export crimes.

"The signing of this letter of intent is a major step in the broader goal of information sharing regarding goods entering and leaving the Dominican Republic," said David A. Thompson, deputy director of HSI’s Office of International Affairs who signed the agreement. "The Trade Transparency Unit will assist law enforcement in both of our countries in identifying organizations engaged in trade-based money laundering and customs fraud schemes."

The Dominican Republic is HSI’s 11th foreign trade transparency unit partner.