Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - On Tuesday, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistant Secretary of International Affairs Alan Bersin and Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance Deputy Minister Ahmad Maslan signed a trade agreement on behalf of their nations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Assistant Secretary Bersin signed the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), two DHS agencies responsible for enforcing U.S. customs laws.

The CMAA enhances bilateral relations by affording both nations with better information-sharing capabilities that will help prevent, repress and investigate customs offenses.

With this new agreement, CBP and ICE now have 73 CMAAs with other customs administrations across the world. CMAAs provide the legal framework for the exchange of information and evidence. This helps countries prevent, detect and investigate customs offenses and crimes associated with goods crossing international borders, including duty evasion, trafficking, money laundering and terrorism-related activities. CMAAs also serve as foundational documents for subsequent information-sharing arrangements, including mutual recognition arrangements on authorized economic operator programs.

Through ICE's Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Department of State, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has 67 attaché offices in 48 countries around the world. HSI special agents work closely with foreign law enforcement agencies and through a robust network of specialized, vetted units known as Transnational Criminal Investigative Units.