Photo: Sec. Janet Napolitano in Brazil
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar and Assistant Secretary for International Affairs Alan Bersin traveled to Brazil where they met with international counterparts to discuss joint efforts to combat human trafficking, enhance aviation and global supply chain security, and facilitate legitimate trade and travel.
“Brazil is one of the United States’ most steadfast allies and partners when it comes to protecting our hemisphere from evolving threats,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We’re pleased to be working with our Brazilian counterparts on efforts to both ensure national security and facilitate economic security.”
In Brasilia, Secretary Napolitano participated in a signing of a Joint Statement on Global Supply Chain Security with Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega and Director of Customs Carlos Alberto Freitas Barreto; an agreement on combating human trafficking with President of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court and Chief Justice Carlos Ayres Britto; a Statement of Intent to establish a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Working Group with Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota; and an Joint Statement of Intent on Civil Aviation Security with Minister of Civil Aviation Wagner Bittencourt.
Foreign visitors to the U.S. spent more than $150 billion in 2011 on travel and tourism-related goods and services. VWP facilitates this trade and travel, enabling nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the U.S. for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.
During the meetings, Secretary Napolitano underscored DHS’ commitment to ensuring a safer, more secure, and more resilient global supply chain. The international community has made significant progress in protecting the global supply chain through Program Global Shield, which was launched in 2011 in collaboration with the World Customs Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Interpol. As part of Program Global Shield, 90 participating nations and international organizations—including Brazil—share information in an unprecedented law enforcement effort aimed at combating the theft or illegal diversion of chemicals that can be used to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). As of July 2012, Program Global Shield has accounted for 41 seizures of chemical precursors totaling more than 126 metric tons related to the illicit diversion of these chemicals.
Later, in São Paulo, Brazil, Secretary Napolitano will meet with the Council of Americas, American Chamber of Commerce and other local officials before traveling to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on July 12-13 to meet with President Leonel Fernandez and Dominican officials to discuss law enforcement cooperation and ongoing efforts to combat illicit trafficking. Secretary Napolitano will later travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico on July 13, and meet with Governor Luis Fortuño, Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, and DHS officials stationed in Puerto Rico.