European Community and Department of Homeland Security Sign Landmark Agreement to Improve Container Security and Expand CSI

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For Immediate ReleaseCBP Press OfficeContact: 202-927-8727April 22, 2004

The European Community and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) todaysigned an agreement that among other things, calls for the prompt expansion ofCustoms and Border Protection's (CBP) Container Security Initiative throughoutthe European Community.

The agreement was signed by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and IrishFinance Minister Charlie McCreevy at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington,DC.

"This agreement sets the stage for enhanced cooperation between theUnited States and the European Community on CSI and other important securityprograms of common interest," said Secretary Ridge.  "Thisagreement will lead to enhancements in our mutual efforts to prevent terroristsfrom exploiting the international trading system."

The agreement will intensify and broaden Customs cooperation and mutualassistance in customs matters between the European Community and the UnitedStates.  The objectives of the agreement include expanding the ContainerSecurity Initiative, establishing minimum standards for risk-managementtechniques, and improving public - private partnerships to secure the logisticschain of international trade.

"The European Union and the United States are the two largest tradingblocs in the world.  We therefore have the strongest possible incentive forensuring that transatlantic sea container traffic is subjected to the highestpractical level of security checks without impeding the expeditious flow oftrade so carefully and successfully developed over many years," said IrishFinance Minister McCreevy.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the agency within the Department ofHomeland Security charged with the protection of our nation's borders.  CBPunified Customs, Immigration, and Agriculture Inspectors and the Border Patrolinto one border agency for the United States.