U.S. and European Union Strengthen Maritime Container Security

New Page 1 (Tuesday, November 16, 2004)

contacts for this press release

Washington, D.C. Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner announced new measures that have been agreed to by the EU and the U.S. to strengthen the security of maritime container transport.

The measures will facilitate legitimate trade through mutually acceptable security standards and industry partnership programs. The measures have been adopted in the framework of the signed agreement to extend the EU/U.S. Customs Agreement to include trade security co-operation.

The measures adopted today by the United States and the European Union are historic. Collectively, they represent a true framework between the EU and the U.S. to secure transatlantic trade between Europe and America, the two largest trading blocks in the world. Even more important, the U.S.EU partnership has laid a strong foundation for the security of all global trade against the threat of global terrorism by applying proven strategies like the Container Security Initiative for securing global trade without choking off the flow of that trade, Commissioner Robert C. Bonner stated. With our EU partner, we are building a security system for international trade that prevents and deters terrorist exploitation, and protects the global economy and the economies of all nations.

The measures adopted today in the framework of the EU-U.S. Joint Customs Co-operation Committee include the creation of an information exchange network, the agreement on minimum requirements applicable for European ports that wish to participate in the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI) andentification of best practices concerning security controls of international trade.

Commissioner Bonner said that as a result of cooperation with the EU and its Member States, the Container Security Initiative (CSI) has already been implemented at 20 European seaports, covering 86% of the outbound cargo containers that move through Europe to United States seaports. Bonner noted that CSI is fully reciprocal.

The measures also include a pilot project that focuses on shipments transiting through both the U.S. and the EU in view of testing the feasibility of exchanging cargo information on transshipments and freight remaining on board to enable customs authorities toentify, monitor and assess the risk associated with transshipments.

At the invitation of the U.S., the EU will post liaison officers at the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) National Targeting Center, which will further improve the exchange of information, the sharing of best practices and the refinement of common risk indicators with regard to the terrorist threat.

In view of facilitating legitimate trade while securing the supply chain, EU and U.S. experts will study the industry partnership programs applied in the EU and the U.S. The outcome of the study will support further cooperation towards the development of mutually acceptable industry partnership programs, such as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).

Recognizing that emerging technologies can promote greater efficiency and can improve security in the international supply chain, the U.S. and the EU are establishing a joint group of experts to explore innovative developments and their application.

These measures are a result of the implementation of the EU-U.S. Agreement on CSI signed in April 2004 and will be followed by further measures aimed at improving security for both the EU and the U.S.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the protection of our nations borders. CBP unified Customs, Immigration, and Agriculture Inspectors and the Border Patrol into one border agency for the United States.

Contacts For This Press Release 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Room 3.4A Washington,  DC.  20229 Media Services Phone: (202) 344-1780 or (800) 826-1471 Fax: (202) 344-1393 CBP Headquarters Office of Public Affairs 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Room 3.4A Washington, D.C. 20229 Phone: (202) 344-1780 Fax: (202) 344-1393