Customs authorities endorse supply chain security regime
The 166-member World Customs Organization voted Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, to approve an agreement on international standards for cargo security.
The non-binding inspection regime has been championed by the United States and its commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Robert C. Bonner.
Several countries, including the United States, Japan, European Union nations, Australia and Canada immediately declared their intent to implement the shared principles and assist developing countries in modernizing their border controls.
Customs authorities that adopt the new standards are expected to develop systems for electronically capturing shipping data before cargo embarks from a port, use risk management techniques to sort out which containers to inspect and do an outbound inspection using large-scale X-ray-type imaging and radiation detection equipment at the request of the importing nation. The goal is modeled on the U.S. strategy of trying to detect a terrorist weapon in a container before it arrives at a U.S. port.
In addition to providing a road map for customs-to-customs cooperation, the framework calls on customs authorities to expedite customs clearance for companies that prove they have tightened their internal controls for packing a container and ensuring its integrity during transport.
Customs authorities that adopt the broad framework must still work out details on how to share information or recognize each other’s procedures on a bilateral basis.