EU, U.S. agree on maritime container security measures
The United States and the European Union have adopted common, reciprocal measures on maritime container security, the Brussels-based European Commission said today.
The EC described the common measures as “the first measures” on maritime container transport security agreed upon by the EU and the United States. They cover mutually acceptable reciprocal security standards and industry partnership programs, an information exchange network, an agreement on “minimum requirements” applicable for all European ports willing to participate in the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI), and identification of best practices concerning security controls of international trade.
The measures also include a pilot project that focuses on shipments transiting through both the United States and the EU. The program will test the feasibility of exchanging cargo information on transshipments and freight remaining on board, to enable customs authorities to identify, monitor and assess the risk associated with transshipments.
“Both sides also agree that the exchange of information is a vital component of customs' security actions to protect global trade and decided to define and establish standards for sharing information,” the EC said.
The United States invited the EC to post liaison officers at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's National Targeting Center to improve exchange of information, sharing of best practices and refinement of common risk indicators with regard to the terrorist threat.
To facilitate legitimate trade while securing the supply chain, EC and U.S. experts will study the industry partnership programs applied in the EU and the United States, the EC said. The study's outcome will support the further cooperation towards the development of mutually acceptable reciprocal industry partnership programs.
On new technology, the EC said the EU and the U.S. recognize that emerging technologies can promote greater efficiency and improve security in the international supply chain. Both sides agreed to establish a joint group of experts to explore “innovative developments and their application.”
The joint maritime security measures follow a period of tension between policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic, as each side sought to assert its authority over international maritime security. Initially, the EC resisted the implementation of the CSI port program in Europe, saying it could distort trade.
The latest common measures were adopted by the EC-U.S. Joint Customs Cooperation Committee, under a policy to extend the EU/U.S. Customs Agreement to include trade security cooperation.
“The measures are a first result in view of the future full implementation of the EC-U.S. Agreement on CSI and will be followed by further measures aiming at improving security on a reciprocal basis for both the EC and the U.S.,” the EC said in a statement.
The EU and the United States may adopt comparable common measures applicable to modes of transport other than container shipping, the EC said.