The U.S. Customs Service and Japanese Customs and Tariff Bureau announced in Tokyo today, the sealing of the declaration of principles to participate on a pilot basis in the Container Security Initiative (CSI).
CSI is a U.S. Customs initiative designed to prevent the smuggling of terrorist weapons in ocean-going cargo containers. Under terms of the declaration announced today, U.S. Customs officers will be stationed on a pilot basis at the ports of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe and Yokohama. Japanese Customs officers will be stationed in the United States at ports to be determined by the Japanese Customs and Tariff Bureau.
"I applaud the Japanese Customs and Tariff Bureau for joining the Container Security Initiative (CSI)," said Commissioner Bonner. "This joint declaration of principles will help secure the global trading system as a whole, and in particular, it will provide increased security for trade between Japan and the United States."
Launched by U.S. Customs in January 2002, CSI is designed to enhance the security of global maritime shipping, a vital link in world commerce. Nearly 50 percent of the value of all U.S. imports arrives via sea cargo containers every year.
One element of CSI involves placing U.S. Customs personnel at key foreign seaports to work with their foreign counterparts to target and pre-screen U.S.-bound cargo containers before they are shipped to America. Since approximately 68 percent of the 5.7 million sea containers entering the U.S. annually arrive from 20 foreign seaports, U.S. Customs is initially focusing on these "mega" ports as crossroads in the global trading system.
U.S. Customs will place a small team of Customs personnel in Japan equipped with U.S. targeting databases. They will work jointly with Japanese Customs officials to target sea containers bound
for America. Japanese Customs officials, assisted by U.S. Customs personnel, will be responsible for screening any containers identified as a potential terrorist risk.
The ports of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe and Yokohama are among the top 20 "mega-ports" of the world. Nearly eight percent of all sea containers arriving
in the U.S. are shipped from these four Japanese ports.
In addition to Japan, the U.S. is implementing CSI with Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Singapore and Hong Kong. The U.S. Customs Service is currently in discussions with several other nations, including countries in Europe and Asia, to expand the CSI network of ports even further.
"I cannot overstate the importance of the Japanese Customs and Tariff Bureau joining CSI. With the major ports of Japan, 11 of the top 20 ports in terms of cargo containers shipped to the U.S. will be implementing the Container Security Initiative. But we are not stopping with the top twenty ports," Commissioner Bonner said. "We started this program with the 20 largest seaports because it makes sense to do so. But these 20 ports represent the beginning of the program, not the end."