Italy has agreed to participate in the U.S. Customs Container Security Initiative (CSI).
CSI is a U.S. Customs initiative designed to prevent the smuggling of terrorists or terrorist weapons in ocean-going cargo containers. Under terms of the declaration announced today, U.S. Customs officers will be stationed at the Italian ports of La Spezia and Genoa.
"I applaud the government of Italy for joining the U.S. Customs Service Container
Security Initiative (CSI)," said Commissioner Bonner
. "This joint declaration with Italy
is yet another example of the joint efforts and continuing strong resolve in the international fight against terror. This will provide a significant measure of security for the global trading system as a whole."
Globally, over 48 million full cargo containers move between major seaports each year. Each year, more than 16 million containers arrive in the United States by ship, truck, and rail.
"We recognize the importance to deter and interdict any terrorist attempt to disrupt global trade or to attempt to make use of commercial shipping to further their own schemes,"said Mario Andrea Guaiana, Director, Italian Customs Agency. "We support CSI in safeguarding global trade by enhancing cooperation at our seaports in identifying and examining high-risk containers and ensuring their in-transit integrity."
This agreement intensifies bilateral Customs cooperation within the framework of the Customs mutual administrative assistance agreement to station, on a pilot basis, starting at the ports of La Spezia and Genoa, officers of the U.S. Customs Service to further this enhanced cooperation.
The U.S. Customs Service has signed Container Security Initiative declaration of principles with the governments of Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
In September, the U.S. Customs Service and Japanese Customs and Tariff Bureau announced in Tokyo the sealing of the declaration of principles to participate on a pilot basis in the Container Security Initiative (CSI). In October, China joined CSI in principle.
The CSI initiative supports the "Cooperative G8 Action on Transport Security" adopted by the 8 most important industrialized nations (G8) at their Kananaskis, Canada, meeting on June 26, 2002.