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Security initiatives of non-EU Customs administrations

Security initiatives of non-EU Customs administrations

U.S. Initiatives
  • Container Security Initiative

In response to potential terrorist threats, US Customs authorities have issued initiatives to improve security in the international supply chain. One of these initiatives is the Container Security Initiative (CSI), which pre-selects, according to risk assessment criteria, containers destined for the US prior to loading on the ship in a foreign port. The US has also published a Regulation on advanced cargo manifest information, the so-called '24 hours rule'. This Regulation obliges carriers to provide electronic manifest data to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 24 hours before loading sea containers bound for the US. For air cargo, information should be made available straight after take off. This enables CBP to select high-risk shipments via their automated system.

CSI is currently operational in the following European ports: Antwerp and Zeebrugge, (Belgium); Le Havre and Marseille (France); Bremerhaven and Hamburg (Germany); Piraeus (Greece); La Spezia, Genoa, Naples, Gioia Tauro and Livorno (Italy), Rotterdam (The Netherlands); Lisbon (Portugal); Algeciras (Spain); Gothenburg (Sweden); Felixstowe, Liverpool, Thamesport, Tilbury, and Southampton (United Kingdom).

For more information see the US Customs page on the CSI initiative.

  • 100% scanning of maritime containers

US legislation adopted in 2007 foresees 100% scanning at foreign ports of all US-bound maritime containers by 1 July 2012.

The Commission, Member States, port operators and the trade community are concerned about this legislation, in particular with respect to the lack of proven security benefits, the potential costs of the scanning requirement, its possible effects on competitiveness and its negative impact on transatlantic trade flows. In 2008 the Commission carried out a preliminary impact assessment of 100% scanning based on Member States' contributions. These comments PDF document were taken into account by the US Department of Homeland Security and annexed when reporting to the US Congress in June 2008.

To back the EU position with empirical data the Commission has analysed the impact of the legislation on the security of the supply chain, on maritime transport and on trade. The main findings of these studies, along with the EU's alternative approach to supply-chain security, are presented in a Commission staff working paper (SEC/2010/131 PDF document English) adopted in February 2010. The studies confirm that the 100% scanning legislation would create a disproportionate economic burden without proven benefits for security. The EU advocates an alternative approach based on multilayered risk management. See the studies commissioned by the European Commission's Directorates General for Taxation and Customs Union PDF document , Transport and Energy , and Trade .


The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a joint Canada-US initiative involving the Canada Border Services Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). FAST supports moving pre-approved eligible goods across the border quickly and verifying trade compliance away from the border.

It is a harmonised commercial process offered to pre-approved importers, carriers, and registered drivers. Shipments for approved companies and transported by approved carriers using registered drivers, will be cleared into either country with greater speed and certainty, and at a reduced cost of compliance.

The EU and Canada envisage strengthening their cooperation on supply chain security and AEO.

For more information see the Canada Border Services Agency.


Frontline is a cooperation programme between customs and industry groups involved in international trade and transport. The programme draws on the knowledge and expertise of people in the industry to help prevent illegal activities.

For more information see the website of the Australian Customs Service.

New Zealand

The Customs Service is working with business on improving export security. Is it important that exporters keep up to date with developments. An overview is contained in the publication Securing New Zealand's Exports. The latest information is contained in the publication Secure Exports Partnership (SEP) - Important Information for Applicants. New Zealand is cooperating with the US on mutual recognition of their SEP and the US Customs and Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT).

Security initiatives in international fora

Since 2001/2002, the World Customs Organization (WCO) has been working on developing globally applicable measures to increase supply chain security while facilitating legitimate trade. In June 2002, the WCO Council adopted a Resolution on Security and Facilitation of the International Trade Supply Chain. Based on the Resolution, a Task Force was established to assist the Secretary General in the development and implementation of the measures outlined in the Resolution.

In June 2004, the Council adopted a second resolution PDF document English resolving a High Level Strategic Group (HLSG), to build on the work of the Task Force. It was comprised of Director Generals, and its goal was to provide leadership and guidance on security and facilitation matters.

At its Council Session on 24 June 2005, the World Customs Organization (WCO) adopted the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade PDF document Englishfrançais. This text - now called "SAFE Framework of Standards" - provides a structured framework for customs and their business partners to secure the international supply chain and facilitate the movement of legitimate goods (see press release).

The framework also aims to strengthen networking arrangements between customs administrations. This will improve their capability to detect high-risk consignments and establish formal arrangements for cooperation between customs and the business community. The 17 standards that form an part of the framework are balanced between security and trade facilitation measures. They should also help to improve the collection of customs duties, particularly in developing countries.

WCO members agreed to establish a dedicated fund to finance capacity building initiatives, such as diagnostic studies to determine the abilities of WCO members to implement the Framework of Standards. They have also agreed to help each member country committed to the framework to increase its ability to meet the standards that have been set.

In June 2005, the WCO adopted Guidelines for AEOs, which were integrated in the SAFE Framework of Standards in June 2006.