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09 January 2003

Text: Spain Signs Up to U.S. Customs Container Security Initiative

(U.S. customs agents to screen U.S.-bound cargo at Spanish ports)
(670)

Spain has agreed to participate in the U.S. Customs Container Security
Initiative (CSI), U.S. Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner and
Spanish Director General of Customs Nicolas Bonilla Penvela announced
on January 8. 

"I applaud the government of Spain for their strong support in helping
to make a safer, more secure world trading system," said Commissioner
Bonner. "In signing this declaration of principles today, the
government of Spain has taken an important step. CSI will help secure
trade moving between the ports of Spain, and the ports of the United
States, and it will do so without slowing down trade."

CSI is designed to prevent the smuggling of terrorists or terrorist
weapons in ocean-going cargo containers. Each year, more than 16
million containers arrive in the United States by ship, truck, and
rail.

Five other EU countries -- Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France,
and the United Kingdom -- have also agreed to participate in CSI.

Following is the January 8 press release from the U.S. Customs
Service:

(begin text)

U.S. Customs Service
Washington, D.C. 
January 8, 2003

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner and
Nicolas Bonilla Penvela, the Spanish Director General of Customs today
announced that the government of Spain 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 port of Algeciras.

"I applaud the government of Spain for their strong support in helping
to make a safer, more secure world trading system," said Commissioner
Bonner. " CSI is an insurance policy against terrorism. In signing
this declaration of principles today, the government of Spain has
taken an important step. CSI will help secure trade moving between the
ports of Spain, and the ports of the United States, and it will do so
without slowing down trade."

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 Nicolas
Bonilla Penvela, Spanish Director General of Customs.

The CSI initiative supports the "Cooperative G8 Action on Transport
Security" adopted by the G8 in June 2002.

Launched by U.S. Customs in January 2002, CSI consists of four core
elements. These include: (1) using automated information to identify
and target high-risk containers; (2) pre-screening those containers
identified as high-risk before they arrive at U.S. ports; (3) using
detection technology to quickly pre-screen high-risk containers; and
(4) using smarter, tamper proof containers.

The initial objective is to implement CSI at the ports that send large
volumes of cargo containers into the United States, in a way that will
facilitate detection of potential security concerns at their earliest
possible opportunity.

One element of CSI involves placing U.S. Customs inspectors at foreign
seaports to target and pre-screen U.S.-bound cargo containers before
they are shipped to America.

"We are in the process of getting CSI implemented in those ports that
have signed on. We have deployed and will continue to deploy teams to
the participating ports as quickly as possible," Commissioner Bonner
said. "We are looking to expand CSI beyond the top 20 ports, as
rapidly as we can. Once we have implemented CSI at most of the top 20
ports, we will quickly expand CSI to all ports that ship substantial
amounts of cargo to the United States, and that have the
infrastructure and technology in place to participate in the program."

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)