IWS - The Information Warfare Site
News Watch Make a  donation to IWS - The Information Warfare Site Use it for navigation in case java scripts are disabled

16 January 2003

Text: U.S. Customs Implementing New Maritime Anti-Terrorism Regulation

(A 24-hour reporting rule will become effective February 2) (1670)

The U.S. Customs Service is implementing February 2 a new maritime
regulation designed to identify and eliminate potential terrorist
threats from cargo ships before they sail for the United States, says
Customs Commissioner Robert Bonner.

The Advance Manifest Regulation, or so-called "24-hour rule," will
require that shippers and ocean carriers provide U.S. Customs with
manifest information for oceangoing containerized cargo 24 hours in
advance of "lading," that is 24 hours before it is loaded on board a
vessel for shipment to the United States.

Bonner discussed this and other Customs Service efforts to enhance
national security during a briefing at the Washington Foreign Press
Center January 14.

The 24-hour rule was first proposed in August 2002, Bonner said. "I
believe we have provided sufficient time for the change of business
practices needed to comply with the 24-hour rule."

Vague descriptions of cargo on ships or blank descriptions will not be
accepted, he said, and where there is no information provided 24 hours
before loading, permits to unload will be denied.

The 24-hour rule applies to shipments of cargo containers from all
ports outside the Untied States to ports of the United States, Bonner
explained. It is not limited to ports participating in the separate
Container Security Initiative (CSI) currently being implemented or
about to be implemented at many ports around the world.

CSI is a U.S. Customs Service program or initiative to prevent
containerized shipping, which is the primary system of global trade,
from being exploited by terrorists. "With CSI, the U.S. Customs
Service has entered into partnerships with other governments to
identify high-risk cargo containers and pre- screen those containers
for terrorist weapons at the port of departure instead of the port of
arrival," Bonner said.

Referring to the new 24-hour rule, he said that "getting the manifest
information on the containers in advance of their loading is essential
to this process because it provides the risk-targeting data needed to
identify high-risk containers -- high-risk containers for the
potential threat of terrorist or terrorist weapons.

Ten countries accounting for 17 of the top 20 ports that ship cargo
container to the United States have agreed to and are implementing the
Container Security Initiative, Bonner said. After the initiative is
implemented at many of the top 20, he said, it will be expanded beyond
these ports.

Countries participating in CSI with the United States are, in Europe,
Spain, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and the United
Kingdom, and in Asia, they include Singapore, Japan, China, as well as
the special administrative region of Hong Kong.

The Customs Service, now part of the newly formed U.S. Department of
Homeland Security, has made combating terrorism its chief priority, he
said. The Bush administration created the Department of Homeland
Security to bolster efforts to protect the United States from direct
attack by terrorist groups.

With the CSI, the commissioner said, Customs "has entered into
partnerships with other governments to identify 'high-risk' cargo
containers and pre-screen those containers for terrorist weapons at
the port of departure instead of the port of arrival."

Following is the prepared text of Bonner's remarks:

(begin text)

Remarks of U.S. Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner

U.S. Customs Service's Counterterrorism Efforts at Home and Abroad

Foreign Press Center
Washington, D.C.

Introduction

Although we are 16 months removed from the terrorist attacks of
September 11th, the threat of international terrorism is every bit as
real and immediate and dangerous as it was then, if not more so. And
we must remember that the threat from terrorism is a multinational
threat -- it is a threat that knows no boundaries. The terrorist
attacks in Bali, in Kenya, off the coast of Yemen, and elsewhere
across the globe, remind us that the terrorist threat is one we must
all confront. It is a long-term threat.

It is critical that we maintain the sense of urgency and action that
galvanized the United States and the world against terrorism after
9/11.

At the United States Customs Service, combating terrorism is our
number one priority. It has been our highest priority since 9/11. And
we are doing everything we reasonably and responsibly can, both here
in the United States and abroad, to protect our nation and the global
trading system from the terrorist threat. And as we do this, we are
also making sure that legitimate trade and travel continues without
undue or costly delays.

Advance Manifest Regulation

One of our efforts is the Advance Manifest Regulation, or so-called
"24-hour rule," which requires that shippers and ocean carriers
provide U.S. Customs with manifest information for oceangoing
containerized cargo 24 hours in advance of "lading" -- that means 24
hours before it is loaded on board a vessel for shipment to the U.S.
The rule enables us to analyze the information and identify and
eliminate potential terrorist threats before the vessel sails, not
after it arrives.

U.S. Customs has been talking about the 24-hour rule for many months.
We issued the proposed 24-hour rule in early August of last year, and
that was followed by a 45-day comment period on the rule. We
considered the comments and, after making some modifications, issued
the final regulation on October 31, 2002. We delayed implementation
for 90 days -- 3 months, including a 60-day penalty-free period. This
grace period expires on February 1st, in about two weeks. Although
some still may desire more time, I believe we have provided sufficient
time for the change of business practices needed to comply with the
24-hour rule.

As I have said before, this is an issue of national security, and
Customs intends to take compliance seriously. We applaud the efforts
of those shippers and carriers that have taken the rule and
implementation period seriously -- and many, many have -- but we
caution those that have not.

On February 2, the U.S. Customs Service will begin enforcing the
24-hour rule. Data that is incomplete or late will not be tolerated
from carriers or shippers. When I say incomplete data, I include the
description of the cargo. Vague, non-descriptions, such as "Freight of
All Kinds" (commonly abbreviated "FAK") or blank descriptions are no
longer acceptable on February 2 and thereafter. Where there is no
description, or where Customs was not provided with data 24 hours
before loading, U.S. Customs will begin denying permits to unload on
February 2.

We will indicate to carriers our intent to deny permits to unload, and
we will expect the cooperation of carriers to deny loading at the
foreign port to those who do not comply with the rule. In addition to
denying unloading permits, Customs will also use its authority to
impose penalties to secure rapid compliance.

The U.S. Customs Service's actions on February 2 will be the first
step in a process of ratcheting up denials of unloading permits to
ensure compliance over the course of a few weeks. I am optimistic that
compliance with the 24-hour rule will be achieved quickly.

Container Security Initiative

The 24-hour rule applies to shipments of cargo containers from all
ports outside the United States to ports of the United States;
however, implementation of the rule helps to ensure the success of the
Container Security Initiative, or CSI, currently being implemented, or
about to be implemented, at many ports around the world.

CSI is the U.S. Customs Service's program to prevent containerized
shipping -- the primary system of global trade -- from being exploited
by terrorists. With CSI, U.S. Customs has entered into partnerships
with other governments to identify "high-risk" cargo containers and
pre-screen those containers for terrorist weapons at the port of
departure instead of the port of arrival. Getting the manifest
information on the containers in advance of their loading is essential
to this process, because it provides the risk targeting data needed to
identify high-risk containers.

Just one year ago, CSI was merely an idea for safeguarding the global
trading system and the global economy. Now, just one year later, CSI
has become a reality. Ten countries -- representing 17 of the top 20
ports that ship to the United States -- have agreed to and are
implementing CSI.

The most recent country to sign a declaration to implement CSI is
Spain, which signed last week. Other countries participating in CSI
with the U.S. are, in Europe, the Netherlands, France, Belgium,
Germany, Italy, and the U.K. And in Asia, they include Singapore,
Japan, and China.

Soon, we will be expanding CSI beyond the top 20 ports. Other nations
and other ports are eager to [be], and I expect soon will be, joining
the CSI program, because they recognize, as we do, that CSI is a
critical tool for safeguarding the global economy against the
terrorist threat, as well as better safeguarding their seaports and
ours against terrorist exploitation.

The early success of CSI is the result of outstanding cooperative
efforts between countries, on a bilateral basis. Multinational
organizations such as the World Customs Organization and the G-8
[Group of Eight industrialized nations] have also endorsed the
principles of CSI.

This kind of cooperation in addressing the terrorist threat is
imperative for success in the global campaign against terrorism. The
terrorist threat impacts all of us, and the world community must work
together to conquer it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, let me just say we are making progress, but we must not
let down our guard. We must continue to do more. And I can tell you
that I [am], and all the men and women of the U.S. Customs Service
are, continuing to do more -- we are more determined than ever in our
mission -- not only to protect our borders, but to protect the
movement of global trade.

(end text)

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