20 November 2003
U.S. to Require Advance Info on All Cross-Border Shipments
Documents critical to secure borders, unimpeded
trade flows, DHS's Ridge says
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has announced new rules
concerning advance cargo information intended primarily to prevent
terrorist from using cross-border shipments to smuggle weapons
and operatives into the United States.
Speaking November 20 at a U.S. Customs symposium in Washington,
Ridge said that advance cargo information covered by the final
rules of the Trade Act of 2002 just published by the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) is a "cornerstone" in U.S. efforts to
secure the country's borders against terrorism without delaying
the flow of goods.
Ridge said that the rules will apply to all modes of transportation
but advance notice and manifest timelines will vary.
In a November 20 news release, DHS said that the regulations,
to become effective in 15 days, also will cover outbound shipments.
Ridge explained that the advance notices' application to outbound
cargo is not only a matter of reciprocity toward countries providing
information on incoming goods but also a necessity dictated by
the need to prevent smuggling of arms and technology out of the
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert Bonner,
who joined Ridge to answer questions from reporters, said that
the new rules will allow the CBP bureau in the department to have
for the first time control over every shipment crossing U.S. borders.
"It will make America safer," he said.
With more complete and timely cargo information, CBP will be able
to reduce the number of inspections and focus attention on high-risk
shipments, Bonner added.
He said that the new "smart" border regime will afford the greatest
benefits to around 4,600 Custom-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism
(C-TPAT) members, which include major importers, shippers, and
customs brokers with profiles, procedures, and supply-chains certified
by CBP as secure.
"It will make flow of legitimate cargo faster and more efficient," Bonner
He said that his bureau will be pushing for electronic rather
than paper manifests and advance notices but added that the new
regulations will be phased in over several months in close cooperation
with the trade community.
On the related issue of cargo container security, Bonner said
that within a month his bureau will launch a "smart" container
pilot program, which will involve a half a dozen of C-TPAT members.
If the program turns out to be successful, he said he expects it
to expand in the C-TPAT group in the next several months.
"Smart container" technology would allow customs inspectors without
opening the container to see if it was tampered with or opened.
Out of around 16 million cargo containers that enter the country
every year only a small percentage is inspected by U.S. Customs
agents. U.S. authorities are concerned that these containers can
be used by terrorists to smuggle weapons of mass destruction or
materials for dirty bombs.
Following is the text of the DHS news release:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Office of the Press Secretary
November 20, 2003
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ANNOUNCES CARGO SECURITY INITIATIVE
Washington, D.C. -- The Department of Homeland Security today
released final rules which will allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) to collect cargo information necessary to identify high-risk
shipments which could threaten the safety and security of the United
States. The final rules for cargo security address the timeline
of presentation for electronic advance manifest information.
"We need to take advantage of every opportunity to make our country
safe from terrorists and terrorist weapons," said Homeland Security
Secretary Tom Ridge. "Advance information is a cornerstone in our
efforts to secure our nation's borders and ensure the flow of trade.
The security measures resulting from these rules are necessary
to achieve these twin goals."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will process advance cargo
information into an automated targeting system linked to various
law enforcement and commercial databases. This initial step will
enable CBP to efficiently identify shipments that pose a potential
risk. Previously most non-maritime inbound shipments entered into
the U.S. without being screened by an automated targeting system.
As a result, most cargo shipments could not be assessed for risk
prior to arrival. The Trade Act provides the Department of Homeland
Security with the authority to eliminate antiquated, paper-driven
processes for cargo crossing our borders.
"When we are able to obtain better information prior to a shipment's
arrival, we will be able to do a more effective job in combating
terrorism," said Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary for Border and
Transportation Security. "These rules will do just that."
"This takes us beyond the maritime 24-Hour Rule to incorporate
advance electronic information for all cargo shipments to the U.S.,
pertaining to commercial trucking, air freight and rail. It is
a bold but necessary move to better secure our borders against
the terrorist threat without delaying the flow of legitimate trade," said
CBP Commissioner Robert C. Bonner.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection received significant input
from the trade community and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
(CCRA). CBP carefully considered and in many cases adopted the
trades' recommendations. CBP will work closely with the trade community
to phase in these rules over the coming months.
The following are the timelines for all modes of transportation:
-- Air & Courier - 4 hours prior to arrival in U.S., or "wheels
up" from certain nearby areas
-- Rail - 2 hours prior to arrival at a U.S. port of entry
-- Vessel - 24 hours prior to lading at foreign port
-- Truck - Free And Secure Trade (FAST): 30 minutes prior to arrival
in U.S.; non-FAST: 1 hour prior to arrival in the U.S.
-- Air & Courier - 2 hours prior to scheduled departure from the
-- Rail - 2 hours prior to the arrival of the train at the border
-- Vessel - 24 hours prior to departure from U.S. port where cargo
-- Truck - 1 hour prior to the arrival of the truck at the border