WCO and United States explore Customs measures to strengthen air cargo security

06 January 2011

WCO and United States explore Customs measures to strengthen air cargo security

Brussels, 6 January 2011

Press Release

Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya, and US Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, met at WCO headquarters today to discuss international efforts – in particular those of the Customs community – to ensure the security of air cargo and the global aviation supply chain following recent unsuccessful attempts late last year to use air cargo as a delivery mechanism for explosive devices and as a medium for spreading terror.

The international Customs community recently held discussions on the issue during the 64th Session of the WCO Policy Commission which took place in Shanghai, China from 6-8 December 2010. These critical discussions resulted in the WCO issuing a Communiqué on Air Cargo Security which strongly advocates a partnership approach.

In this context the WCO will be working closely with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and IATA (International Air Transport Association) in seeking ways in which air cargo, an important link in the global trade supply chain, can be furthered secured from future threats.

“Global trade is the foundation of global prosperity and any attempt to compromise or disrupt the global trading system requires a swift and concerted response from all international stakeholders,” said Secretary General Mikuriya. “The international Customs community will be doing all it can to secure air cargo through a combination of measures including enhanced risk management, strengthened cooperation, wider intelligence and information sharing, further research, and supportive capacity building activities,” Mikuriya added.

The meeting between Secretary General Mikuriya and Secretary Napolitano provided an ideal platform for exploring innovative ways in which the global Customs community and the US Government could work in partnership to shore up the international trade supply chain. Discussions also centered on the role of Customs in air cargo security, available WCO instruments and tools, measures to enhance cooperation, and the possible way forward.

Secretary Napolitano’s visit to WCO headquarters took place after earlier meetings with top officials from the European Commission and several Members of the European Parliament. Her meetings in Belgium follow stops in Ireland, Afghanistan, Qatar and Israel in which air cargo security was on the agenda.

Both Secretary General Mikuriya and Secretary Napolitano will speak at the European Policy Centre in Brussels later today on securing the global supply chain.