May 12, 2005

World Customs Organization agrees global security framework

Michel Danet, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO) has released the final draft version of the the OrganizationŐs Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade. It is expected that it will be adopted at the WCO Council meeting in June.

The framework is an important part of post 9/11 efforts to strengthen security. The WCO has the membership and thus the participation of 165 Customs administrations, covering 99 percent of global trade.

The WCO framework consists of four core elements. First, it harmonizes the advance electronic cargo information requirements on inbound, outbound and transit shipments. Second, each country that joins the framework commits to employing a consistent risk management approach to address security threats. Third, the framework requires that at the reasonable request of the receiving nation, based upon a comparable risk targeting methodology, the sending nation's customs administration will perform an outbound inspection of high-risk containers and cargo, preferably using non-intrusive detection equipment such as large-scale X-ray machines and radiation detectors. Fourth, the framework defines benefits that customs will provide to businesses that meet minimal supply chain security standards and best practices.

You can download the text of the draft framework here.

Part of the framework that will be worth close scrutiny is its attention to business partnerships. One aim of the framework is to build on programs such as the U.S. C-TPAT and its equivalents in other countries, such as Canada's Partners in Protection (PIP) to create an international system for identifying private businesses that offer a high degree of security guarantees in respect of their role in the supply chain. These business partners should receive tangible benefits in such partnerships in the form of expedited processing and other measures.

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