The United States Department of Homeland Security today said the People's Republic of China has formally joined the Container Security Initiative (CSI), a program developed by U.S. Customs in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, designed to detect and deter terrorists from exploiting the vulnerabilities of containerized cargo.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner Robert C. Bonner and Mu Xinsheng, commissioner of the general administration of customs of the People's Republic of China, signed a declaration of principles in Beijing that formally initiates joint efforts to target and pre-screen cargo containers shipped from the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen destined for U.S. ports.
"CSI is an essential element of the layered security strategy of the United States," said Tom Ridge, Homeland Security secretary, in a statement. "This agreement with the People's Republic of China is important for our efforts to protect not only the U.S., but also our global system of trade."
CBP will station small teams of officers at the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen to target sea containers destined for the United States. Shanghai and Shenzhen customs officials working with CBP officers will be responsible for screening any containers identified as a potential terrorist risk.
The program is already operational in 15 ports worldwide, including Rotterdam, LeHavre, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Antwerp, Singapore, Yokohama, Hong Kong, Goteborg, Felixstowe, Genoa, La Spezia, Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax.