Guest Column: U.S. Homeland Security Bill — What Is the Reality for Trade?

With passage of Improve America's Security Act, cargo screening deadline looms, but practical implications for importers still not clear; call for public-private collaboration


New York — November 7, 2007 — The U.S. government has aggressively debated the merit of screening cargo prior to entering the country. The debate has ended. President George W. Bush recently signed into law (PL 110-53) the "Improving America's Security Act" (HR 1), which calls for the screening of container cargo for the purpose of securing borders against terrorist actions.

The hotly contested law is expected to bring additional burdens to the already cumbersome cross-border trade process by requiring screening of goods prior to vessel loading and opening the door to the imposition of additional maritime and surface transportation-related user fees for transportation security purposes.

The passage of this bill brings three critical questions to mind:

  • Can the United States mandate trade activity in another country?
  • Is the U.S. Government mandating security requirements for industry?
  • Can businesses absorb these additional global trade fees?

Background









The World Reacts







Congress Wants Cargo Screening Measures in Place







Hidden Fees for the Industry







The Reality of the Cargo Screening Law







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