Robert Ireland – New perspectives on the ‘customs supply chain security paradigm’

Robert Ireland – WCO, Brussels

This presentation is a brief history of the emergence of the Customs Supply Chain Security Paradigm, which at its heart was the customs contribution to counter-terrorism following 9/11. The “new perspectives” in the title are some concluding thoughts on where we are now. In essence, the Customs Supply Chain Security Paradigm is fading as a prioritized customs policy issue, even for the United States. Following the 9/11 attacks, the paradigm emerged consisting of new national customs policies and World Customs Organization (WCO) standards intended to communicate that international cargo ships would be deterred from being used as a conduit for the delivery of terrorists or terrorist attacks. This presentation traces the paradigm’s emergence and its upward trajectory which began with the launch of the two key US Customs programmes (C-TPAT and CSI), continued with the adoption of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade, and reached a climax with the US 100% container scanning law. It will discuss the major policy themes pushed by the US Government, namely advance cargo information submission requirements, customs risk management, non-intrusive cargo scanning equipment, and security-oriented Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes. It will then describe where we are now, namely a downward trajectory with the de facto abandonment of 100% scanning and the US budget crisis which foretells fewer resources for the paradigm.