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Homeland Security

05 August 2003

Bonner Says China Will Help with Container Security

Customs Commissioner's August 1 news conference in Hong Kong

Customs Commissioner Robert Bonner told reporters in Hong Kong August 1 that China's agreement in principle three days earlier to join the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI) means the program will soon cover ports that ship approximately two-thirds of all containers headed to the United States.

"With China's agreement to participate in CSI, this means that countries representing 19 out of the top 20 ports shipping sea containers to the United States have agreed to join CSI," Bonner said.

He said that under the U.S.-China CSI agreement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel will be stationed at the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen to work with China Customs to target high-risk containers headed for the United States.

China Customs officers in Shanghai and Shenzhen -- two ports that combined account for eight percent of all sea containers headed for the United States -- will be responsible for screening any containers identified as potentially high-risk for terrorism, Bonner added.

He noted that Hong Kong authorities had agreed to implement the CSI initiative in September 2002. The program became operational in the territory May 12, 2003. "On behalf of the American people, I express my deepest thanks," Bonner added.

Bonner said CSI is now operational in 16 ports around the world.

Following is the text of Bonner's remarks:

(begin text)

Remarks by Commissioner Robert C. Bonner:
Hong Kong Press Conference

08/01/2003

Good afternoon.

I am delighted to be back in Hong Kong. Last September, Hong Kong Customs and Excise Commissioner Raymond Wong and I signed a Declaration of Principles to implement the Container Security Initiative (CSI) here in the port of Hong Kong. I promised Commissioner Wong that I would be back to see CSI Hong Kong in action. CSI became operational on May 12, 2003 and I'm back.

And let me tell you -- I'm impressed. Yesterday, I met with Commissioner Wong, and today I went to the Kwai Chung terminal and saw CSI-Hong Kong first hand. I met the Hong Kong / U.S. CSI team, and was amazed at how quickly they have gotten this program off the ground. I can tell you that -- CSI Hong Kong is open for business and is protecting trade between Hong Kong and the United States from terrorism. Through Hong Kong CSI, fully 10 percent of all sea containers headed to the United States are now under the CSI blanket.

In talking with the CSI team, I was also struck by the camaraderie and friendship among the team members -- both U.S. and Hong Kong personnel. And by the strong leadership, professionalism, and vision displayed by Commissioner Wong, Senior Superintendent C.C. Wong, and by the rest of the Hong Kong CSI team. On behalf of the American people, I express my deepest thanks.

I would also like to extend my thanks to Jim Keith, the U.S. Consul General here in Hong Kong. His commitment and leadership have also been crucial to the success of CSI here. We're off to a great start, and I look forward to the continued success of CSI operations here in Hong Kong. CSI-Hong Kong will be a model for the rest of the world.

Before opening this press conference up for questions, let me also comment on my recent visit to Beijing and Shanghai. As some of you know, three days ago, I signed a Declaration of Principles with my counterpart in China, Commissioner Mu, the General Administrator of China Customs -- memorializing China's agreement to participate in CSI. This formalizes the agreement of President Jiang Zemin for China to participate in CSI, announced in Crawford, Texas last October. This commitment was confirmed by President Hu Jintao in France, when he met with President Bush.

This is a truly historic event in the history of U.S.-China relations, and in the ongoing effort between our two nations to combat international terrorism. China and the United States stand shoulder to shoulder in the war on terror, and in our mission to protect the global trading system.

Under the CSI Declaration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel will be stationed at the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen, working with China Customs to target high-risk containers headed for the United States. China Customs officers in Shanghai and Shenzhen will be responsible for screening any containers identified as potentially high-risk for terrorism.

These two ports combined represent 8 percent of all sea containers headed for the United States. So, the quick implementation of CSI in Shanghai and Shenzhen will further extend the CSI blanket to protect a large portion of global trade.

With China's agreement to participate in CSI, this means that countries representing 19 out of the top 20 ports shipping sea containers to the United States have agreed to join CSI -- ports that ship approximately two-thirds of all containers headed to the U.S. This week, the port of Busan in South Korea became operational. This means that CSI is now operational in 16 ports around the world, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Yokohama, Busan in Asia. In Europe, CSI is operational in Rotterdam, Le Havre, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Antwerp, Goteborg, Felixstowe, Genoa and La Spezia. And in Canada, CSI is in place in Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax.

And we are not stopping there. The governments of Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and South Africa have recently agreed to join CSI, and we are looking forward to expanding CSI to other strategic ports around the world in our ongoing effort to protect global trade from the specter of terrorism.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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