Govt designs programme to meet trade security regime
By Sajid Chaudhary
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is feared to lose trade ties with the United States and the European Union, if it fails to implement security related programmes that comply with the new global regime of trade security, a senior government official told Daily Times.
“Despite having strategic partnership with the United States and enjoying the status of major non-NATO ally of the US, Pakistan if fails to implement security related programmes that comply with the new regulations emerging globally, then it may face prospects of being disconnected from its customers and trading partners such as US and EU,” said the official.
To avoid the untoward situation, the government is all set to embark upon a pilot project to bring Karachi Port at par with the new regulations to ensure security related programmes.
The US authorities concerned have formulated the security related regulations under which they would have business with those countries, which would comply the said security related regulations at their ports.
The official said the Container Security Initiative (CSI) is an initiative that has been developed by the US Customs, now the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in the aftermath of September 11 attacks. “The primary purpose of the CSI is to protect the global trading system and trade lanes between CSI ports and the US,” said the official. “The threat of a terrorist attack using a cargo container is not just an academic one.”
In addition to the CSI, the government is also engaged with trade community to develop a Customs and Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and by the end of 2005, 50 ports of the world are expected to comply with the CSI.
The government to this effect is launching the pilot project with regard to enforce Container Security Initiative at Karachi port, which would hopefully be completed by December 2005.
“So there is no question that Pakistan would lose the US and EU markets,” said the official. “However, government cannot afford negligence in this regard keeping in view the repercussion of losing the markets.”
The official said that it would be made mandatory in the next budget for the customs agents to follow the international standards under which they would be bound to have the knowledge of whereabouts of their clients.
“This would help the agents to assist the government in pinpointing the clients in case they are found involved in importing or exporting suspicious consignments,” he added. In regional context, some Asian countries are already lined up to be included in the list of CSI ports. China is preparing for the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen for CSI.
“Colombo and Dubai have also been on the list while Indian government has approved to start a pilot project at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and it intends to gradually replicate it at other ports later on,” said the official.
The official said that the CSI has been approved by the international organisations like World Customs Organization (WCO), which represents 164 customs administrations from around the world and accounts for 99 percent of all global trade.
The WCO through a resolution in June 2002 encourages countries to develop container security programmes in line with the CSI. It has endorsed a Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate global trade that is based upon principles designed and implemented by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).