The agreement was sealed by a European triumvirate, consisting of EU Commissioner for Taxation, Customs and Anti-fraud Algirdas Semeta; EC Vice-President Siim Kallas; and Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom, and the US Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.
The joint statement lays out an “ambitious agenda” for enhanced bilateral co-operation between EC and US Department of Homeland Security on Customs, aviation and maritime security and research and development.
Semeta said: “In a globalised world, no country can secure the supply chain in isolation.
“National supply chain security policies are ineffective and too costly, unless they are supported by enhanced international co-operation.
“Through international co-operation, we can ensure policy coherence, establish compatibility of national systems and reduce costs.”
The statement calls for the implementation of mutual recognition of EU and US trade partnership programmes and sharing risk information, as well as recognition “wherever possible” of each other’s transport security controls.
Semeta added that, in signing the statement, the EU and the US aimed to jointly respond to global security issues, notably those posed by terrorists.
Earlier this week, the US had confirmed it was considering alternatives to earlier plans for all containers loaded at a foreign port to be scanned before they enter the country.
The requirement, introduced in 2007 for implementation by 2014, meant all containers would need to x-rayed at foreign ports before loading.
Napolitano said Congress was considering “a more layered approach” to container security.