Posts

New survey on European postal security

PostEurop and Cross-border Research Association have launched a new online survey on postal security management to promote further development and implementation of best security practices in the postal sector. The survey is part of the ongoing SAFEPOST project that the European Commission is co-funding under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). SAFEPOST project going to finish in the end of July after four years of work towards higher postal security in the European Union.

The survey studies the current state of postal security management among PostEurop members, 52 postal operators in 49 European countries. The goal is to collect responses mainly from security and safety managers of the PostEurop members, but also postal expert familiar with sorting and distribution processes are welcome to provide their inputs. The first part of the survey focuses on security implementation and security performance, and the second part studies postal managers’ expectations and concerns regarding the following six main SAFEPOST innovations:

Common Postal Security Space:

SAFEPOST has created an online platform for sharing security-related information between postal operators. This Common Postal Security Space provides a digital track record of security controls and related evidence (for example X-ray images) that a postal parcel has encountered over its journey, and facilitates an easy and controlled way to exchange information both with other operators as well as the authorities.

D-tube drug screening station:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated a new screening solution, D-tube, that can be fully integrated into the sorting process. The D-Tube’s prototype detects illegal substances, such as narcotics and explosives, at high accuracy.

Explosive detection system:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated a Raman spectroscopy screening device for detecting trace amounts of explosives and explosive precursors on the outside of postal items. The device is designed to be seamlessly integrated, at the same level as X-ray machines already used today, in the sorting process and detect the explosive threats at a high accuracy and at a low false alarm rate (≈ 1 %).

Image recognition system:

SAFEPOST has developed an Image Recognition solution that photographs five visible sides of a postal parcel at one or more locations in the postal network. The solution compares these images to detect signs of tampering or damage (≈ 92% detection rate). The current solution functions properly when the conveyor belt moves no faster than 0.5 m/s.

Radiological screening:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated detection of radiation in moving parcels, that can be fully integrated into the sorting process. The current version of the detector is able to detect any harmful level of radiation, and identify the radioactive isotope, and when possible to consider effects of possible attempts of hiding the radioactivity with lead or other shielding material by detecting neutron radiation.

Security standard and certificate:

SAFEPOST project is working towards a new European security standard for the postal operators that would give recommendations about use of security inspection technologies, exchange of security-related information, cyber security, and key security performance indicators. This standard would pave the road towards a voluntary security certification program that would help the postal operators to show their commitment to security.

This survey research is expected to produce interesting new insights about postal security activities and security performance among the PostEurop members. If the response rate is high, the survey findings will set a basis for pan-European benchmarking of security activities. The findings would also contribute to smart policy making, legislation, and standardisation in the field of postal security.

Finally, depending on the response rate, CBRA is going to publish an academic journal paper based on the results. Building on solid theory on supply chain security risk management, the journal paper would provide new empirical about how supply chain security implementation is associated operational and security performance. We expect that collaborative security measures improve both on-time delivery performance (a proxy for operational performance) and supply chain security performance simultaneously. Collaborative security measures include survey items such as “we coordinate security activities with our business customers” and “we exchange customs declaration information with customs authorities electronically [for example, ITMATT or CUSITM messages]”. Another hypothesis is that, on the one hand, non-collaborative security contributes to supply chain security performance but decrease on-time delivery performance on the other hand. Examples of such non-collaborative measures include “we use tamper-evident mail bags to transport high-value postal items” and “We perform security controls also on non-airmail items to detect explosives.” The figure below summarises the theory and hypotheses of the research paper.

blog1506161

Figure 1 Theoretical framework of the SAFEPOST survey paper

The survey findings will be presented in the final SAFEPOST meeting in Madrid 5-6 July 2016. After the meeting, we hope that we can expand the scope of the survey to cover the rest of the world, as well. The next step would be to contact representatives of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and coordinate distribution of the survey into the organisations’ 192 member countries.

 

First results from the WCO Cancun AEO benefit survey

In today’s CBRA Blog we provide a sneak preview of the outcomes of the AEO Benefit survey carried out by CBRA research team at the 3rd Global WCO AEO Conference, in Cancun, Mexico, 11-13 May 2016.

We keep today’s Blog very simple. First, we would like to introduce a new test-categorization of Customs granted AEO benefits, with the following five groups:

  1. More streamlined / simplified Customs (and related) procedures
  2. Less frequent interventions by the Customs administration
  3. Increased priority over non-AEO companies (“getting to the front of the queue”)
  4. Increased (positive) attention by the Customs administration
  5. Increased number of other privileges granted by the customs administration

And second, we list the AEO benefits from our survey (only question 2 in the survey form, which focuses explicitly on Customs granted benefits to the supply chain companies, and not benefits for Customs themselves, or any kind of “side benefits” for the companies) under each of the five categories. The order of the benefits per category is based on the survey outcomes, i.e. the first bullet point benefit was the most common one in the survey, followed by the second bullet and so forth. Please note that there are no ranking indications between the five groups, neither when it comes to the groups per se, nor to the individual benefits – these will be included in our academic publications, bit later this year…

Group 1. More streamlined / simplified Customs (and related) procedures

  • Enjoying increased paperless processing of import/export shipments
  • Enjoying an access to / pre-qualification with various simplified customs procedures
  • Enjoying having a reduced number of data elements in the (final) declaration
  • Enjoying having entry/exit summary declarations with reduced data sets
  • Enjoying easier access to other governmental certification in the supply chain (e.g. in aviation security)

Group 2. Less frequent interventions by the Customs administration

  • Enjoying minimum number of cargo security inspections
  • Enjoying the option of audit-based / account-based controls (versus only transaction-based controls)
  • Enjoying access to self-audit or reduced audit programs

Group 3. Increased priority over non-AEO companies (“getting to the front of the queue”)

  • Enjoying priority use of non-intrusive inspection techniques when examination is required
  • Enjoying a priority status in Customs processing during a period of elevated threat conditions
  • Enjoying priority response to requests for ruling from Customs
  • Enjoying expedited processes to resolve post-entry or post-clearance inquiries
  • Enjoying priority treatment of consignments if selected for control
  • Enjoying preferential treatment at border crossings in post-disaster/post-attack situations
  • Enjoying a priority status in exporting to affected countries after a security incident

Group 4. Increased (positive) attention by the Customs administration

  • Privilege to deal with designated Customs contact points / assistance by Customs supply chain security experts
  • Privilege to receive training provided by Customs experts
  • Privilege to be notified of the intention to release goods prior to their arrival (“pre-clearance”)
  • Enjoying special treatment in some non-criminal legal cases
  • Privilege to exploit “extended Customs office opening hours”, during high peak / congestion times

Group 5. Increased number of other privileges granted by the Customs administration

  • Enjoying from tax privileges, such as speedier tax refunds and compensation
  • Enjoying the option to manage clearance formalities, inspections etc. at the business site
  • Enjoying from financial guarantee waivers, reductions or rebates
  • Privilege to self-manage the bonded warehouses
  • Enjoying tangible benefits due to mutual recognition agreements / arrangements (MRAs) with 3rd countries
  • Privilege to choose the place of controls (if selected for control)
  • Enjoying reductions on some Customs fees or charges
  • Privilege to conduct self-assessments when Customs automated systems are not functioning

And that’s about it! Please be reminded again that this CBRA Blog is just a first scratch on the surface to start publishing results from the WCO Cancun 2016 AEO conference… And by the way, we are also working to publish the results from the WCO Madrid 2014 AEO conference, as we have been waiting to publish the full results of the both conferences in a parallel manner / in a same paper. In the meanwhile, please email us any feedback, ideas and/or criticism regarding this Blog!

In Lausanne, 8 June 2016, CBRA Blog Dr. Juha Hintsa

Blog-080616-1

PS. Our earlier Blog with all the WCO Cancun 2016 AEO survey questions can be read at: http://www.cross-border.org/2016/05/08/aeo-benefits-or-no-benefits-thats-the/

PPS. Related literature by the Cross-border Research Association team and key partners:

Most of these papers are available for download at ResearchGate, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Juha_Hintsa/publications . And all of them can be naturally requested by email ( cbra@cross-border.org )

Hintsa, J., Mohanty, S., Rudzitis, N., Fossen, C. and Heijmann, F. (2014), “The role and value of customs administrations in minimization of socio-economic negative impacts related to illicit import flows in freight logistics systems- three preliminary cases in Europe – FP7-CORE”, Proceedings of the 9th WCO PICARD Conference, September 17-19, 2014, Puebla.

Hintsa, J. (2013), AEO – MRA Study for RTC- Thailand Europe Cooperation TEC-II, PDSC: Implementation of international standards on Supply Chain Security leading to a secure Trade Environment and to increased Trade Facilitation (Activity Code : TRA 4), Final Report, Bangkok.

Urciuoli, L. and Ekwall, D. (2012), “Possible impacts of supply chain security certifications on efficiency - a survey study about the possible impacts of AEO security certifications on supply chain efficiency”, Proceedings of Nofoma Conference, June 6-8, 2012, Naantali.

Hintsa, J., Männistö, T., Hameri, A.P., Thibedeau, C., Sahlstedt, J., Tsikolenko, V., Finger, M. and Granqvist, M. (2011), Customs Risk Management (CRiM): A Survey of 24 WCO Member Administrations, Study for World Customs Organization (WCO), February 28, 2011, Lausanne

Hintsa, J., Hameri, A.P., Männistö, T., Lazarescu, M., Ahokas, J. and Holmström, J. (2010), ”Conceptual model for measuring benefits of security in global supply chains”, Proceedings of the the 3rd International Conference on Transportation and Logistics (T-LOG), September 6-8, 2010, Fukuoka City.

Hintsa, J., Ahokas, J., Männistö, T. and Sahlstedt, J. (2010), “CEN supply chain security (SCS) feasibility study”, CEN/TC 379 Supply Chain Security, Final report, January 15, 2010

Gutiérrez, X., Hintsa, J., Wieser, P. and Hameri, A.P. (2007), “Voluntary supply chain security program impacts: an empirical study with BASC member companies”, World Customs Journal, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp.31-48.

Gutierrez, X. and Hintsa, J. (2006), “Voluntary supply chain security programs: a systematic comparison”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems, Logistics and Supply Chain (ILS), May 15-17, 2006, Lyon.

AEO benefits, or, no benefits, that’s the?

“To be, or not be – that is the question”, was Prince Hamlet wondering already some 412 years ago. 400 years later, the CBRA research team started to raise the question of “AEO benefits, or no AEO benefits – that is the ?”…

 

Around year 2004, we first started to study the emerging AEO-types of programs in Europe and globally, working intensively with multinational companies (clothing, cigarettes, machinery etc.), and with multiple governments. Initially, we reviewed any data available from C-TPAT, StairSec, BASC and TAPA programs, and later we concentrated on EU AEO and all other AEO programs across the globe. After 12 years of research our intention is to publish an academic journal paper summarizing all the knowledge from the literature as well as from our own research on AEO benefits for Customs administrations and for supply chain companies – focusing on the tangible, realized benefits, instead of “paper tiger / lip service” types of benefit checklists.

As the last step of data collection, we are now launching the study: “Customs Supply Chain Security Programs (AEO, C-TPAT etc.) - Survey on Supply Chain and Government Benefits – WCO 3rd Global AEO Conference, Cancun, Mexico, 11-13 May 2016 - Research project by CBRA, ZLC, UCR, HEC UNIL and FP7-CORE”. This survey is a direct follow-up with the one CBRA did in the 2nd Global AEO Conference in Madrid two years ago. Ms. Susana Wong Chan from the University of Costa Rica and Cross-border Research Association is presenting the survey in Cancun next week, and collecting as many replies as possible, in person during the conference (and by email after).

We have three main questions in the Cancun AEO survey, each one with multiple sub-questions (all questions are presented with a five-point Likert scale, plus one option for “cannot say”):

  • Question for Customs administrations, supply chain companies, and all other experts in cross-border supply chains and Customs supply chain security programs: How often are the supply chain security program certified companies in your country benefiting from the following Customs granted incentives?
  • Question for Customs administrations only: What are the benefits for the Customs administration in your country arising from the supply chain security program?
  • Question for supply chain companies only: What are the additional benefits for the supply chain companies in your country, arising from the supply chain security program participations / certifications?

blog 08.05.20162The full list of questions and sub-questions is shared at the end of this blog. In addition, you can download the questionnaire in word-format, in English and in Spanish, at:  http://www.cross-border.org/downloads/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why don’t (near) perfect AEO benefit -papers exist yet in the literature? One would think that the topic attracts lots of academics to carry out such research, and to publish their exciting findings, rather sooner than later… Well, it is quite challenging topic to study: where is the objective, non-biased data located, and how do you get access to it? How to deal with all the politics linked to the topic, as maybe many countries would like to be perceived as “leading edge AEO program holders, with a set of fantastic, innovative benefits delivered to the trade and logistics…”? How to differentiate between all the AEO marketing materials and incentive promises from what is actually implemented on the ground, for the real benefit of supply chain companies; and so forth..? To expand on these thoughts, one could revisit our article on the WCO News No 74 of June 2014. The table on page 45 includes a row on challenges and peculiarities with different categories of possible AEO benefits, sharing following observations and notes:

  • As some of the Customs granted benefits existed in many countries before the AEO era, companies which have enjoyed “such pre-AEO benefits” may fear a potential reduction in existing trade facilitation measures - instead of the introduction of truly new benefits.
  • Due to the dynamics in the cross-border flow of goods, outcomes might vary considerably over time – ‘seeing is believing’; in particular, the benefits linked to ‘elevated threat’ and ‘post-incident recovery’, may appear quite theoretical until such situations actually emerge (and the benefits materialize – or, not).
  • Some could also consider that the AEO system may become a technical trade barrier – the ´become an AEO or die´ scenario.
  • Some might think that an AEO program deters crime, as criminals would rather choose an easy target (i.e. a non-AEO target), for example in the case of warehouse theft; and, alternatively, other might think that an AEO program attracts criminals, as they know there are likely to be fewer Customs interventions – the smuggling of narcotics, for example.

 

Blog_080520163Dear CBRA Blog reader: although this is very challenging research topic, and one should not dream of reaching “one ultimate truth out there” – we kindly ask that if you are in Cancun 11-13 May for the 3rd Global AEO Conference, please take 10 minutes to reply the questionnaire..! Next to the good vibrations gained from participation in this highly important study, you will join a lucky drawing of a nice Costa Rican souvenir! In Lausanne, 9 May 2016, Juha Hintsa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS. List of benefit survey questions, for the CBRA Blog readers:

Customs Supply Chain Security Programs (AEO, C-TPAT etc.) - Survey on Supply Chain and Government Benefits – WCO 3rd Global AEO Conference, Cancun, Mexico, 11-13 May 2016 - Research project by CBRA, ZLC, UCR, HEC UNIL and FP7-CORE

 

Question for Customs administrations, supply chain companies, and all other experts in cross-border supply chains and Customs supply chain security programs: How often are the supply chain security program (AEO, C-TPAT etc.) certified companies in your country benefiting from the following Customs granted incentives?

Use the following scale: Very frequently – Frequently – Occasionally – Rarely - Never / Not applicable in our country (or, this is nothing specific for certified companies) - Cannot say

  • Are companies submitting entry/exit summary declarations with reduced data sets?
  • Are companies benefiting from reduced number of data elements in their final declaration?
  • Are companies benefiting from increased paperless processing of import/export shipments?
  • Are companies offered the option of audit-based / account-based controls (versus only transaction-based controls)?
  • Are companies having access to / pre-qualification with various simplified customs procedures?
  • Are companies self-managing their bonded warehouses?
  • Are companies benefiting from tax privileges, such as speedier tax refunds and compensation?
  • Are companies benefiting from financial guarantee waivers, reductions or rebates?
  • Are companies benefiting from reduction of any Customs fees or charges?
  • Are companies benefiting from access to self-audit or reduced audit programs?
  • Are companies allowed to conduct self-assessments when Customs automated systems are not functioning?
  • Are companies benefiting from designated Customs contact points / assistance by Customs supply chain security experts?
  • Are companies benefiting from training provided by Customs experts?
  • Are companies enjoying easier access to other governmental certification in the supply chain, e.g. in aviation security?
  • Are companies benefiting from the option to manage clearance formalities, inspections etc. at the business site?
  • Are companies benefiting from a minimum number of cargo security inspections?
  • Are companies being notified of the intention to release goods prior to their arrival? (“pre-clearance”)
  • Are companies benefiting from “extended Customs office opening hours”, during high peak / congestion times?
  • Are companies benefiting from choice of place of controls, if selected for control?
  • Are companies benefiting from priority treatment of consignments if selected for control?
  • Are companies benefiting from priority use of non-intrusive inspection techniques when examination is required?
  • Are companies guaranteed a priority Customs processing during a period of elevated threat conditions?
  • Are companies guaranteed preferential treatment at border crossings in post-disaster/post-attack situations?
  • Are companies guaranteed a priority in exporting to affected countries after a security incident?
  • Are companies benefiting from expedited processes to resolve post-entry or post-clearance inquiries?
  • Are companies benefiting from priority response to requests for ruling from Customs?
  • Are companies benefiting from privileges in any kind of non-criminal legal cases?
  • Are companies enjoying tangible benefits due to mutual recognition agreements / arrangements (MRAs) with 3rd countries?

blog 08.05.20164

 

Question for Customs administrations only: What are the benefits for the Customs administration in your country arising from the supply chain security program (AEO, C-TPAT etc.)?

Use the following scale: Strongly Agree – Agree - Neither Agree nor Disagree – Disagree - Strongly Disagree - Cannot say

  • Better overall allocation of governmental resources
  • Improved indirect tax revenue collection
  • Improved prevention of trafficking and illicit trade
  • Improved detection and/or seizures in trafficking and illicit trade
  • Improved prosecution to judgements -ratio (= higher percentage of successful prosecutions)
  • Increased confiscations of criminal assets and/or proceeds of crime
  • Improved collaboration with supply chain companies
  • Improved collaboration with other national government agencies
  • Improved international collaboration with Customs administrations in other countries

 

Question for supply chain companies only: What are the additional benefits for the supply chain companies in your country, arising from the supply chain security program participations / certifications (AEO, C-TPAT etc.)?

Use the following scale: Strongly Agree – Agree - Neither Agree nor Disagree – Disagree - Strongly Disagree - Cannot say

  • Improved customer service
  • Improved customs loyalty
  • Increased market share/ gaining more new customers
  • Improved security commitment of employees
  • Improved company image and credibility
  • Reduced overall vulnerability of the supply chain
  • Improved supply chain resiliency
  • Reduced cargo theft incidents
  • Reduced tax fraud incidents
  • Reduced illicit trade / trafficking incidents
  • Reduced insurance fees
  • Improved inventory management
  • Fewer delayed cross-border shipments
  • Reduced lead time variability in the cross-border supply chain

blog 08.05.20165

 

PPS. Related literature by the Cross-border Research Association team and key partners:

Most of these papers are available for download at ResearchGate, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Juha_Hintsa/publications . And all of them can be naturally requested by email ( cbra@cross-border.org )

Hintsa, J., Mohanty, S., Rudzitis, N., Fossen, C. and Heijmann, F. (2014), “The role and value of customs administrations in minimization of socio-economic negative impacts related to illicit import flows in freight logistics systems- three preliminary cases in Europe – FP7-CORE”, Proceedings of the 9th WCO PICARD Conference, September 17-19, 2014, Puebla.

Hintsa, J. (2013), AEO – MRA Study for RTC- Thailand Europe Cooperation TEC-II, PDSC: Implementation of international standards on Supply Chain Security leading to a secure Trade Environment and to increased Trade Facilitation (Activity Code : TRA 4), Final Report, Bangkok.

Urciuoli, L. and Ekwall, D. (2012), “Possible impacts of supply chain security certifications on efficiency - a survey study about the possible impacts of AEO security certifications on supply chain efficiency”, Proceedings of Nofoma Conference, June 6-8, 2012, Naantali.

Hintsa, J., Männistö, T., Hameri, A.P., Thibedeau, C., Sahlstedt, J., Tsikolenko, V., Finger, M. and Granqvist, M. (2011), Customs Risk Management (CRiM): A Survey of 24 WCO Member Administrations, Study for World Customs Organization (WCO), February 28, 2011, Lausanne

Hintsa, J., Hameri, A.P., Männistö, T., Lazarescu, M., Ahokas, J. and Holmström, J. (2010), ”Conceptual model for measuring benefits of security in global supply chains”, Proceedings of the the 3rd International Conference on Transportation and Logistics (T-LOG), September 6-8, 2010, Fukuoka City.

Hintsa, J., Ahokas, J., Männistö, T. and Sahlstedt, J. (2010), “CEN supply chain security (SCS) feasibility study”, CEN/TC 379 Supply Chain Security, Final report, January 15, 2010

Hold on, before blaming it on the OGAs!

It is common since many years already that the global customs community is pointing their “blaming finger” to other government agencies – OGAs – when it comes to identifying root causes behind too long cargo release times at sea ports and other border crossing points, high costs for importers and exporters to conduct international trade, and so forth. Now, without denying this as a plausible scenario, the CBRA research team proposes to take one step backwards, by first building a solid framework for analyzing and deeply understanding what is actually happening at the borders with Customs and all the other agencies, before rushing to conclusions on “who is to be blamed for poor / expensive cross-border performance…”. Therefore - for both educational purposes (FP7-CORE, work package 19.1) and for analytical purposes (Border Agency Cooperation study with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC), we have produced the following “universal border control task list” - naturally understanding that a perfect single universal list cannot exist. The list is first exploited during April-May 2016 in the OIC Embassy survey (here in Switzerland), to explore who is responsible for specific cross-border controls in various OIC member countries, and to what extent customs is performing tasks on behalf of other (border) agencies. Later, we plan to use the this as a “de-facto border agency control check-list” in our future studies, across the globe.

Again, the first step before analyzing which agencies to blame, is all about understanding what are the typical cross-border control tasks all about, considering all three task categories:

  • Border control tasks which typically cover all commodities;
  • Border control tasks which typically focus on specific commodities; and
  • Other border agency control areas.

 

Now, lets go through all three of them, starting with the first one, and followed by the other two:

Border control tasks which typically cover all commodities:

  • Calculation and collection of indirect border taxes:
    • customs duties
    • sales / value added taxes
    • excise taxes
  • Calculation and collection of other import/ transit/ export fees and taxes (e.g. environmental fee at export)
  • Compilation of trade statistics

Border control tasks which typically focus on specific commodities:

  • Control of import quota restricted products
  • Calculation and granting of export subsidies
  • Control of product safety / conformity of goods / trading standards (please separate agencies per product category, if necessary)
  • Control of food, drinks, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals (including for general health and safety purposes)
  • Control of energy related materials / products (e.g. oil and coal, could be for export taxation purposes etc.)
  • Enforcement of intellectual property rights / fight against copyright infringements / anti-counterfeit
  • Control of plant diseases, pests and extraneous species (i.e., phytosanitary controls)
  • Animal quarantine and controls (i.e. veterinary controls, including pet controls)
  • Control of any biohazards (including deliberate ones)
  • Control of CITES protected species (i.e. endangered fauna and flora)
  • Control of natural resources under license requirements, harvesting quotas etc. (including specific fish, wood, minerals, diamonds etc.)
  • Control of cultural artifacts (stolen / looted, and/or illicitly traded)
  • Control of any stolen goods (including vehicles, machinery, cargo etc.)
  • Fight against drugs / illicit narcotics trafficking (including pre-cursors)
  • Control of waste flows (including those in the Basel Convention on transboundary movements)
  • Control of dual use / strategic goods
  • Control of dangerous goods / hazardous materials
  • Control of explosives and weapons:
    • explosives (including pre-cursors)
    • small arms and light weapons
    • defense / war materials
  • Control of nuclear and radioactive materials

Other border agency control areas:

  • Conveyance / cargo transport security and safety controls:
    • for maritime, including sea ports
    • for aviation, including airports
    • other modes: road, rail, inland waterways etc.
  • Traveler, crew and immigration controls:
    • visa and passport controls
    • trafficking of human beings and people smuggling
    • asylum seekers
    • passenger cars and vehicles in terms of temporary admission
  • Control of weight of cargo (including for road safety purposes)
  • Cash controls (cash smuggling and counterfeit currency)
  • Cyber security (customs and supply chain IT systems, critical infrastructure IT etc.)

 blog-270416-2

 

Dear CBRA Blog and CBRA Monthly readers: we kindly invite your inputs to make the list more comprehensive / better in the future, so please send us an email with your ideas, to cbra@cross-border.org . And thanks already now to the multiple experts from national Customs administrations and international organizations for your valuable help so far– it has been great working with you on all these studies, keeping them as pragmatic as possible… (detailed acknowledgements will be published later). And it goes without saying that soon we will start looking on the next-step aspects on customs versus other government agencies, in the context cross-border supply chain costs and delays – please stay tuned for more!

SIECA delegation visiting Europe in June 2015

I had a great pleasure to be the lead host for a 12 person SIECA delegation visit to Europe in June 2015. We spent two days in the Netherlands, one day in Belgium and two days in Switzerland in an action-packed tour, visiting several border areas, governmental offices and beyond.

The idea to organize a one-week customs and international trade visit tour to Europe first came when Mr. Roman Stoll from the Federal Customs Administration of Switzerland and I paid a four-day visit at the SIECA Secretariat in Guatemala City in March 2015. There we had several meetings and discussions on World Trade Organization´s Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO TFA, implementation plans with the SIECA management – Ms. Carmen Gisela Vergara Mas and Mr. Javier Gutierrez; with Customs management and experts from all the six SIECA member countries; and with representatives of the Intra-American Development Bank. Some weeks after the Guatemala-visit, SIECA and IDB confirmed the willingness to come over to Europe, to learn about good practices in international trade, supply chain and border management in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. And after couple of hundreds of emails and phone calls – myself acting as the focal point in arranging the visit – we were ready to welcome the SIECA Delegation to Europe between Monday 1 June and Friday 5 June, 2015.

blog 22.03.20161Monday-Tuesday we had a full agenda in the Netherlands. Monday started by presentations on Dutch Customs in general, and Schiphol Customs in specific, focusing on risk management, coordinated border management, and the SmartGate solutions at the Schiphol Airport. This was followed by a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs, as well as with an expert from the air cargo industry. During Monday the SIECA delegation gained firsthand knowledge for example on One-Stop Shop (OSS) implementation steps in the Netherlands: Step 1. Information exchange; 2. Joint inspections; 3. Training specialists; 4. Joint risk analysis by both inspections and selection by Customs; and Step 5. One inspection inspects for the other. The program on Tuesday consisted of a tour in Port of Rotterdam, at the APM 2 Container terminal; as well as a visit to the Central command post of nuclear detection and an X-ray container scanner. In between we had a typical “Dutch sandwich” lunch, kindly offered by the hosts. The delegation enjoyed seeing the ultimate high level of automation at the new container terminal, as well as visiting a pragmatic “one stop inspection room”, where multiple border agencies work together inspecting containers flagged for manual inspections.

Wednesday was spent in Brussels, Belgium. In the morning, the trade representatives of the SIECA Delegation went to the European Commission, DG TRADE, for EU-SIECA related discussions. In the afternoon, most of the delegation visited the World Customs Organization, where the meeting started with discussions with the WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya and the WCO Deputy Secretary General Mr. Sergio Mujica. This was followed by a presentation on WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the linked WCO Instruments, by Ms. Heike Barczyk, the Deputy Director of Compliance and Facilitation Directorate at the WCO. Lastly, we had a brief presentation and roundtable discussions on the European Flagship Supply Chain Security Research, Development and Demonstrations project called FP7-CORE. This discussion was joined by Mr. Nik Delmeire, the Secretary General of the European Shippers Council; Ms. Nicolette van der Jagt, the Secretary General of CLECAT, the European association for forwarding, transport, logistics and customs services; and myself, Dr. Juha Hintsa, Founder of the Cross-border Research Association. After the meeting at WCO, it was time to fly from Brussels to Basel, Switzerland.

blog 22.03.20162Thursday-Friday we had a packed program in Switzerland. Despite some “navigation challenges” with our three-car convoy, we arrived on time from Basel to Bern at the Directorate General of the Federal Customs Administration. We heard several interesting presentations focusing on performance mandate, tasks and strategy of Swiss Customs; on international affairs section and it’s relevant international cooperation program; on shifts from traditional revenue collection to environmental and incentive taxes; and on strategy and challenges regarding future customs clearance systems and platforms – all this by three top experts from Swiss Customs. I presented the outcomes of Swiss Customs and Cross-border Research Association -visit to SIECA in March 2015, suggesting some specific areas and priorities for future co-operation activities. Next, the Delegation visited the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, where the discussions focused on Swiss foreign policy in Central America and bilateral cooperation Switzerland - Central America; as well as on political and economic regional integration in Central America. After a quick photo session on the Bundeshaus terrace facing over River Aare, our journey continued towards the Swiss Customs facilities at the Zurich Airport. Again, there were some “logistics challenges” on the way to Zurich, when one of our three cars suddenly lost all engine coolant – fortunately a gas station was close by, and a road service company (car + mechanic) happened to be there. At the Zurich Airport, the SIECA Delegation learned a lot of details about Swiss Customs operations with air cargo and passenger flows. And as the last agenda item, we met a cute black Labrador retriever, who together with his trainer showed how effortlessly he finds illicit goods hidden in air cargo boxes and pallets…

On Friday morning – last day of the journey – we had again an early wake-up call at our hotel in Basel. We were warmly welcomed by Swiss Customs Officers at the Basel/Weil- Motorway border-crossing point – the highest volume customs clearance point in Switzerland. First the hosts explained about facts and figures on Basel/Weil, topped with interesting information on customs risk management processes and IT-systems. Now we all know that on average 3500 trucks cross the Basel/Weil border per day, and that around 600 million CHF is collected annually as indirect taxes at that border crossing point. After that we took a rooftop view over the border area premises, discussing further Import/Export/Transit -procedures, as well as visited the Swiss Transito-Cabins / Checkpoints. From the motorway we drove to the Swiss Customs House at the Basel Port, visiting the famous tri-border-point between Switzerland, Germany and France. There the Delegation learned about the barge traffic on River Rhine – the same river we saw three days earlier at Port of Rotterdam. From the Basel Port, we drove again to Bern, this time to visit the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO. Lively discussions took place on the SECO rooftop meeting room on topics including EFTA – Central American FTA, as well as Bilateral Economic Relations Switzerland – Central America. And after lunch kindly offered by SECO, we headed towards Geneva for the final meeting of the week: World Economic Forum, WEF, where we all arrived just in time to learn about the organization and the key activities of WEF, including: the work of the WEF in Latin America, with updates from the Latin American Summit; and, the work of the WEF on trade and investment policy and implementation, including Policy Directions, Enabling Trade Index, Enabling Trade implementations. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, UNECE, was kind enough to explain about latest developments and trends in single window projects and implementations. And lastly, I shared briefly select work on trade facilitation and supply chain security research and education materials by the Cross-border Research Association and HEC University of Lausanne.  I highlighted the important developments taking place within the FP7-CORE project - referring naturally to our meeting two days earlier at the World Customs Organization.

This concludes the brief summary of the SIECA week in Europe, and now I would like to thank all the SIECA Delegation members for coming over and spending the five days with us, here on the old continent:

  • Costa Rica: Mr. Jhon Fonseca, Vice Minister Foreign Trade; and Mr. Luis Fernando Vasquez Castillo, Costa Rica Customs.
  • El Salvador: Mrs. Luz Estrella Rodriguez, Vice Minister Foreign Trade
  • Guatemala: María Luisa Flores Villagran, Vice Minister Foreign Trade; and Mrs. Maria Elisa Chang, Guatemala Customs.
  • Honduras: Jeronima Urbina, Director of Economic Integration
  • Nicaragua: Eddy Aldolfo Artola Garciá, Director Risk Management of Nicaragua Customs.
  • Panama: Melitón Arrocha. Minister Foreign Trade; Mrs. Diana Salazar, Vice Minister Foreign Trade; and Mr. José Gómez Núnez DG of Panama Customs.
  • SIECA Secretariat: Carmen Gisela Vergara Mas, Secretary General
  • Intra-American Development Bank: Mr. Jaime Granados

And last but not least, warmest thanks to all the local hosts: Dutch Customs Administration; Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs; European Commission DG TRADE; World Customs Organization; Federal Customs Administration of Switzerland; Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland; State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland; and World Economic Forum.

CBRA Blog by Juha Hintsa

blog 22.03.20163PS. If your country / region would be interested on a similar European field visit, please contact us – we could organize the practical details for the next delegation, possibly every 1-2 years (of course the actual hosts need to agree to the visit in the first place, that goes without saying…). And one final note: next time a bus and a professional driver need to be rented, please!

 

FP7-CORE Education – Two new diagrams

Today’s CBRA Blog presents two new diagrams which have been recently designed and developed in the context of FP7-CORE Education and training work (Work package 19.1). The information visualized in the diagram is based on CBRA’s supply chain security research work since year 2001, particularly from the past 5-6 years.

Some background information on the first diagram of crime types in global supply chains has been presented before for example in CBRA’s Blog of 13 October 2014 – Crime taxonomies from Athens. In the center of this diagram we list the crime types - including document fraud and cybercrime - which in the supply chain criminal context are performed in order to succeed with the actual economic or ideological crime, e.g. cargo theft or terrorism.

The left area of the circle lists four examples of crime types, which typically are of primary concern for supply chain companies: cargo theft, sabotage, parallel trade and product specification fraud. With such crime types it is commonly up to the companies to prevent, to detect and to react – of course, law enforcement agencies can be called for any time there is reasonable suspicion of such activities (and naturally in certain cases the government agencies may even be the first ones to detect and react, e.g. in case of armed robberies and truck hijackings).

The right area of the circle deals with supply chain incidents where the authorities typically focus on prevention, detection and reaction: fraud in indirect border taxes; trafficking / violations in cross-border restrictions and prohibitions; human trafficking; and exploitation of illicit labor. From supply chain perspective one can characterize them as “a priori non-disruptive illegal activities – only if / after authorities detect the violations, the supply chain is disrupted and the involved supply chain companies can get in trouble”.

Lastly, on the bottom area of the circle, we list four supply chain crime areas where the prevention typically is in strong interest of both supply chain companies and governmental agencies – and, the detection and (instant) reaction varies on case-by-case basis: counterfeiting, sales channel violations, sea piracy and terrorism. Counterfeiting hits revenues on both sides of the equation, and, with many products can also be health damaging or even lethal. Not having proper sales licenses, and/or selling to unauthorized buyers – for example cigarettes and alcohol, dual use and strategic goods etc. – can again harm both the involved companies and the society as a whole. And of course, sea pirates hijacking cargo ships; bombs exploding and bringing planes down; and terrorists attacking critical supply chain infrastructures, all are in the best interest of both companies and government agencies to prevent, to detect, and to react – in the fastest and most effective possible manner.

blog10.03.161

The second new educational diagram below depicts the negative socio-economic impact areas – six in total – caused by twelve typical smuggling and trafficking activities. The data behind it has been presented before e.g. in CBRA’s Blog of 14 January 2015 – Socio-economic damages. Inside the square we present the six societal impact areas – the larger the area, the more links there are between the trafficking activities and the negative impacts. As an example of a “big area”, seven different types of trafficking typically lead into increasing market place distortions and/or unfair competition. In the other extreme, only trafficking in stolen cultural products leads to losses in cultural heritage.

blog10.03.162

That’s all for the CBRA Blog today – please let us know if you see this type of visualization as beneficial when teaching and learning about the big picture of supply chain security!  Thanks, Juha Hintsa ( email: cbra@cross-border.org )

Border Agency Cooperation, Part 3 of 3

The last blog in our three-part series on Border Agency Cooperation introduces a conceptual framework capturing the essential dimensions of Border Agency Coordination: three levels of collaboration, four areas of integration and four objects for sharing. We hope that the framework helps the customs and other border agency communities to see all levels of Border Agency Cooperation (BAC) so that they can move from isolated coexistence towards more active cooperation at the borders. Higher levels of cooperation are likely to translate into higher levels of trade facilitation, control over cross-border cargo flows and resource efficiency, simultaneously. Compared with the previous BAC Blog Part 2, this BAC Blog Part 3 intends to present a comprehensive framework surrounding BAC ambitions, plans, implementations and monitoring activities – while the previous BAC Bloc 2 focused purely on a set of 15 key BAC actions, grouped according to the main beneficiary groups. This final BAC Blog has been written by Dr. Toni Männistö of CBRA.

Let’s start by first presenting the BAC diagram: Conceptual framework on Border Agency Cooperation (source: Männistö, T., and Hintsa J., 2015; inspired by Polner, 2011 and by Institute of Policy Studies, 2008)

blog-200516-1

Levels of cooperation

Intra-agency cooperation is about aligning goals and work within one organization, either horizontally between departments or vertically between headquarters and local branches, in particular border-crossing offices / stations. Ways to foster horizontal intra-agency cooperation include development of intranet networks, cross-training, inter-departmental rotation of staff, and establishment of joint task forces that tackle multifaceted challenges like transnational terrorism. Ideally, the vertical cooperation would be bi-directional: headquarters would define priorities and objectives and then communicate them to local branches. The branches would, reciprocally, send back status reports and suggest improvements to the general policies. Solving intra-agency cooperation lays a basis for broader cooperation: it’s hard for any organization to cooperate efficiently with external stakeholders if it struggles with internal problems. The logical first step in coordinated border management is therefore breaking departmental silos and building a culture of cooperation within boundaries of one organization.

Inter-agency cooperation, at the operational level, concerns relationships among a broad range of border agencies that play a role in controlling cross-border trade and travel. In many countries, primary agencies present at the borders include customs, border guards, immigration authorities and transport security agencies. However, also police organizations, health authorities, and phytosanitary and veterinary controllers, among others, take part in border management. According to a recent study, typical areas of customs- border guard inter-agency cooperation can include strategic planning, communication and information exchange, coordination of workflow of border crossing points, risk analysis, criminal investigations, joint operations, control outside border control points, mobile units, contingency/emergency, infrastructure and equipment sharing, and training and human resource management (CSD, 2011). Governmental inter-agency cooperation occurs between border control agencies and ministries and policy making bodies that are responsible for oversight and financing of border management activities.

International cooperation may take place locally at both sides of a border. One Stop Border Posts, OSBPs - border crossings managed jointly by two neighboring countries - are prime examples of such cooperation. One Stop Border Posts can involve various forms of collaboration: harmonization of documentation, shared maintenance of the infrastructure, joint or mutually recognized controls, exchange of data and information and common investments in infrastructure and so forth. Operational arrangements between the Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish customs illustrate advanced international cross-border cooperation that save time and money of border control authorities and trading companies. The cooperation builds on division of labor, where the national border authorities of each country are allowed to provide services and exercise legal powers of their home country and neighboring countries. For instance, when goods are exported from Norway, all paperwork related to both exports and imports may be attended by either Swedish, Finnish or Norwegian customs office (Norwegian Customs, 2011). At the political level, this requires international cooperation between authorities and policy makers in two or more countries. Operational cooperation (e.g., mutual recognition of controls or regional Single Window), often bringing tangible trade facilitation benefits, usually follows from political, supranational decisions (e.g., the WCO’s Revised Kyoto Convention and SAFE Framework of Standards).

Areas of integration

Technical integration often entails improving connectivity and interoperability of information and communication technology systems within and across organizations. Single Window solutions are typical outcomes of technical cooperation as they enable automatic exchange of electronic trade information among border control agencies. The UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business, UN/CEFACT, is an important international organization helping to build connectivity across countries and between business and governmental stakeholders. UN/CEFACT, for instance, develops and maintains globally recognized standards for EDI messages.

Operational integration is largely about coordination of inspection and auditing activities among border control agencies. Benefits of synchronized activities are evident: organizing necessary controls at one place and at the same time reduces delays and administrative burden that trading companies and travelers face at borders. A simple and powerful example of operational integration is coordination of opening hours and days of customs offices at the both sides of a border. Operational integration also covers provision of mutual administrative assistance, joint criminal investigations and prosecution, and sharing of customs intelligence and other information.

Legislative integration seeks to remove legal barriers and ambiguities that prevent border control agencies from exchanging information, sharing responsibilities or otherwise deepening their cooperation. Essentially, most forms of Border Agency Coordination require some degree of legislative harmonization and political commitment. For example, Article 8 of the WTO/TFA to the WTO Members requires that national authorities and agencies responsible for border controls and dealing with the importation, exportation and transit of goods must cooperate with one another and coordinate their activities in order to facilitate trade.

Institutional integration is about restructuring roles and responsibilities of border controls agencies. An example of a major restructuring is the annexing of US border control agencies – including the US Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration and Coast Guard – into the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, a body that took over the key governmental functions involved in the US non-military counter-terrorism efforts in the aftermaths of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Objects of sharing

Sharing of information – data, knowledge and intelligence – reduce duplicate work (e.g., sharing of audit findings), enable operational coordination (e.g., synchronized border controls) and facilitate development of common agenda for future border agency coordination. At the global level, the WCO’s Customs Enforcement Network CEN is an example of a trusted communication system for exchanging information and intelligence, especially seizure records, between customs officials worldwide. Another WCO initiative, the Globally Networked Customs, analyzes potential to further “rationalize, harmonize and standardize the secure and efficient exchange of information between WCO Members” (WCO 2015).

Resource sharing involves multi-agency joint investments in equipment, facilities, IT systems, databases, expertise and other common resources. The joint investment activities are likely to result in higher resource utilization and bulk purchasing discounts. For example, national and regional Single Window solutions are often outcomes of joint development and investment activities of various government agencies.

Sharing of work is mostly about rationalization of overlapping border control activities, controls and formalities. If two border control agencies, for instance, agree to recognize each other’s controls, there is no need to control the same goods more than once. Combining forces to investigate and prosecute crime also often help border control agencies to use their limited resources more efficiently.

Sharing of responsibilities is about coordinating and streamlining administrative and control tasks among border control agencies. Norway, again, sets a good example of sharing the responsibilities. The Norwegian customs represents all other border control agencies - except the veterinary office - at the frontier. Customs officers are responsible for routine border formalities, and they summon representatives of other border control agencies as and when the officers need assistance. Internationally, the Norwegian customs cooperates closely with Swedish and Finnish border control authorities at the Northern Scandinavian border posts. Bilateral agreements between its neighbors allow Norwegian customs officers authority to perform most customs checks and formalities for and on behalf of their Swedish and Finnish colleagues. The coordination decreases border-crossing times and lowers administrative costs for trading companies and the border control agencies in the three countries.

This concludes now our three-part series on Border Agency Cooperation. In Part 1, we shared an illustrative worst case example on how complex, slow and expensive a cross-border supply chain execution comes when no cooperation takes place between relevant government agencies, neither nationally nor internationally. In Part 2, we presented a conceptual BAC model with 15 key actions to improve the degree of cooperation in a given country or region – for the direct benefit of supply chain companies, or government agencies, or both. And in this Part 3, we finally presented our comprehensive BAC framework, which hopefully helps government policy makers and border agencies to design, implement and monitor their future BAC programs and initiatives in an effective and transparent manner. Toni Männistö and Juha Hintsa.

Bibliography:

Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), 2011. “Better Management of EU Borders through Cooperation”, Study to Identify Best Practices on the Cooperation Between Border Guards and Customs Administrations Working at the External Borders of the EU.

Institute of Policy Studies 2008, Better connected services for Kiwis: a discussion document for managers and front-line staff on better joining up the horizontal and vertical, Institute of Policy Studies, Wellington, NZ.

Männistö, T., and Hintsa J., "Theory of Border Agency Cooperation”, CBRA working paper 2015, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Norwegian Customs, 2011. Case Study on Border Agency Cooperation Submitted by Norway for the November Symposium.

Polner, M. (2011). Coordinated border management: from theory to practice. World Customs Journal, 5(2), 49-61.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 2011 Border Agency Coordination”, UNCTAD Trust Fund for Trade Facilitation Negotiations Technical Note No. 14.

Border Agency Cooperation, Part 2 of 3

Our second blog on Border Agency Cooperation (BAC) focuses on a conceptual model developed by CBRA. We have crafted this “CBRA-BAC15” diagram to visualize a set of key BAC actions and primary beneficiaries, with contributions by Dr. Toni Männistö (supply chain security post-doc researcher at CBRA), Mr. Gerwin Zomer (TNO, technical manager for the FP7-CORE project) and by Ms. Susana Wong Chan (education and training materials developer at CBRA).BAC-1

The diagram is cut to three sectors: on left side, the supply chain companies are the primary beneficiaries of BAC actions; on the right side, the government agencies form the primary beneficiary group; and on the bottom area, both supply chain companies as well as government agencies benefit from BAC actions. Each of these three sectors contains five examples of concrete border agency cooperation actions – 15 in total - explained in a moment by using real examples, whenever available in the literature or by expert suggestions. In the center of the diagram lies a circle with the more generic “smart cross-border improvement actions”, applicable to virtually any work in global trade facilitation.

The diagram should not be considered exhaustive, when it comes to all optional actions to improve BAC in a given country or region or globally. Some of the 15 key actions may be strongly interconnected, or, partially overlapping. Some of them may apply mainly on national multi-agency environment, and some of them mainly on international e.g. customs-to-customs environment. Also, the division of the key actions into the three beneficiary groups can and should be challenged, by the interested audiences. But, let´s start now by listing and illustrating the key 15 BAC actions:

Supply chain companies as the primary beneficiary (left sector in the diagram). The following five BAC actions can bring immediate benefits to the companies operating in supply chains, in terms of saving administrative costs and speeding up the supply chain – less work dealing with various certifications and audit visits, less variation and IT costs with import/export data filing and less waiting times at the borders.

  • Harmonized ´trusted trader´ & other certification programs: In the European Union, the European Commission´s implementing regulation (No. 889/2014) updates the references to the aviation security legislation in force, including recognition of the Known Consignor (KC) status and its relevance to Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), and framing the scope of recognition of the common requirements between the respective programs.
  • Coordinated company visits & audits: Closely linked to the previous BAC-action, in the Netherlands, the Dutch Customs executes joint audits on AEO security (customs) and known consignor/regulated agent (air cargo) with the Dutch Immigration and air-police agency - during the application phase, as well as during periodical audits.
  • Harmonized data filing requirements: Despite a global, harmonized data model, harmonized tariff codes and standards on clearance procedures, there are many differences in operational import, export and transit procedures and information requirements between countries. This results in additional complexity of IT systems for globally operating traders and logistic service providers. An example is the pre-arrival security declarations, where harmonization would be most useful e.g. between the Importer Security Filing, “10+2” in the US and the Entry Summary Declaration in Europe - Multiple Filing, supported by Standard Trader Interface, under development within the Union Customs Code, UCC.
  • Synchronized border interventions & inspections: The Article 4 of the Greater Mekong Sub-region Cross Border Transport Agreement on Facilitation of Border Crossing Formalities calls upon the contracting parties to progressively adopt measures to simplify and expedite border formalities by carrying out joint and simultaneous inspection of goods and people by respective competent authorities of agencies such as customs, immigration, trade, agriculture, and health. It further provides for single-stop inspection and urges the national authorities of adjacent countries to carry out joint and simultaneous inspections.
  • Harmonized operating hours: This applies particularly in the context of two neighboring country customs offices – having same opening hours across the border helps to maximize the daily throughput volumes. As the Article 8 of the World Trade Organization´s Trade Facilitation Agreement puts it, “Each Member shall, to the extent possible and practicable, cooperate on mutually agreed terms with other Members with whom it shares a common border with a view to coordinating procedures at border crossings to facilitate cross-border trade. Such cooperation and coordination may include: … alignment of working days and hours … “. In the ASEAN region, the Article 7 of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit urges the contracting parties to “coordinate working hours of the adjacent border posts”.

Government agencies themselves as the primary beneficiary (right sector in the diagram). The following five BAC actions can provide instant benefits for the cooperating government agencies, in terms of cost savings and improved efficiency – in other words, identifying more violations and catching more bad guys with less total spending.

  • Sharing of agency intelligence, information & data: Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAAS), signed bilaterally by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and eight counterparties during years 1979-2010 (European Community, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea and the United States) provide Canada with a legal basis to share customs information to prevent, investigate and combat customs offences, particularly customs fraud, and to provide reciprocal mutual assistance to ensure the proper application of customs laws. Under CMAAs Canada may share customs information pertaining to: persons, goods and means of transport; activities planned, on-going, or completed, that constitute or appear to constitute a customs offence in the territory of the country requesting the data; proven law enforcement techniques; new and emerging trends, means or methods of committing customs offences; and facilitation of risk assessment activities, within the mandate and authority of the CBSA.
  • Joint investments in common resource pools (equipment, facilities etc.): In Finland the Customs Administration and the Border Guard share common premises and equipment. Each authority has a designated role in the servicing and maintenance of the equipment. X-ray machines are largely the responsibility of Customs. Road-testing equipment, such as lorry brake-testing pads, is also maintained by Customs. All equipment can be shared and operated by each agency upon request. Thus, although the equipment belongs to one agency, it can be easily relocated to the other agency, enabling smoother processing of the workflow without unnecessary and lengthy administrative procedures, thereby reducing costs.
  • Joint teams: In the Netherlands, “HARC” - Hit and Run Cargo Rotterdam team, is a joint operation of Dutch Maritime Police, Dutch Customs, the Fiscal and Economic Crime Agency and the Ministry of Justice collaborating operationally in narcotics enforcement. Joint teams differ from Joint operations below by being a long-term / permanent set-up; while Joint operations “come and go”.
  • Joint operations: A joint operation Meerkat, (23-27 July 2012) involving the World Customs Organization and INTERPOL against the illicit trafficking of cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol in East and Southern Africa, resulted in the seizure of tons of illicitly traded products in seven countries. Operation Meerkat saw Customs and police authorities carry out some 40 raids at seaports, inland border crossing points, markets and shops in Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. More than 32 million cigarettes – equivalent to 1.6 million packets, 134 tons of raw tobacco and almost 3,000 liters of alcohol were seized, resulting in national authorities initiating a number of administrative investigations into tax evasion and other potential criminal offences.
  • Collaborative criminal investigations & prosecutions: In the United States the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) units gather officers from more than 100 different law enforcement agencies under one roof. The objective is to identify, investigate, disrupt and dismantle transnational organizations posing the greatest threat to border security, public safety and national security, by employing the full range of federal, state, local, tribal and international law enforcement resources. Over the years, the BEST has become a successful interagency law enforcement collaboration model that’s keeping the US safer.

Both supply chain companies as well as government agencies as beneficiaries (bottom sector). The five BAC actions can bring instant benefits to all parties in cross-border supply chains, in terms of lowering costs and improving performance, from supply chain company and from governmental agency perspectives.

  • ‘Single window’ -type import/ export/ transit data submissions: In the Netherlands, the authorities have designed Digipoort, the government’s ‘electronic post office’ for businesses. It provides the communication infrastructure for the exchange of digital information between companies and government authorities. Digipoort enables companies to submit import and export information at a single entry point aimed at multiple government authorities.
  • Common risk indicators, risk profiles & targeting systems: In Finland, common databases are linked to the different agencies’ operational and risk management databases, leading to a common approach when a ‘signal’ is recorded. Some control and enforcement officers have access to each other’s systems on a need-to-know basis, with levels of restricted access determined by rank and functional responsibility.
  • Mutual recognition of supply chain inspection procedures & outcomes: As part of the European Union funded research and development project FP7-CORE ( http://www.coreproject.eu/ ), the phytosanitary and customs administrations in Kenya and the Netherlands are working towards mutual recognition of controls carried out by Kenyan authorities, as well as the exploitation of digital phytosanitary certificates and other trade documents, between the two countries. Outside of the research world, mutual recognitions (MR) of customs inspections are being explored in the context of EU MR Agreements, for example with Japan.
  • Cross-training and empowering manpower: In Finland, Customs officers have been trained by the Border Guard to inspect identification documents and visas, among other procedures. Border guards have, in turn, received basic Customs training, which includes the search of vehicles and the recognition of prohibited and restricted goods, such as drugs, alcohol, and counterfeit items.
  • Joint public-private partnership arrangements, training sessions etc.: In 2011 in Hong Kong, the Customs and Excise Department established a Joint Liaison Group with the representatives of shippers, freight forwarders and truck drivers for exchanging operational views and comments on the Road Cargo System “ROCARS”. Moreover, Customs also launched an extensive publicity program and established outreach teams to assist the industry stakeholders to get used to the ROCARS. Following other government departments are listed on the ROCARS web-site http://www.rocars.gov.hk/ : Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Census and Statistics Department, and Transport Department.

Finally, the center circle of the CBRA-BAC15 diagram highlights the basic, classical principles of trade facilitation – naturally in the context of multiple agencies dealing with cross-border regulations, procedures, IT-systems and data requirements:

  • Simplification & Harmonization: agencies work together with the first aim to streamline certification requirements and procedures, to minimize the number of data elements required from traders etc.; and the second aim to unify the rules and requirements facing supply chain companies.
  • Interoperability & Synchronization: agencies invest in improving interoperability between their inspection technologies, IT-systems etc.; they also work together to better synchronize their supervision and control processes, particularly for the benefit of supply chain companies.
  • Transparency & Predictability: agencies keep each other well informed of their current regulations, procedures, operations etc., as well as planned future changes – such proactive approach helps to minimize surprises and related hassles.

This concludes the second of three parts of our Border Agency Cooperation (BAC) blog. In Part 3 – to be published sometime in February – we focus on the overarching institutional arrangements on Border Agency Cooperation, including establishment of single border agencies (e.g. in the US and Australia); creation of one-stop border posts, OSBPs (multiple examples across the world); carrying work permanently on behalf of other agencies etc. We also plan to discuss bit more on the benefits and costs of BAC, as well as the main challenges and obstacles in BAC-projects across the globe. Talk to you again in February, Juha Hintsa.

 

Bibliography / sources for the examples and cases attached to the 15 BAC key actions:

  • Harmonized ´trusted trader´ & other certification programs: Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 889/2014 of 14 August 2014 amending Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93, as regards recognition of the common security requirements under the regulated agent and known consignor programme and the Authorised Economic Operator programme.
  • Coordinated company visits & audits: Email exchange with a Dutch Customs expert
  • Harmonized data filing arrangements: Interview with a Dutch supply chain and trade facilitation expert (29 January 2016); and AnNa Master Plan Extended Collaboration Project Book, December 2015. Available for download at: http://www.annamsw.eu/
  • Synchronized border interventions & inspections: Jain, S.R. (2012), “Coordinated Border Management: The Experience of Asia and the Pacific Region”, World Customs Journal, Vol. 6 No.1. (CBM25).
  • Harmonized operating hours: Article 8 (Border Agency Cooperation) of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation of 15 July 2014; and Jain, S.R. (2012), “Coordinated Border Management: The Experience of Asia and the Pacific Region”, World Customs Journal, Vol. 6 No.1.
  • Sharing of agency intelligence, information & data: “Customs Cooperation Case Study for Canada”, paper submitted by Canada (Canada Border Services Agency - CBSA) for the July 2012 WTO Symposium on Trade Facilitation.
  • Joint investments in common resource pools (equipment, facilities etc.): “Coordinated Border Management”, WCO News, February 2015, No. 76.
  • Joint teams: “Customs find cocaine buried in cocoa bean shipment”, NL Times 25.5.2015, Available online at: http://www.nltimes.nl/2015/05/25/customs-finds-cocaine-buried-in-cocoa-bean-shipment/ (accessed 28 January 2016).
  • Joint operations: “WCO and INTERPOL joint operation against illicit trafficking in Africa leads to tobacco and alcohol seizures”, WCO Press Release, 27 August 2012. Available online at:   http://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2012/august/operation-meerkat.aspx (accessed 28 January 2016).
  • Collaborative criminal investigations & prosecutions: “Coordinated Border Management”, WCO News, February 2015, No. 76
  • ‘Single window’ –type import/ export/ transit data submissions: “Coordinated Border Management”, WCO News, February 2015, No. 76.
  • Common risk indicators, risk profiles & targeting systems: “Coordinated Border Management”, WCO News, February 2015, No. 76.
  • Mutual recognition of supply chain inspection procedures & outcomes: The Consistently Optimised REsilient ecosystem, CORE FP7 project, EU. See online at: http://www.coreproject.eu/ (accessed 28 January 2016).
  • Cross-training and empowering manpower: “Coordinated Border Management”, WCO News, February 2015, No. 76.
  • Joint public-private partnership arrangements, training sessions etc.: “Road Cargo System (ROCARS) (Hong Kong China)”. Available online at: http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/wco-implementing-the-wto-atf/atf/border-agency-cooperation.aspx (accessed 28 January 2016).

Border Agency Cooperation, Part 1 of 3

“A beloved child has many names”, goes an old Finnish proverb. This saying applies quite well in the conblog-210116text of ´smart cooperation between multiple agencies when dealing with cross-border supply chains, goods movements and transports´. The World Customs Organization talks about Coordinated Border Management (CBM); the European Union about Integrated Border Management (IBM); the World Bank about Collaborative Border Management (CBM); and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe about Comprehensive Border Management (CBM). Cross-border Research Association is aligning with a fifth term: Border Agency Cooperation (BAC), a term used in the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization. Despite minor differences in scope, priorities, underlying principles and philosophies among these five terms (and possibly even more), one can easily agree that the work carried out under any and all of them aims to coordinate activities across and within various border control agencies, for the benefit of both governmental agencies themselves as well as supply chain companies.

Our first blog on Border Agency Cooperation, BAC, provides an illustrative worst case example on how complex, slow and expensive a cross-border supply chain execution comes when no cooperation takes place between relevant government agencies, neither nationally nor internationally. The illustration is about meat export from Latin America (Country X) to the European Union (Country Y), with maritime transport in reefer containers.

A well-known beef producer in country X– also the first Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) beef producing company in the region - has just signed an annual contract with a beef importer and distributor in country Y. As this is the producer ‘s first export deal to the EU, the producer needs to ensure that all licenses and certificates are up to the EU standard. Organizing health certificates, certificates of origin, sanitary certificates, export licenses – and what have we – takes weeks and weeks of time. There is no communication or procedures in place between the various agencies and officials to facilitate the process, no coordinated company visits or audits, no sharing of information, and no mutual recognition of inspections.

When all documents are finally in place, and regular exports can start, the beef producer and it´s forwarding agent face the burden of filing export data to customs, to sanitary agencies, and to national security agencies – with somewhat similar datasets, but with no single-window filing opportunity. And when export controls and inspections take place – which happens often – there is no synchronization of inspection times between the different agencies. One agency might come to inspect the reefer container on Monday noon, second one on Wednesday morning, and third on Friday afternoon – another week lost in the beef supply chain lead-time.

Once the consignment is happily on board towards the EU, one continues to experience lost BAC opportunities: no data is passed from country X customs or sanitary agencies to their counterparties in country Y, to enable pre-arrival compliance control and risk assessment. In case of criminal suspicions – e.g. when supply chain insiders exploit beef shipments for cocaine smuggling – no intelligence is shared between police and customs, from country X to country Y. The option of joint law enforcement operations between country X and Y police and customs agencies has never been even considered. Even on national level, both in country X and Y, the agencies are not co-operating neither on risk profiling and targeting systems, nor during criminal investigations and prosecutions – what a waste of resources when it comes to catching and convicting the bad guys…

In the meanwhile, some ten days later, the ship arrives at a major sea port in country Y. For the importer, there is no option for single-window data filing; instead, import data must be transferred separately to all different agencies in country Y. As the customs administration in country Y has no Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) in place with country X customs - neither when it comes to AEO certificates nor when it comes to recognizing inspections carried out at export – it treats the import as a “medium to high risk” one, calling for physical inspections. And as the sanitary agency does not share any common resources with the customs administration – particularly no joint inspection facilities and equipment, including x-ray machines - and even the daily opening hours are different from the customs hours, the sanitary agency carries out their own inspections only two days after the customs intervention. And finally, improving the situation does not seem likely, as there are no joint public-private partnerships, and no export/import compliance training sessions or similar in place, neither in country Y nor in country X.

This concludes the first of three parts of our Border Agency Cooperation (BAC) blog. In Part 2 – to be published next week – we will present CBRA´s conceptual model (Hintsa J., Dec.2015) on BAC key actions and beneficiaries: which key actions to take in order to speed up the logistics chain, to save costs with all actors, to increase overall predictability, and to improve government agency performance e.g. in terms of number of seizures and convictions. In the BAC Blog Part 2, we plan to present some preliminary experiences and real-life results from FP7-project CORE. Please stay tuned!

Chemical Security in Istanbul

2015-12-15 09.02.08I had the most interesting week in Istanbul with the Iraqi government representatives, chemical sector companies and the US State Department Chemical Security Program, CSP.

Security in the chemical supply chain is a major challenge for government agencies and chemical supply chain companies across the globe, including those in the Middle-East and North African (MENA) region. Theft, diversion, trafficking, export violations, counterfeit chemicals, sabotage and terrorism – among other criminal threats – keep the agencies and companies constantly on their toes when considering how to best tackle the vulnerabilities and threats in their respective chemical supply chains.

This was my second time to join as an external expert in a Chemical Security Program (CSP) event in the MENA region. The first time was in Hurghada, Egypt, in March 2015 – thanks again to Professor Andrew Thomas, the Chief Editor of the Journal of Transportation Security, for hooking me up with CRDF Global and the US State Department on this. Now the four day event targeted for the relevant Iraqi government agencies as well as the Iraqi chemical sector companies was held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 14-17 December 2015.

We had a fully packed agenda: Day 1 consisted of several introductory and state-of-play speeches by the workshop facilitators and by Iraqi experts, the latter group sharing key governmental, industry and academic perspectives to the chemical security progress in Iraq.  Day 2 started with a case study presentation on “Post-2001 supply chain security developments at Dow Chemicals”, followed by private-public partnership considerations in chemical supply chain security. During the afternoon of day 2, two more presentations were given on potential threats to materials of interest, as well as on site-physical security. Day 3 started with presentations on international transport of dangerous goods and security rules, followed later by presentations on export control and border security issues, as well as risk assessment methodological aspects.

Interactive sessions, group exercises and other discussions were vivid throughout the four days. On day 1, the main interactive session was about government-industry coordination. On day 2, the focus shifted to identifying key players in Iraqi chemical supply chain security, as well as exploring private sector specific chemical security issues. On day 3, a major interactive session took place to recognize existing vulnerabilities and threats in the chemical supply chain, as well as to identify appropriate countermeasures and other possible means of improvement. And finally, on day 4, a draft table of content for a potential “Iraqi chemical supply chain security master plan and implementation roadmap” was produced in a highly interactive manner, followed ultimately by drafting some actual planning content in areas including chemical transport security and raising security awareness.

The actual workshop outcomes and possible follow-up actions will be worked upon later by the organizing team and some key participants. In the meanwhile, I want to express my warmest thanks for this opportunity and great on-site collaboration in Istanbul to: Ms. Shawn Garcia from the U.S. Department of State, Chemical Security Program (DOS/CSP); Ms. Pelin Kavak and Mr. Nidal Abu Sammour from CRDF Global, US / Jordan; and Dr. Caner Zanbak and Mr. Mustafa Bagan from the Turkish Chemical Manufacturers Association (TCMA). Hope to meet you again in 2016 in Iraq, Algeria and possibly other locations in the MENA region!

 

Cheers, Juha Hintsa

P.S. We also tested two CBRA frameworks / models – CBRA SCS15/16, and CBRA-BAC-Actions and beneficiaries – with the audience during the Istanbul week. Both of them were well perceived, and will be topics for CBRA Blog during the coming couple of months. (SCS = Supply Chain Security, and BAC = Border Agency Cooperation).

PPS. Last but not least I would like to thank Ms. Antonella Di Fazio of Telespazio, Italy, and FP7-project CORE, for excellent inputs on transport of dangerous goods, traceability and monitoring solutions, demonstrators, and practical experiences.

CORE-Observatory

Analytical method to identify the number of containers to inspect at U.S. ports to deter terrorist attacks (CORE1204)

Summary: The requirement for 100% container scanning has been a burning topic, since U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued the initiative in order to prevent terrorists from smuggling weapons of mass destructions into the U.S. The paper explores how much it is reasonable to come down from the 100% inspection rate, if deterrence and cost of retaliation are considered in the model. Deterrence means the power to dissuade an attacker from attempting to smuggle weapons as opposite to use coerce or compel.  Retaliation cost describes the cost incurred by an attacker e.g. due to dismantling the attacker’s network. It is assumed the defender discloses in advance how many containers are inspected. The paper can be viewed here: https://www.researchgate.net.

Enhancing security through efficiency focus- Insights from a multiple stakeholder pilot implementation (Sternberg et al. 2012)

Summary

Efficiency and security are said to be opposing goals of logistics operations: when security goes up, efficiency decreases, and vice versa. Yet, it is suggested that information technologies could improve efficiency and security simultaneously. Sternberg et al. (2012) investigate this hypothesis: whether and to what extent increased attention to efficiency results in improved security in carrier operations in a seaport context. In a longitudinal case study, they research carrier operations in connection with port terminals carrying out Roll-in Roll-out (RoRo) operations on trailers at the port of Gothenburg. They find that investments in new ICT solutions, in fact, remove some of the barriers to higher efficiency and improve security against cargo theft and terrorism. In particular, they report that ICT investments increased efficiency in terms of reduced waiting times and increased ability to plan port operations (pre-arrival notification) and fast positioning of trailers in a port. The new ICT solutions also increased security in terms of more secure document handling (decreases the risk that sensitive information falls into the hands of criminals), better anomaly detection (helps customs identify trailers that are most likely tampered in-transit) and increased visibility. The abstract is available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Estimating the Operational Impact of Container Inspections at International Ports (Bakshi et al. 2011)

Summary

The US government is pushing a new 100 % screening regime for US-bound containers in foreign ports to mitigate the risk of weapons of mass destruction entering US soil. The 100 % regime, however, is a major concern for foreign port operators because the current Container Security Initiative (CSI) regime seems not to be scalable for high inspection rates. The paper of Bakshi et al. (2011) simulate impacts of two container inspection regimes (the CSI and a new one) in terms of port congestion, handling cost and dwell time. To carry out the simulation, the authors use discrete event queuing network simulation with real container movement data from two of the world’s busiest container terminals. The analysis shows that cargo inspections many times disrupt optimized logistics processes at seaports. In particular, inspections extend the transportation leadtime because shipments lose time as they (i) are moved to an inspection site, (ii) queue for inspection to start, (iii) pass inspections themselves. Download the abstract here: http://pubsonline.informs.org.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

CASSANDRA compendium. Technologies for supply chain visibility and security (Ch. 8)

Summary: Chapter 8 of the CASSANDRA compendium reviews current and future technologies that help managers to improve visibility and security over global end-to-end supply chains. The supply chain visibility technologies, in essence, provide logistics managers with a variety of information - shipment data, performance metrics, inventory levels, production / delivery schedules and sales forecast, for example - in or close to real time. The chapter’s review on supply chain security technologies focus mainly on security sensors (e.g., motion detectors), container seals, biometric user authentication devices (e.g., fingerprints), and non-intrusive inspection equipment (e.g., X-ray screening stations). The section also elaborates modern ways for sharing information among stakeholders that are concerned about security of the supply chain. The CASSANDRA compendium is available for download: www.cassandra-project.eu. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

CASSANDRA compendium. Private sector perspectives on risk management (Ch. 5) and crime prevention and security management in supply chains (Ch. 6)

Summary: Chapters 5 & 6 of the CASSANDRA compendium provide a general overview on supply chain security risk management from the private sector perspective. Explaining the essentials of supply chain risk management, Chapter 5 introduces commonly used risk management models and tools (e.g., risk matrices and risk registers), discusses various classifications of supply chain risks, and elaborates current trends of risks and risk management in the supply chain context. Chapter 6 focuses on specific challenges of supply chain security risks - the risks that arise from intentional, man-made criminal activities such as terrorism, theft, trafficking, and sabotage. The chapter explains a few early classifications of supply chain security risks (e.g., motive-based typology and taxonomies based on private sector perspectives). Following the classifications of security risks, the chapter puts forth a few models for managing security risks in the supply chain context (e.g., the 8-layer model for supply chain security management). The chapter concludes with a detailed case study on security management of an international security company and a comparison of supply chain security management and the total quality management (TQM) management philosophy. The CASSANDRA compendium is available for download: www.cassandra-project.eu. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

MARITIME SECURITY – Vessel Tracking Systems Provide Key Information, but the Need for Duplicate Data Should Be Reviewed, GAO, March 2009 (CORE1065)

Summary: The US government considers identification and tracking of vessels at the US coastal areas, inland waterways and ports important for protecting the US homeland and economy from maritime terrorism. The US coastal guards use a range of identification and tracking solutions to detect any anomalies in maritime traffic that might suggest terrorist activity, such as transportation of weapons of mass destruction, use of explosive-laden boats as weapons, smuggling of weapons, drugs, people or other contraband. This GAO report reviews the US Coast Guards’ current and future solutions for monitoring the maritime traffic: long-range identification and tracking system (LRIT), long-range automatic identification system (AIS) and various radar and camera systems. The report elaborates strengths and weaknesses of these identification and tracking solutions and proposes a roadmap for further strengthening of the US coastal security. The future advancements should pay particular attention to tracking of small and non-commercial vessels and to reconsider ways to collect and analyze data that is relevant for coastal surveillance.  Offering background information about vessel-level tracking and tracing of maritime cargo movements, the report is a relevant source document for those CORE demonstrations that involve shipping of containers from, through and into the US. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d09337.pdf.

Review of the TIR Convention and its accompanying Security and Risk Management electronic tools, 2013 (CORE1040)

Summary: The Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention, 1975) constitutes the international legal framework for the TIR system. TIR is the only universal Customs transit system, today operational in 58 countries, that allows the goods to transit from a country of origin to a country of destination in sealed load compartments with Customs control recognition along the supply chain. This minimizes administrative and financial burdens, while Customs duties and taxes that may become due are covered by an international guarantee (covering more than USD 1 billion worth of international trade every day). In order to ensure the security of the TIR System, electronic controls run in parallel with the security elements already specified in the TIR Convention. TIR handbook can be found at: http://www.unece.org

Draft SADC guidelines for Coordinated Border Management: A Practical Guide on Best Practices and Tools for Implementation, 2011 (CORE1115)

Summary: The 15 member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are looking ways to ease the transition of their regional Free Trade Area towards a more integrated Customs Union where people and cargo would cross borders without excessive delays and administrative burden. The countries expect that the smoother cross-border traffic would contribute to the economic growth in the region. Central to the integration effort is coordinated border management, i.e., closer collaboration among various border control agencies, both nationally and internationally. The SADC guidelines provides a comprehensive catalogue and description of best practices of border agency cooperation and guidance how to implement them in the Southern-African context. Besides the guidelines, the document also features a comprehensive glossary of coordinated border management vocabulary. You can download the guidelines here: http://www.sadc.int. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

Governmental actors in supply chains & Governmental procedures, compliance and risk management – CASSANDRA Compendium Chapters 4 & 7, 2012 (CORE2007c)

Summary: The fourth and seventh chapters of the CASSANDRA compendium elaborate on the roles of government agencies in international logistics and supply chain security (SCS). A broad range of government actors - customs, police agencies, border guards and many others - play a crucial role in enforcing and facilitating cross-border traffic through the global supply chains. These government agencies are critical stakeholders to be involved in the development, design and implementation of the two central CASSANRA concepts: the end-to-end data pipeline and the risk-based approach to cargo inspections and company audits. The CASSANDRA compendium highlights that there are important differences in the national laws and regulations, even within the European Union, that complicate international government collaboration. The differences in the legal framework and organisational cultures must be taken into account when designing new SCS solutions in the CASSANDRA and other projects. The CASSANDRA compendium is available for download: www.cassandra-project.eu. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

Better Management of EU Borders through Cooperation, 2011 (CORE1114)

Summary: This report by the Center for the Study of Democracy investigates existing forms of cooperation between Border Guards and customs administrations in the European Union. The study highlights obstacles to cooperation and proposes solutions and best practices for overcoming them. The study finds that despite the common policy interest on border agency cooperation and the associated pan-European standardisation efforts, the individual Member states decide the extent and forms of customs-border guard co-operation on their own. As a result, the current state of border agency collaboration and potential for improvements differ substantially between the member states. The main differences arise from the institutional set-up (e.g., number and roles of border control agencies), powers and competencies of the border control agencies, and the legislative basis (especially legal differences in terms of privacy, data protection and confidentiality of trade information). Download the report here: http://ec.europa.eu. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)