SRI LANKA JOINS U.S. CONTAINER SECURITY INITIATIVE
Reliable U.S. Partner supports Homeland
Security and War on Terror
Declaration of Principles relating to implementation of US
Container Security Initiative (CSI) by Sri Lanka was signed by
Mr. Sarath Jayatilleke (right) Director-General, Sri Lanka Customs
and Mr. Douglas Browning, Deputy Commissioner of
US Customs and Boarder Protection on 25th June 2003 at the US
Embassy in Brussels, Belgium.
Sri Lanka and the United States today signed a Declaration of
Principles (DOP) for the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI).
The document was signed by Sri Lankas Customs Director-General,
Mr. Sarath Jayathilake and Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Customs
and Border Protection, Mr. Douglas M. Browning in Brussels, Belgium
at the U.S. Mission to the European Union. The two Customs Chiefs
were in Brussels to attend the World Customs Organization Annual
Meeting. Present at the signing ceremony was Mr. Romesh Jayasinghe,
Sri Lankas Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union.
Devinda R. Subasinghe, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the U.S. said:
"I am very pleased that Sri Lanka joined the Container Security
Initiative within a short period of time. This demonstrates Sri
Lankas firm commitment to cooperate with the U.S. in the
fight against terrorism and the protection of the homeland. The
CSI will facilitate the clearance of exports, safeguard containerized
cargo, and the maritime trading system against terrorism."
The Declaration of Principles that we signed today, while
marking a milestone in the cooperation between the customs authorities
of Sri Lanka and US will strengthen the risk assessment capability
of the Colombo Port. It will also help to streamline Port Operations.
I therefore welcome this initiative." said Mr. Sarath Jayathilake,
Director-General, Sri Lanka Customs.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Browning
concluded by saying: I applaud the government of Sri Lanka
for their strong support in helping to make a safer, more secure
world trading system. CSI is essential in securing an indispensable,
but vulnerable link in the chain of global trade: containerized
The CSI was launched by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(CBP), in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September
11. Now within the Department of Homeland Security, the CSI will
increase the security of the world's maritime trading system through
strengthened customs co-operation at seaports. Under the Declaration
of Principles, Sri Lanka Customs and U.S. Customs and Border Protection
will exchange information and work closely together to identify
and screen high-risk containers bound for the U.S. A small number
of CBP officers will be deployed at the Colombo port to work jointly
with Sri Lankan counterparts to pre-screen and target high-risk
CSI consists of four core elements:
- Utilizing intelligence and automated information to identify
and target high-risk containers;
- Pre-screening containers identified as high-risk, at the
port of departure, before they arrive at U.S. ports;
- Using detection technology to quickly pre-screen high-risk
- Using smarter, tamper-evident containers. Globally, over 48
million full cargo containers move between major seaports each
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is continuing to implement
CSI at major ports around the world. Most of the top 20 ports
identified for the first phase of CSI have agreed to join and
are at various stages of implementation. They include (by container
cargo volume): Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Kaohsiung, Rotterdam,
Pusan, Bremerhaven, Tokyo, Genoa, Yantian, Antwerp, Nagoya, Le
Havre, Hamburg, La Spezia, Felixstowe, Algeciras, Kobe, Yokohama.
and Laem Chabang.
The port of Colombo, which is the busiest harbor in South Asia,
will soon join the already operational CSI ports of Rotterdam,
LeHavre, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, and Antwerp in Europe, Singapore
in Asia, and Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax in Canada.
This outcome is the result of the Trade and Investment
Agreement (TIFA) signed between the U.S. and Sri Lanka during
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghes meeting with President
Bush in July 2002 and the ongoing meeting of the Joint Council.
The US is the largest single market for Sri Lankas exports
(41 percent of all exports), valued at approximately US$ 2 billion
according to Ambassador Subasinghe. The CSI is also important
in positioning Sri Lanka as a transportation hub and the gateway
to the subcontinent.
Sri Lanka is strategically located at a key crossroads in the
global trading system with a high potential for detecting items
of concern. Approximately 70 percent of the containers handled
in Sri Lanka are transshipments. Last year, roughly 157,087 sea
cargo containers entered the United States from the port of Colombo.
Sri Lanka has already set in motion necessary actions to acquire
the required equipment to implement this initiative. A US Customs
delegation is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in August this year
to discuss necessary preparatory steps to implement CSI at the
Embassy of Sri Lanka
25 June 2003