span style=”font-size:85%;”(World Trade Interactive)/spanbr /br /A new Government Accountability Office report argues that the statutory requirement for 100% scanning of U.S.-bound container cargo by 2012 could threaten efforts to fashion international supply chain security standards and may actually provide a lower level of security than the current risk management approach.br /br /According to the report, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been at the forefront of efforts to develop and implement the World Customs Organization’s Safe Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade. The SAFE Framework in large part internationalizes the concepts first promulgated under CBP’s Container Security Initiative and Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. As in CSI, the standards in the customs-to-customs pillar of the SAFE Framework state that members should use a risk-management system to target and identify potentially high-risk cargo. Member customs administrations are urged to provide for joint targeting and screening, the use of standardized sets of targeting criteria and compatible communication and information-exchange mechanisms. In addition, as with C-TPAT, the WCO customs-to-business pillar provides that customs administrations should design validation processes for their respective authorized economic operator programs that offer incentives to participating businesses.br /br /Widespread acceptance of the core principles of the SAFE Framework and implementation of its standards could have numerous benefits, the report states.br /br /• the focus of international customs administrations would be shifted from primarily revenue collection to include enhanced securitybr /br /• cooperation between customs administrations would be strengthened, improving their capability to detect high-risk cargobr /br /• port shopping by terrorists or smugglers looking for seaports with more lax or nonexistent security standards could be reducedbr /br /• programs for ensuring that customs administrations are free of corruption could be improvedbr /br /• CSI-like customs security practices could be implemented at non-CSI foreign seaports and customs administration reform and modernization could be enhancedbr /br /• companies could avoid the burden of addressing different sets of requirements as a shipment moves through the supply chain in different countriesbr /br /However, the report warns, these benefits are being threatened because of the focus on 100% scanning under the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, which runs counter to the risk management approach employed by the SAFE Framework, CSI and C-TPAT. WCO officials are concerned that 100% scanning could have an adverse impact on several of the organization’s core instruments, which include not only the SAFE Framework but also the Revised Kyoto Convention, an international customs agreement to which the U.S., the European Union and 52 others have acceded. Some countries are reluctant to implement AEO programs since they believe such programs would not be necessary with 100 percent scanning, and some companies are reluctant to join AEO programs since one of the main benefits of membership, a reduced likelihood of examination, would no longer apply if all containers are required to be scanned.br /br /In addition, the report states, CBP, WCO and EU officials assert that 100% scanning may actually provide a lower level of security than existing programs. The risk management approach directs resources to where they are most needed, officials say, whereas 100% scanning directs too many resources to one activity and diminishes the focus on those container shipments that pose the highest risk. Customs officers currently review the scanned images of high-risk containers in a very thorough and detailed manner, one WCO official said, but reviews may not be as thorough if all containers are scanned due simply to the sheer volume of work, leading to a degradation of security. In addition, a European customs official noted, 100% scanning could have a negative impact on the flow of international commerce, which under the 9/11 Act may be grounds for granting a two-year, renewable extension to the 100% scanning requirement at individual seaports.