November 8th, 2007 09:18 EST
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on the Release of the Import Safety Action Plan
The Interagency Working Group on Import Safety presented a comprehensive action plan to President Bush outlining specific short- and long-term recommendations to better protect consumers and enhance the safety of imports entering the United States. This Action Plan for Import Safety - A Roadmap for Continued Improvement - includes 14 broad recommendations and 50 specific actions designed to enhance safety and security across all aspects of the import safety process through a cost-effective and risk-based approach.
This action plan represents the culmination of extensive research, information gathering, and thoughtful discussions among our federal interagency partners, private sector representatives within the importing community, as well as foreign producers, exporters and government officials. Federal partners supporting the Interagency Working Group traveled to more than two dozen cities across the country visiting ports-of-entry; key transportation modes of operation such as railroads, airports, and freight hubs; and major processing sites representing wholesalers, retailers, supermarkets, and meat and seafood processing facilities.
Protecting our country from dangerous cargo of every kind remains a top priority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Through our own U.S. Customs & Border Protection, DHS is strengthening its mitigation guidelines and increasing maximum penalties against importers who repeatedly import products that violate U.S. law; has developed an implementation plan for the International Trade Data System (ITDS) which will provide all appropriate agencies a single point of access to consolidated import information through a secure web portal; and will continue to expand existing public-private partnerships in order to seek and share recommendations and best practices within the importing community.
I applaud Secretary Leavitt's leadership for spearheading this effort and identifying specific, actionable ways we can enhance import safety. DHS will continue to improve upon the layers of security now in place - both abroad and at our ports of entry - so we can protect the public from dangerous goods.
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