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US Teams With WCO to Secure Global Supply Chain

An international alliance drawing members from the World Customs Organization has been formed to coordinate efforts to safeguard the global supply chain. The new partnership was announced Thursday, Jan. 6 in Brussels by US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who said its goal would be to coordinate efforts to make world commerce and infrastructure more secured.

“Securing the global supply chain is part and parcel of securing both the lives of people around the world, and the stability of the global economy,” Napolitano said. “The United States is committed to working with our international partners and the private sector to keep this powerful engine of commerce, jobs, and prosperity from being attacked or disrupted.”

In a fast-moving and rapidly internationalizing economy, it's obvious a single nation cannot take upon itself the task of securing all ports, transportation systems, infrastructure, and financial institutions. That seems to be a lesson the US has learned in the last decade with its efforts to curb terrorist actions through military power. Now, the world is entering another era where all economic institutions and transportation systems are potentially at risk. As a result, securing borders and shipments between countries and across international borders is not only necessary but critical to continued transaction between nations.

As part of the new plan, the US wants the WCO to engage, not just its member nations, but also “international bodies and the private sector in increasing the security of the global supply chain,” according to the Department of Homeland Security. This is definitely a better strategy than having one single nation or group of countries shoulder alone the efforts to keep systems safe worldwide.

The new plan calls for the WCO to focus on the following three areas:

  • Preventing terrorists from exploiting the global supply chain to plan and execute attacks
  • Protecting the most critical elements of the supply chain systems, such as transportation hubs and related critical infrastructure, from attacks and disruptions
  • Building the resilience of the global supply chain to ensure that if something does happen, the supply chain can recover quickly

The high-tech sector can definitely benefit from this initiative, because the industry is highly dependent upon a globally dispersed supply chain for the design production and distribution of its goods and services. Furthermore, high-tech companies also make some of the sophisticated gadgets that are now being deployed to secure all elements of the economy and national infrastructures.

No other segment of the international community has more at stake.

3 comments on “US Teams With WCO to Secure Global Supply Chain

  1. DataCrunch
    January 7, 2011

    Hi Bolaji, I hope this initiative is taken seriously and acted upon aggressively rather than just a press announcement.  The systems and processes required to secure our ports are long overdue.  It seems odd that after almost a decade after the 9/11 attacks, we do not have the proper systems in place yet and it seems like only now we will being to design them.  The US should take the lead in this and should have been in a position to export our expertise and technology on port security and supply chain security to other countries at this point.  Better late than never.

  2. t.alex
    January 8, 2011

    This is really good news for the electronics business. It is typical for a product to have many components coming from different countries nowadays. The supply chain will definitely going smoother with the help of WCO.

  3. Barbara Jorgensen
    January 10, 2011

    I hope the US is able to listen to the counsel of other nations that have dealt with security issues. Too frequently it is the government that gets in the way of real progress and the security issue is very politicized. Security should not be an us vs. them issue — it should transcend party lines. Maybe becoming part of a global effort can achieve that.

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