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Cablegate: Codel Clyburn Hears 100-Percent Scanning Concerns

VZCZCXRO3295
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHGP #0060/01 0160909
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160909Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4736
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2720
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2096
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0798
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0511
RUEHMS/AMEMBASSY MUSCAT 0011
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4188
RUEHTG/AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA 0024
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1418
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6324
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0088
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC
RUEAORC/US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION WASHINGTON DC//INA//

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SINGAPORE 000060

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

H FOR CODEL CLYBURN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EWWT ETTC ECON ETRD SN
SUBJECT: CODEL CLYBURN HEARS 100-PERCENT SCANNING CONCERNS
FROM GOS OFFICIALS

REF: A. 06 SINGAPORE 2150
B. 06 SINGAPORE 2205

SINGAPORE 00000060 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) Summary: Singapore officials told a Congressional
delegation led by Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) that new U.S.
legislation requiring 100-percent scanning of U.S.-bound
cargo could potentially disrupt Singapore's port operations
and global trade. They noted the lack of available
technologies to efficiently scan cargo. Combined with
unknown cost and liability implications, this latest port
security initiative could "nullify risk-based approaches"
like CSI and C-TPAT that also play a valuable role, and
"total supply chain security," which Singapore favors. Rep.
Clyburn said that Congress was sensitive to the cost and
trade implications of 100-percent scanning, but that it felt
it must also address a major vulnerability in our homeland
defense. Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Rep.
Bennie Thompson (D-MS) acknowledged there may be a need to
"tweak" our efforts as it becomes clear what approaches are
most effective. Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) expressed his
assurances that Congress could provide incentives for
partners like Singapore that implemented strong port security
measures. During a separate lunch at the Istana, Prime
Minister Lee agreed with Codel members that China could do
more to improve human rights and religious freedom, and to
tackle problems such as pollution and inadequate protection
of intellectual property, but that overall progress would be
slow. End summary.

2. (U) Rep. Clyburn led a six-member Congressional
delegation to Singapore January 8-9. In addition to Rep.
Thompson and Rep. Wamp, he was accompanied by Rep. Ed Pastor
(D-AZ), Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC), and Rep. G. K. Butterfield
(D-NC). During a half-day of meetings, the Codel attended a
lunch hosted by Prime Minister LEE Hsien Loong, along with
Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar, Foreign Minister George
Yeo, and Minister for Trade and Industry LIM Hng Kiang. The
Codel, together with Minister for Transport Raymond Lim, also
visited Singapore's port facilities.

Support for U.S. Port Security Initiatives
------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) A Singapore government interagency team led by
Ministry of Transport (MOT) Permanent Secretary CHOI Shing
Kwok briefed Codel Clyburn on Singapore's port operations and
its efforts and approach on port security. Choi explained
that he was conducting the briefing in his capacity as the
chairman of an interagency committee on Total Supply Chain
(TSC) Security, which is Singapore's preferred approach to
ensuring the security of container shipping globally. He
emphasized that Singapore shares USG concerns about ensuring
the security of container traffic, and thus had become an
early participant in U.S. programs, including the Container
Security Initiative (CSI), the Customs-Trade Partnership
Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), the Megaports Initiative, and the
Secure Freight Initiative (SFI), which is slated for
implementation in mid 2008.

But Concerns About 100-Percent Scanning
---------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Choi and other GOS officials in the briefing
expressed concern about new U.S. legislation requiring
100-percent scanning of U.S.-bound cargo by July 2012 on
ports such as Singapore and on global trade. They explained
that Singapore's status as the world's busiest container port
was due to its efficiency, that it operates in a highly
competitive environment, and that more than 80 percent of its
traffic is transshipped cargo. There is currently no
technology that can efficiently scan transshipped cargo, they
observed. Singapore's concerns with 100-percent scanning

SINGAPORE 00000060 002.2 OF 003


include its likely disruption of transshipped cargo handling,
its cost and liability implications, the fact that pilot
programs to assess the likely effect, including SFI, have not
been completed, and that it "nullifies risk-based approaches"
like CSI and C-TPAT.

Don't Neglect Risk-Based Approaches
-----------------------------------

5. (SBU) Choi emphasized Singapore's preference for
risk-based approaches, in which stakeholders all along the
supply chain are held responsible for ensuring security.
Advantages of such an approach include reinforcing the need
for security at every "node" and less duplication of effort.
Suppliers that enforce strong security measures and standards
and who establish a good track record are rewarded with
expedited handling of shipments. Choi described various
Singapore initiatives, including the Secure Trade Partnership
(e.g., C-TPAT) and its sponsorship of a Trade Recovery
Program (TRP) within APEC to deal with the aftermath of a
major terrorist attack. Comparing disadvantages, he said
risk-based approaches require more international coordination
to build the necessary "networks," while 100-percent scanning
requires the development of expensive technologies whose
effectiveness is not always known. He urged that Congress
recognize both approaches as legitimate means to achieve the
same goal.

Incentives and Integration Needed
---------------------------------

6. (SBU) Singapore Ambassador to the United States Chan Heng
Chee urged the Codel to provide incentives for those who sign
on to U.S. initiatives. She noted that those who signed on
to CSI were supposed to have benefited from access to customs
"green lanes" in U.S. ports, but that this type of "reward"
had never been implemented. Ambassador and Special Consultant
Mary Seet-Cheng called for better reconciliation of various
USG port security programs, noting that the lack of
integration created confusion and additional costs.

100-Percent Scanning Essential
------------------------------

7. (SBU) Rep. Clyburn thanked Choi for Singapore's strong
cooperation on port security and for the comprehensive
briefing on its complex port operations. As Chairman of the
Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Thompson provided
background on HB1, which included the 100-percent scanning
provision. He said Congress was sensitive to the cost and
trade implications of 100-percent scanning and the need to
develop better technologies. At the same time, Congress felt
it had to address a major vulnerability in our homeland
defense. Rep. Thompson noted that if terrorists exploited
this vulnerability to launch a dirty bomb attack, for
example, the economic fallout would be dramatic and the
public reaction would radically "compress" the July 2012
deadline. He thanked Singapore for its strong cooperation
and acknowledged there may be a need to "tweak" our efforts
as it becomes clear what approaches are most effective.
Underscoring his concern about a nuclear event, Rep. Wamp
said 100-scanning was essential. In addition, it was
relatively easy for Congress to provide incentives for
partners such as Singapore that implemented strong port
security measures.

8. (SBU) Minister of Transport Raymond Lim joined at the end
of the briefing and then led the Codel on a tour of
Singapore's Pasir Panjang Terminal, including the Megaports
and CSI scanning operations.

Lunch with Prime Minister Lee

SINGAPORE 00000060 003.2 OF 003


-----------------------------

9. (SBU) At a lunch that Prime Minister Lee hosted for the
Codel, the PM observed that China had benefited enormously
from opening up its economy since the late 1970s and that
increasing free trade would eventually lead to a freer
society as well. He agreed with Rep. Wamp that China needed
to do more to promote human rights and religious freedom, and
to grapple with growing problems such as environmental
degradation and rampant disregard for intellectual property
rights. However, improvements in these and other areas would
take time. Without free trade, China would be much bigger
headache today. China will move forward whether or not the
United States helps it, PM Lee concluded.

10. (U) Codel Clyburn did not have an opportunity to clear
this message.

Visit Embassy Singapore's Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/singapore/ind ex.cfm
SHIELDS

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