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Cablegate: New U.S. Law On Maritime Cargo Scanning Requirements

VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #3044 2530541
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 100541Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8167

UNCLAS MANILA 003044

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EWWT AMGT PTER RP
SUBJECT: NEW U.S. LAW ON MARITIME CARGO SCANNING REQUIREMENTS

REF: STATE 119837

1. Econ officers presented reftel talking points to Philippine
Bureau of Customs Attorney James F. Enriquez and Attorney. Ramon G.
Cuyco on 8/29. Econ officers also sent letters to American
President Line, Maersk Line and the Association of International
Shipping Lines.

2. The initial response of Philippine Customs was to inquire what
assistance the U.S. will provide to meet the new law requirements.
They predicted difficulties implementing this new law, since not all
Philippine ports have scanning equipment and thought it may be
necessary to consolidate containers at Manila ports. The
Association expressed concern about extra costs and lost time.

3. Maurice McKeating, Managing Director of American President Lines
Philippines quoted the public comment of the World Shipping Council
that the scanning plan 'fails to address critical questions about
how such a system would actually operate.'

4. The Department of Energy's Megaports Initiative provided Manila
Ports with radiation portal monitors and handheld equipment to
prevent illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive
materials. Alarm stations were also set up at both Manila ports.
Currently Philippine Customs is reluctant to staff the alarm
stations and portal monitors.
While customs states that there is a lack of qualified officers to
operate the equipment, we believe that the real reason is because
this operation does not generate revenue.

5. Post will report any additional significant reply.

#KENNEY

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