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Cablegate: Spain Concerned with New U.S. Maritime Cargo

VZCZCXYZ0014
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMD #2044/01 3021044
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY AD2349F2 MSI8620-695)
P 291044Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3707
INFO RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 0373
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0126
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 5231
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 0120
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 0237
RUEHBH/AMEMBASSY NASSAU 0362
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 0391

UNCLAS MADRID 002044

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SENSITIVE
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C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EWWT ETRD AMGT PTER SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN CONCERNED WITH NEW U.S. MARITIME CARGO
SCANNING REQUIREMENTS
REF: STATE 119837

1. (SBU) Summary. Although GOS officials are in favor of
increasing security measures at Spanish ports, they are
concerned that their ports will be unable to comply with the
new scanning requirements mandated under Title XVII of the
9/11 Act. Spanish officials have told Post that the
requirement to x-ray 100 percent of U.S.-bound cargo would be
both time and cost prohibitive. In response, EconOff has
drawn from the reftel points, highlighting the President's
desire to ensure the workability of the cargo scanning
provisions in a way that increases homeland security while
ensuring the continuance of vital commerce. GOS officials
have expressed appreciation for the information, but say they
will continue to coordinate with other EU countries to craft
a common stance in opposition to these new requirements. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) Over the past several weeks, officials from Spanish
Customs as well as from the Ministry of Infrastructure and
Public Works' Port Safety Directorate have told Embassy
officers that they are concerned with the feasibility of
implementing the 9/11 Act's cargo scanning provisions,
particularly the requirement to x-ray all of U.S.-bound
cargo. Drawing from Spain's experience with the Container
Security Initiative (CSI), Spanish Customs representatives
have pointed out that the process of x-raying cargo is not a
quick one, and takes several minutes per container to
complete. Given the number of containers that come through
Spanish ports, customs officials believe that the time,
personnel, and equipment needed to identify and x-ray all
U.S.-bound cargo (instead of the targeted screening that
currently takes place in major Spanish ports) would be time
and cost prohibitive.

3. (SBU) Ignacio Gonzalez, Spanish Customs' Assistant
Director for Customs Surveillance, has noted that scanning
for illicit nuclear or other radioactive material would be
logistically more feasible than 100 percent x-raying,
although still a costly endeavor. He explained that with the
purchase of enough Megaports radiation detection portals,
trucks could theoretically drive large volumes of cargo on
their way in and out of ports without significant delays.

4. (SBU) Pedro Roman, Director for Port Security at the
Ministry of Infrastructure, repeated these concerns in a
conversation with EconOff October 24. He stated that all EU
countries were opposed to these measures and that Spain was
in the process of working with the EU to craft a common
stance. He added that he would be participating in EU
discussions on this common position, the next meeting of
which is scheduled in Brussels the week of November 5.

5. (SBU) In response to the various concerns raised, EconOff
has drawn from reftel talking points, noting that in signing
the law, the President stated that he will continue to work
with Congress to ensure the workability of the cargo
screening provisions in a way that increases our vigilance on
homeland security while ensuring the continuance of vital
commerce. EconOff has also noted that the Act provides the
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security the

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flexibility to seek extensions of the 2012 deadline until the
specific conditions necessary for a full deployment can be
met.

6. (SBU) Spanish officials have attempted to clarify that
although the GOS is opposed to the cargo scanning provisions
of this law, it is supportive of the principle of increased
security. Ignacio Gonzalez from Spanish Customs explained to
Embassy officers that GOS is in favor of additional security
measures at Spanish ports, and is seeking to expand the
Megaports initiative to detect illicit radioactive material.
He added that three of the most heavy volume ports in Spain -
Barcelona, Valencia, and Algeciras - were actively
participating in targeted cargo screening efforts undertaken
via the Container Security Initiative (CSI).

7. (SBU) Comment: Post will continue to engage with the GOS
on this issue. So far, the only complaints heard about this
initiative have come from GOS officials, although we expect
members of the local maritime and business community to also
add their views following the October 25 Financial Times

articles on these new measures.
AGUIRRE
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