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Cablegate: Maritime Container Security Conference in Bremen

VZCZCXRO1785
RR RUEHIK
DE RUEHAG #1289/01 2891045
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161045Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL HAMBURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC
INFO RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HAMBURG 0001289

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CE, EUR/ERA, EEB/TRA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER EWWT TNGD PGOV PREL ECIN ECON ETRD GM
SUBJECT: Maritime Container Security Conference in Bremen

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On September 10 the EU Commission held a
"Conference on Maritime Container Security" in Bremen that focused
on EU and U.S. research aimed at enhancing container traffic and
supply chain security. The event brought together approximately 150
maritime security stakeholders including harbor police, harbor
masters, port authorities, port ministry officials, economists, and
private industry representatives from Germany and abroad. Speakers
included EU Commission Vice-President Guenther Verheugen and DHS
Acting Under Secretary of the Science and Technology Directorate
Bradley I. Buswell. The need for global cooperation was the
dominant theme of the conference, and while 100 percent scanning
legislation was discussed, it did not turn into a contentious issue
at the conference. END SUMMARY.

------------------------------------------
DHS Buswell: DHS Dedicated to International Research Cooperation
--------------------------------------- --

2. (U) DHS Acting Under Secretary Bradley I. Buswell addressed his
directorate's task of delivering homeland security technological
capabilities and highlighted DHS's focus on robust and flexible
technology. Buswell invited technology contributions from abroad
and encouraged international cooperation with his office. Buswell
cited the recent bilateral research agreement between the United
States and Germany, signed by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and
Federal Minister for Education and Research Annette Schavan in March
2009, as evidence of the close and growing U.S.-German cooperation
in the maritime security field.

------------ ---------------------------------------------
EU Position: U.S.-EU Trade Relations Crucial
-------------------------------------- -------------------

3. (U) Vice-President of the EU Commission and Commissioner for
Enterprise and Industry Guenter Verheugen affirmed that with
bilateral trade of over USD 600 billion per year, "the U.S. and no
one else is our strategic partner." Acknowledging the right of the
U.S. Legislature to ensure maritime security, Verheugen -- referring
to the 100 percent scanning requirement although not explicitly--
called for a pragmatic approach and practical solutions to address
threats and develop common strategies, and stressed the EU
Commission's preference for a "risk-based approach" that is not
based solely on technology. Interestingly, Bremen Minister for
Economics and Ports Ralf Nagel, while citing the "enormous costs" of
100 percent scanning, noted that the looming deadline of 2012 for
implementation of that standard actually accelerated research
efforts, calling that "a good thing." European Parliament Member
Christian Ehler argued that mere coordination of container security
efforts will not suffice; cooperation, he said, is needed. Noting
that technology breakthroughs alone are insufficient, he called for
increased efficiency in port operations as an important trade
facilitation instrument.

--------------------------------------------- -------
EU Customs: Concerns About 100 Percent Scanning Costs
--------------------------------------------- -------

4. (U) EU Commission's Director-General for Taxation and Customs,
Walter Deffaa, focused on the costs of 100 percent scanning
implementation. He stated that investment costs in the EU would top
340 million Euros by 2012, and estimated additional annual scanning
technology operating costs of up to 180 million Euros at EU ports.
Deffaa predicted a 10 percent increase of direct container
transportation costs per consignment and said that the aggregated
worldwide welfare loss due to 100 percent scanning would amount to
17 billion Euros annually. Deffaa emphasized that 100 scanning
provides no protection for biological and chemical threats and no
guarantee against post-scanning tampering. He reiterated that the
EU favors a multi-layered risk-based approach to container security.
Deffaa further underscored a need for enhanced international
intelligence cooperation, and called for increased development of
international instruments and open standards (e.g. electronic
seals).

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Since the enactment of the SAFE Port Act, the
vast majority of our maritime contacts have regularly voiced their
concerns about 100 percent scanning. We expected this issue would
feature prominently during this conference. However, apart from
sporadic objections concerning financial implications and the
limited effectiveness critique, the 100 percent scanning requirement
was not outright rejected. Most European speakers emphasized that
the multi-layered risk-based approach remains their preference.
(Note: "Risk-based approach," however, is often code language for
wanting to avoid the 100 percent scanning requirement. End note.)
Calls by EU speakers for transatlantic coordination (e.g.
standardization and mutual recognition of technologies), cooperation
in R&D, and collaboration in devising maritime policies were
recurring themes at the conference. Given the demonstrated level of
commitment to transatlantic coordination, cooperation and
pragmatism, the March 2009 bilateral research agreement between the
U.S. and Germany has the potential to become a model tool in
enhancing container traffic and supply chain security. END
COMMENT.

6. (U) This message has been coordinated with Embassy Berlin.

JOHNSON

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