"At the moment, European airlines have to seek cargo security approval on both sides of the Atlantic," said AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus. "We are calling on U.S. regulators to accept Europe's robust security standards as equal to their own. This will simplify processes for airlines and remove unnecessary duplication."
A significant volume of air freight - 9 percent of the worldwide total - is carried over the North Atlantic. Mutual recognition would streamline this essential trade flow, while maintaining the highest possible security levels.
"We are encouraged that a number of EU states have recently signed bilateral cargo recognition agreements with the USA, but this must serve as a concrete foundation towards our final goal: a single, comprehensive EU-U.S. deal," he said.
Over recent months, Finland, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK have finalised cargo recognition agreements with the USA and several more are under way.
"Once we have a critical build-up of U.S. approvals, an EU-wide deal will be a simple next step. These audits should give the USA confirmation, if it is really needed, that European regulators take air cargo security extremely seriously," said Schulte-Strathaus.
Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano presented a "National Strategy for Supply Chain Security" signed by President Barack Obama.
The report urged nations and industry leaders to cooperate and submit thoughts and recommendations on such matters as methods to share information, streamline processes and synchronise standards and procedures.
It came after the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) deadline of December 31, 2011 to screen 100 percent of all cargo from U.S.-bound passenger aircraft was put on hold. No explanation was given for the delay, although some have suggested that one of the reasons was the shift in strategy towards a risk-based intelligence-driven methodology for overall security efforts.
At present, European airlines have to abide by European air cargo security rules as well as U.S .rules once the airlines enter U.S. territory.
Source: British International Freight Association
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