WASHINGTON – Today, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the European Commission announced an unprecedented air cargo security partnership with the European Union and Switzerland, paving the way for improved information sharing, stronger security, and more efficient transportation of cargo between the U.S. and the EU. Air cargo traffic between the EU and the U.S. amounts to over a million tons a year travelling each way across the Atlantic, which is over 20% of all outbound air cargo from the EU (2010 figures).
"This agreement with the EU and Switzerland will ease the burden on industry and allow for the free movement of goods and commerce between our nations. It will also strengthen security by ensuring that we share information and work together towards our common interests," said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole.
"With this mutual recognition of our comprehensive and solid regulatory frameworks we create significant savings and simplification for our freight transport industry while maintaining a high standard of security," said Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for transportation.
Effective June 1, TSA and the EU will mutually recognize their respective air cargo security regimes. While TSA has recognized other countries as having equivalent air cargo security, today's announcement marks the first time TSA has recognized a union of nation states. As a consequence of this EU and Switzerland-wide recognition, private industry can move cargo though the 27 EU Member States, the U.S., and Switzerland, while following a single set of security rules. The close cooperation between the European Commission and the TSA over the last few months permitted the air cargo security regimes in place in the EU and the U.S. to be compared in detail and to be confirmed as ensuring an equivalent, high level of security.
Through TSA's National Cargo Security Program (NCSP) recognition process, the agency analyzes the air cargo programs of its international counterparts, and determines if they are comparable to what is required in the United States. Additionally, harmonized air cargo screening allows industry to follow a single program when transporting cargo between nations.