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India questions US legislation on scanning all imports

About 30 countries from the Asia-Pacific region including India, have voiced concern over an US law requiring all containers destined for the United States to be scanned.

PTI|
Apr 17, 2008, 09.00 PM IST
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NEW DELHI: About 30 countries from the Asia-Pacific region including India, have voiced concern over an US law requiring all containers destined for the United States to be scanned, saying present customs provisions are sufficient to meet any security threat.

"We have decided to raise the issue at the next meeting of World Customs Organisation (WCO), scheduled to held in Brussles in February next year," Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Chairman P C Jha told reporters after the 12th World Customs Organisation's Asia-Pacific region meeting.

About 80 customs administrators from 30 countries across the region gathered to deliberate on the implications of the US law besides other issues.

The US legislation stipulates that by 2012 every container on a ship destined for a US port from any foreign country must be scanned by imaging equipment. However, the law does not require containers on ships leaving the United States going to other country to be scanned in the same way.

Trade between the two countries stood at about $41 billion in 2006, which included about $24 billion export from India.

India is the current Vice-Chair of the region since June 2006, for a period of two years.

Jha said at the meeting it has been decided to protest through WCO against the US legislation that would result in additional costs to install scanners and other infrastructure at the ports, besides hassles for the customs and companies exporting to the US.

WCO represents 172 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively processes about 98 per cent of the world trade.
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