National retailers applaud SAFE Port Act

Published 16 October 2006

Signed into law last week, the final language excludes foreign port screening requirement; retailers feared increased costs without a measurable increase in security; compromise that mandates U.S. port screening welcomed by trade association

After much consternation and delay, President Bush has finally signed the SAFE Port Act, establishing a $400 million annual port security grant program and codifying existing port security programs such as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). Most importantly, however, the bill did not include language requiring all foreign ports to comply with rigid cargo screening regulations, and for that the National Retail Federation (NRT) is extremely pleased. Such a measure, NRT believed, was not only impractical, but it would also drive up the cost of shipping to a level the market could not bear. Instead, the U.S. will move ahead with a plan to implement nearly 100 percent screening at American ports, an endeavor much easier to undertake.

This new law strikes a good balance between addressing security needs and ensuring that legitimate cargo can continue to flow freely through our ports without impeding commerce or the economy,” NRF vice president and international trade counsel Erik Autor said. “American retailers include some of the nation’s largest shippers and strongly support security initiatives to safeguard our country from the introduction of dangerous weapons and persons while also protecting retailers’ supply chains and brand names.”

-read more in this NRT news release