"In today's world, the public will have no tolerance for the country, hub port, or company that facilitates or allows, even unwittingly, the shipment of an item that enables the next attack on civilians or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Bhatia said.
Bhatia's comments were made at a conference hosted by the Royal Thai Government, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State, and the U.S. Customs Service. U.S. and Thai Senior government officials and private sector executives addressed trade security and nonproliferation export controls for transshipment hubs in Southeast Asia. The conference included participants from the governments of every major transshipment country in East and Southeast Asia and senior representatives from over 30 corporations and trade associations.
To address the threat that certain sensitive items could be illegally obtained by end-users of concern, including terrorists or the countries that support them, the Commerce Department has launched a Transshipment Country Export Control Initiative (TECI). The TECI is a multi-faceted, cooperative initiative that seeks to strengthen the trade compliance and export control practices of government and industry in major transshipment hubs. Under the TECI, Commerce is working with key transshipment countries to strengthen export control systems, cooperation, and enforcement. Commerce also is enlisting assistance from companies involved in the transport of sensitive items through these transshipment hubs and major consignees and end-users located in these hubs.
"We look forward to making real progress and achieving real goals in tackling this problem jointly, cooperatively, and on an international basis," Bhatia said.