DHS commits to trade security

DHS pledges more FAST lanes and container security initiatives

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Admiral James Loy reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to expand both its port and cargo security initiatives and its cross-border Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program given the beefed up $41.1 billion 2006 DHS budget proposed by the President.

This marks a 7% jump over the fiscal year 2005 budget.

“Currently there are U.S. Customs inspectors in 34 international ports of trade working alongside our allies to target and screen high-risk cargo before it reaches our shores,” according to Loy’s prepared statement for the Border Trade Alliance Annual Conference. “The 2006 budget allocates $138.8 million more to this effort.”

Additionally, Loy pledged to ease commercial truck traffic along the U.S.-Mexico border as seven more FAST ports are slated to go up “in the coming months.”

“We currently clear 15% of our bilateral trade through these dedicated lanes,” said Loy. “We want the percentage to increase significantly in the next year.”

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