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Retailers urge congress to support cargo scanning pilot program

Feb '07
The National Retail Federation urged a Senate Committee to reject efforts to attach a proposal for 100 percent overseas scanning of U.S.-bound cargo to legislation implementing 9/11 Commission recommendations, saying lawmakers instead should support a scanning pilot program already approved by Congress last year.

"This provision is unnecessary, unworkable, a poor use of limited resources and would threaten serious harm to global commerce and the U.S. economy," NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations Steve Pfister said. "There is simply no need to revisit this issue. Rather than rushing through an ill-considered container scanning requirement, we need to let
the provisions in the SAFE Port Act work."

Pfister's comments came in a letter to Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine, and other members of the committee. The panel is expected to begin work soon on a Senate version of legislation passed by the House last month to implement most of the remaining anti-terrorism recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission.

The House version of the bill would go beyond the 9/11 Commission's recommendations by requiring within the next five years that 100 percent of U.S.-bound cargo be scanned before leaving foreign ports. NRF has supported efforts to improve cargo security, but Pfister noted that cargo scanning was not one of the recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission.

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