WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs Service inspectors will soon begin screening U.S.-bound cargo before it leaves South Korea, according to an agreement penned Friday between the two countries.
The pact is part of a Bush administration antiterrorism strategy to deploy Customs officials at major global ports in an attempt to prevent weaponry from being smuggled in cargo containers.
South Korea’s participation at its port of Busan comes amid increased tensions between North and South Korea and the U.S.
Called the Container Security Initiative, the U.S. has signed up eight countries and 14 ports thus far, all among the busiest 20 ports in terms of U.S.-bound cargo volume.
South Korea is a medium-size source of apparel and textiles for the U.S., shipping year-to-date 4 percent of apparel imported into the U.S. and 6.5 percent of textiles.