Release Date: 08 August 2006
Release ID: 598
(UK, 19 July 2006).BIFA Director-General, Colin Beaumont, has written to Prime Minister Tony Blair to demand that the current extradition treaty with the United States is repealed immediately, due to the fact it is being used by the US to export their laws when they perceive that some form of commercial irregularity exists.
It is BIFA’s view that freight forwarders by the nature of their business could have significant exposure to penalties under US law and be totally unaware of it. One example might be forwarders making a declaration to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) under the New Export System over the Internet. An Internet declaration requires a digital certificate and one company who supplies this is Equifax whose contract forwarders must sign up to is based on US law and jurisdiction. In the United States, exports to Syria and Iran for example are banned but not in the UK. A simple export declaration could bring a forwarder into conflict with US law under the Equifax contract. Declarations under the Advanced Manifest System for consignments destined for the United States may also create a risk.
“I have alerted the Prime Minister to the very real threat to UK businesses in our sector” said Colin Beaumont. “We are clearly not alone in expressing our concerns but freight forwarders by definition arguably have greater exposure than most.”
Many BIFA Members have strong US connections or may be owned by US companies. BIFA believes that in these circumstances its Members should be taking steps to ensure they minimise their risks until the threat is eliminated.
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