Every day, staggering numbers of air, land and sea passengers, as well as millions of tons of cargo, move between nations. International trade and commerce has long driven the development of nations and provided unprecedented economic growth. Indeed, our future prosperity depends upon it.
At the same time, threats to trade and travel — whether from explosives hidden in a passenger’s clothing or inside a ship’s cargo, or from a natural disaster — remind us of the need for security and resilience within the global supply chain. A vulnerability or gap in any part of the world has the ability to affect the flow of goods and people thousands of miles away. For instance, just three days after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear tragedies struck Japan last March, U.S. automakers began cutting shifts and idling some plants at home. In the days that followed, they did the same at their factories in more than 10 countries around the world.
Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we also continue to see the determination of individuals and groups to disrupt economies by targeting our transit and cargo systems. Understanding the seriousness of these threats underscores the need for a continued focus on protecting the global supply chain.
Just as important, we must move away from the outdated dichotomy that we have to choose between trade and travel efficiency, and trade and travel security. Security and efficiency must no longer be seen as mutually exclusive. It is possible to enhance security without increasing wait times, creating more paperwork and driving costs higher – and we are doing so already.
As I announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, the United States released a National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security, the product of more than two years of collaboration across the U.S. government, and with international and domestic public and private partners.