BYLINE: BY R.G. EDMONSON
It's hard to imagine terrorists sneaking a weapon of mass destruction into a container of New Zealand apples, but New Zealand is taking no chances. Perishables dominate the country's trade with the U.S., and to keep the containers moving seamlessly, the New Zealand Customs Service has instituted security measures above and beyond what's done in most countries.
"We've arguably got the longest supply chains in the world," said Allen Bruford, customs counsel with New Zealand's embassy in Washing-ton. "We have a very positive engagement around anything that would make our trade low-risk. It would impact our market access if wasn't seen to be that way."
New Zealand Customs' cargo security programs track containers from the point of stuffing to the point of export. Officials analyze cargo for risks and share the data with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It's no coincidence that New Zealand's efforts are similar to the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. As a result, the island nation may be among the first in the world to reach "mutual recognition" status with the U.S. for C-TPAT.
"We're very close to mutual recognition with …