Following the European Parliament’s recent initiatives to improve European-U.S. cooperation on data privacy and toward reaching an agreement on General Principles of Data Protection, a discussion was convened with a delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, headed by The Hon. Jonathan Evans, Chairman of the Delegation for Relations with the U.S. James Halpert, Partner at DLA Piper served as the moderator. Members of the delegation, including Frieda Brepoels, Patrick Gaubert, Luis Herrero-Tejedor, Sophie in’t Veld, Piia-Nora Kauppi, Berès Prevench and Baroness Sarah Ludford, expressed the need for stronger transatlantic dialogue on data protection, particularly their concerns about SWIFT and PNR information exchange within a common framework for the safeguard of personal information in an environment of heightened security. The U.S. perspective was presented by Peter Chase, Director, Office of European Union and Regional Affairs, U.S. Department of State and Matthew McCabe, Counsel, House Committee on Homeland Security. They expressed their belief that a solution can be found on oversight discussions, as the U.S. and EU share similar values.
The Hon. László Kovács, Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, and Robert Verrue, Director General for Taxation and Customs Union at the European Commission, reviewed current initiatives in supply chain security, the effects on international trade and the prospects for transatlantic cooperation. The bill proposed by the U.S. Congress requiring the scanning of 100% of containers entering U.S. ports became the focus of the discussion. Referring to the technical difficulty of this task, its negative impact on commerce, as well as on transatlantic relations, participants concurred that 100% scanning was neither practical nor cost-efficient given the available technology and the volume of shipments to the U.S. Commissioner Kovacs concluded that mutual recognition and bilateral cooperation is needed in addressing these critical security issues. The involvement of the private sector was also a key to developing a sound container security agreement. Participants included Mandy Bowers, Professional Staff Member, Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives; and Peter Verga, Principal Deputy, Homeland Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, who offered the U.S. perspective. Evelyn Suarez, a partner at the law firm of Williams Mullen moderated the meeting.
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