US travelers transiting through Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport are to be exempt from having their checked baggage screened after the two nations exchanged letters of intent on one-stop security cooperation, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said in a statement yesterday.
The letters were exchanged by American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) Washington Trade and Commercial Programs Director Rick Ruzicka and Deputy Representative to the US Louis Huang (黃敏境) at a ceremony at the AIT’s headquarters in Washington on Tuesday.
The event was witnessed by Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Huang Yu-lin (黃玉霖) and US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Executive Adviser to the US Department of State Eric Sarandrea.
Photo courtesy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US
The exchange of letters of intent would facilitate flight transfers for US travelers and greatly enhance Taoyuan airport’s efficiency in serving transit passengers, the ministry said, adding that it is also a milestone in aviation security cooperation between the two nations.
TSA and Civil Aeronautics Administration officials have since March last year been cooperating to implement a one-stop security program for people transiting at Taoyuan from San Francisco International Airport or Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to exempt passengers’ checked baggage from screening.
Since the policy produced great results, the agencies began to discuss the possibility of including travelers from other US airports in the program, the ministry said.
Prior to the exchange ceremony, Louis Huang and AIT Washington Managing Director John Norris had signed an agreement on the expansion of the one-stop security program, it added.
The nation is also seeking to participate in the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance project, the ministry said, adding that it would soon file an application to enter the project and conduct negotiations with US officials after CBP makes public the application procedures and criteria.
If Taoyuan airport is listed as a preclearance location, it would benefit anyone traveling from Taoyuan to the US or transiting through the nation, as they would not need to undergo a second CBP inspection upon arrival in the US, the ministry said, adding that this would help the travel industries in both nations.
Currently, Taiwanese traveling to or transiting through the US must have all of their luggage inspected at their airport of first entry before proceeding to their final destination.
The preclearance project excludes cargo shipments and focuses solely on passenger processing, which includes anything a traveler owns and is bringing with them to the US, such as their luggage, clothing, souvenirs, currency or other personal effects, according to the CBP Web site.
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