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In the past few years, Wal-Mart has:
- Opposed the introduction of anti-terrorist "smart containers" and electronic seals for cargo containers coming into U.S. ports. The retail industry called them "feel good (security) measures."
- Opposed independent and regular inspections of supply-chain security practices around the world.
- Opposed tougher rules requiring Wal-Mart to let Customs know what it's shipping in and where it comes from.
- Opposed new container-handling fees to pay for improved port security.
One of the United States' top port security experts, retired Coast Guard Cmdr. Stephen Flynn, puts the cost of helping protect our ports at 0.2 percent of the value of cargo in the containers. The cost to Wal-Mart would be about $36 million -- less than one-third of 1 percent of the $11.2 billion profit the company raked in last year, or several million dollars less than CEO Lee Scott's pay over the past two years.
Twenty-two people were being held early Wednesday after they apparently arrived in a 40-foot cargo container at the Port of Seattle aboard a ship from China, officials said.