What is c-tpat and why is it important to international trade

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CTPAT Minimum Security Criteria

The New Minimum Security Criteria Updates Now Available.

Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) is but one layer in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) multi-layered cargo enforcement strategy. Through this program, CBP works with the trade community to strengthen international supply chains and improve United States border security. CTPAT is a voluntary public-private sector partnership program which recognizes that CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the principle stakeholders of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. The Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006 provided a statutory framework for the CTPAT program and imposed strict program oversight requirements.

A Growing Partnership

From its inception in November 2001, CTPAT continued to grow. Today, more than 11,400 certified partners spanning the gamut of the trade community, have been accepted into the program. The partners include U.S. importers/exporters, U.S./Canada highway carriers; U.S./Mexico highway carriers; rail and sea carriers; licensed U.S. Customs brokers; U.S. marine port authority/terminal operators; U.S. freight consolidators; ocean transportation intermediaries and non‐operating common carriers; Mexican and Canadian manufacturers; and Mexican long‐haul carriers, all of whom account for over 52 percent (by value) of cargo imported into the U.S.

How CTPAT works

When an entity joins CTPAT, an agreement is made to work with CBP to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. Applicants must address a broad range of security topics and present security profiles that list action plans to align security throughout the supply chain.

CTPAT members are considered to be of low risk, and are therefore less likely to be examined at a U.S. port of entry.

CTPAT Benefits

CTPAT Partners enjoy a variety of benefits, including taking an active role in working closer with the U.S. Government in its war against terrorism. As they do this, Partners are able to better identify their own security vulnerabilities and take corrective actions to mitigate risks. Some of the benefits of the program include:

  • Reduced number of CBP examinations
  • Front of the line inspections
  • Possible exemption from Stratified Exams
  • Shorter wait times at the border
  • Assignment of a Supply Chain Security Specialist to the company
  • Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at the land borders
  • Access to the CTPAT web-based Portal system and a library of training materials
  • Possibility of enjoying additional benefits by being recognized as a trusted trade Partner by foreign Customs administrations that have signed Mutual Recognition with the United States
  • Eligibility for other U.S. Government pilot programs, such as the Food and Drug Administration’s Secure Supply Chain program
  • Business resumption priority following a natural disaster or terrorist attack
  • Importer eligibility to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA)
  • Priority consideration at CBP’s industry-focused Centers of Excellence and Expertise

How Do I Become a Partner?
 

Participation in CTPAT is voluntary and there are no costs associated with joining the program. Moreover, a company does not need an intermediary in order to apply to the program and work with CBP; the application process is easy and it is done online. The first step is for the company to review the CTPAT Minimum Security Criteria for their business entity to determine eligibility for the program. The second step is for the company to submit a basic application via the CTPAT Portal system and to agree to voluntarily participate. The third step is for the company to complete a supply chain security profile. The security profile explains how the company is meeting CTPAT’s minimum security criteria. In order to do this, the company should have already conducted a risk assessment. Upon satisfactory completion of the application and supply chain security profile, the applicant company is assigned a CTPAT Supply Chain Security Specialist to review the submitted materials and to provide program guidance on an on-going basis. The CTPAT program will then have up to 90 days to certify the company into the program or to reject the application. If certified, the company will be validated within a year of certification.

If you have CTPAT issues or questions, please contact your Supply Chain Security Specialist or one of the six CTPAT Field Offices by email at:

Note: Technical issues should be reported via telephone to the national Help Desk at 1-800-927-8729 or via email to [email protected]

 

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When shipping internationally, safety is of the utmost importance. The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a safety measure that the trade industry takes against terrorism. The program, which started in 2001, is a volunteer government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve international supply chain and U.S. border security. Companies can apply to be C-TPAT certified, and customs brokers must let clients know if they are certified or not. The C-TPAT provides an added feature to shipping internationally that gets your cargo to its destination quickly and safely.

How C-TPAT Works

When members of the trade community sign up to be a part of C-TPAT, they enjoy a variety of benefits that make the customs clearance process more effective. More importantly, membership in C-TPAT makes the customs clearance process safer. When the Customs and Border Protections (CBP) knows a particular company is C-TPAT certified, they can reduce the number of examinations. Another benefit includes front of the line inspections. C-TPAT Certification allows importers to take advantage of faster import processing with a secure supply chain. These benefits can be afforded to companies that are C-TPAT certified because the CBP knows that the company has put in the time and effort to make border security a top priority.

How AFC Utilizes C-TPAT

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As a customs broker, AFC International conveys to our business partners that we are a C-TPAT member. Here at AFC International, safety is a top priority. All AFC employees have photo badges which control access to the building and restrict employees to areas specific to their responsibility. AFC managers verify that all documentation being received from our customers are complete, legible, accurate and submitted in a timely manner in accordance to U.S. Customs and Board Protecting regulations. We notify the CBP immediately if illegal activity is suspected.

How to Get C-TPAT Certified

C-TPAT is a voluntary program. A security risk assessment is done to see what kind of security risks the company faces. In addition to the assessment, a supply chain security profile must be completed. Once these steps are completed, a C-TPAT Supply Chain Security Specialist will regularly provide guidance to the company. It can take up to a year for certification.

AFC International is dedicated to ensuring safety to all of our clients in the customs clearance process. When shipping internationally, it is important to work with a customs broker that will guide you with safety on their mind. Here at AFC International, that’s what we do.

Interested in joining the conversation and learning more? Leave us a comment below or chat with us on Twitter.

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The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and What It Means For Your Shipping Business

The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a voluntary program run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The name may be a mouthful, but the program works to make the shipping industry a safer place for everyone involved. Together with some of the major players in the shipping industry, such as importers, carriers, manufacturers, licensed Customs Brokers, and logistics agencies, the CBP works to combat terrorism internationally.

What Exactly Is The C-TPAT Initiative?

The CBP takes its responsibility to enforce border security and fortify international supply chains very seriously. The C-TPAT was originally launched in November 2001 and has grown exponentially since, with over 10,000 certified partners currently engaged in the program. This joint government-business partnership with the trade industry works to minimize security gaps and reduce the risk of terrorism and other dangers. Almost half of the participating members of C-TPAT are importers, as they can help to make the biggest difference to protect the supply chain and execute any necessary security measures.

Who Can Join the C-TPAT?

Almost anyone involved in some aspect of the trade community can be accepted into the C-TPAT program. There are currently 11,400 certified partners that include:

  • Air carriers
  • Consolidators
  • Cross-border highway carriers
  • Marine port authorities
  • Ocean carriers
  • Rail carriers
  • Terminal operators
  • Third-party logistics (3PL) companies

As of yet, the program is still unavailable to exporters. However, the CBP recently published the list of requirements for US exporters so they can officially participate in the program. In time, the C-TPAT initiative will expand to exporters as well.

Why Join the C-TPAT?

In addition to helping maintain the integrity of the trade industry and the shipping community everywhere, joining the C-TPAT can be beneficial for your company. Accepted members can enjoy a reduction in some fees, an increase in the speed of freight, and shortened wait times. Other potential benefits include:

  • Right to use the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes at land borders.
  • Priority processing and the ability to skip inspections lines whenever possible.
  • Fewer delays and short wait times at land and ocean borders.
  • Access to C-TPAT Status Verification Interface.
  • Assignment of a C-TPAT Supply Chain Security Specialist (SCSS) to your company.
  • Reduced CBP inspections and exemptions from Stratified Exams (SEs).
  • Potential eligibility to partake in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA).

Shaping the Shipping Industry

Keeping the trade community safe from terrorist threats and other safety concerns is incredibly important for everyone involved, including consumers. Without a secure supply chain, the shipping industry can see a hindrance to successful operations. By default, this can trickle down and affect customers that rely on imported goods to thrive.

As a certified global logistics company and a proud member of C-TPAT, we offer a wide range of services, including ocean shipping services, warehousing and distribution, and licensed Customs Brokers. Contact us at 1-877-776-6799 to receive your quote today!

Written by Jane