C-TPAT

C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT recognizes that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. Through this initiative, CBP is asking businesses to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate and verify the security guidelines of their business partners within the supply chain.
C-TPAT offers trade-related businesses an opportunity to play an active role in the war against terrorism. By participating in this first worldwide supply chain security initiative, companies will ensure a more secure and expeditious supply chain for their employees, suppliers and customers. Beyond these essential security benefits, CBP will offer benefits to certain certified C-TPAT member categories, including:
A reduced number of CBP inspections (reduced border delay times)
Priority processing for CBP inspections. (Front of the Line processing for inspections when possible.)
Assignment of a C-TPAT Supply Chain Security Specialist (SCSS) who will work with the company to validate and enhance security throughout the company's international supply chain.
Potential eligibility for CBP Importer Self-Assessment program (ISA) with an emphasis on self-policing, not CBP audits.
Eligibility to attend C-TPAT supply chain security training seminars.
CBP recognizes that a safe and secure supply chain is the most critical part of our work in keeping our country safe. For this reason, CBP is seeking a strong anti-terrorism partnership with the trade community through C-TPAT. Trade partners will have a commitment to both trade security and trade compliance rooted in their business practices. CBP wants to work closely with companies whose good business practices ensure supply chain security and compliance with trade laws.
CBP encourages all companies to take an active role in promoting supply chain and border security. C-TPAT is not just a big-company program. Medium and small companies may want to evaluate the requirements and benefits of C-TPAT carefully in deciding whether to apply for the program. Moreover, even without official participation in C-TPAT, companies should still consider employing C-TPAT guidelines in their security practices.
For more information
Contact Industry Partnership Programs at (202) 344-1180 or fax (202) 344-2626 or email us, at industry.partnership@dhs.gov
Frequent Questions and Answers concerning CTPAT:

Q. How do eligible companies apply to participate in C-TPAT?
A. Businesses must apply to participate in C-TPAT. Participants complete an online electronic application on www.cbp.gov that includes submission of corporate information, a supply chain security profile, and an acknowledgement of an agreement to voluntarily participate. In completing the supply chain security profile, companies must conduct a comprehensive self-assessment of their supply chain security procedures using the C-TPAT security criteria or guidelines jointly developed by CBP and the trade community for their specific enrollment category. ( Online Application for C-TPAT ) The criteria or guidelines, available for review on the CBP website, encompass the following areas: Business Partner Requirements, Procedural Security, Physical Security, Personnel Security, Education and Training, Access Controls, Manifest Procedures, Information Security, and Conveyance Security.

Q. How are the trade participation categories selected?
A. CBP is responsible for screening all import cargo transactions. Utilizing risk management principles, C-TPAT seeks to enroll compliant low-risk companies who are directly responsible for importing, transporting, and coordinating commercial import cargo into the United States. The goal is to identify compliant trusted import traders who have good supply chain security procedures and controls to reduce screening of their imported cargo. In turn, this enables CBP to focus screening efforts on import cargo transactions involving unknown or high-risk import traders.

Q. What happens if a company fails to meet the C-TPAT minimum security criteria or guidelines?
A. Failure to meet C-TPAT commitments will result in suspension or removal of C-TPAT certification status and associated benefits. Benefits may be reinstated upon correcting identified deficiencies in compliance and/or security.

Q. What exactly are CBP expectations for the C-TPAT participant?
A. To make a commitment toward the common goal of creating a more secure and efficient supply chain through partnership. CBP understands that it has entered a new era and requires the assistance of private industry to ensure increased vigilance throughout the supply chain. CBP recognizes that just as it protects the trade and our borders, businesses must ensure that their brands, employees, and customers are protected to the best of their abilities.

Q. Will the information our company provides to C-TPAT be confidential?
A. All information on supply chain security submitted by companies applying for the C-TPAT program will be confidential. CBP will not disclose a company's participation in C-TPAT.

Q. As a company, we are very interested in C-TPAT but we are not interested in spending a lot of money or increasing our liabilities if something goes wrong. Is it still possible to participate in C-TPAT?
A. The decision to join C-TPAT is voluntary. Not all companies may be in a position to meet C-TPAT minimum security criteria or guidelines.
All eligible companies that import into the U.S. or provide import cargo movement or handling services should assess their supply chain security procedures to determine if they can qualify. CBP intent is to not impose security requirements that will be cost prohibitive. For this reason, we worked in concert with the trade community in developing security criteria and guidelines that reflect a realistic business perspective. Potential C-TPAT participants may find that they already have many of these guidelines in place.
C-TPAT is also not intended to create any new 'liabilities' for companies beyond existing trade laws and regulations. However, joining C-TPAT will commit companies to follow through on actions specified in the signed agreement. These actions include self-assessing security systems, submitting security questionnaires, developing security enhancement plans, and communicating C-TPAT guidelines to companies in the supply chain. If a company fails to uphold its C-TPAT commitments, CBP would take action to suspend benefits or cancel participation.

Q. How will the partnership work on an ongoing basis?
A. Upon satisfactory completion of the C-TPAT Online application and supply chain security profile, participants will be assigned a CBP C-TPAT Supply Chain Security Specialist (SCSS). A SCSS will contact the participant to begin the C-TPAT validation process.
C-TPAT on-Line available by visiting:
http://www.cbp.gov/CTPAT