Summary: This guidebook outlines the key elements and benefits of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program that is designed to secure global supply chains and to improve United States border security. Document is available at: https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/C-TPAT%20Program%20Benefits%20Guide.pdf (link tested on 3 March 2016)
Full review: C-TPAT partners receive a wide range of benefits listed below:
- C-TPAT Partners are examined at a considerably lower rate than non-C-TPAT Partners.
- C-TPAT certified/validated highway carrier Partners are granted expedited border crossing privileges. C-TPAT Partners at many Canada/Mexico land border ports of entry have access to Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes.
- Some categories of C-TPAT importer Partners are exempt from stratified exams.
- C-TPAT shipments subject to examination are moved ahead of any non-C-TPAT shipments, to the extent possible.
- In the event of a significant disruption/delay in cargo processing operations, actions are taken to maintain communication and coordination with C-TPAT Partners for business resumption.
- C-TPAT Partners’ trade compliance issues are given priority over those issues related to non-C-TPAT Partners.
- Each C-TPAT Partner is assigned a Supply Chain Security Specialist (SCSS) who coordinates between the C-TPAT Partner and the US Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP). The Specialist also assists the Partner with supply chain security issues.
- Partners have access to the C-TPAT’s automated Portal system, to communicate with CBP and exchange program related information in a secure manner.
- C-TPAT Partners are eligible to attend C-TPAT events like the annual Conference and other training seminars organized by the program.
- C-TPAT importer Partners are eligible to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) Program.
- The Penalty Mitigation benefit is granted to sea carriers for late submission of data required under the Importer Security Filing requirements.
- C-TPAT members are eligible to participate in other U.S. Government pilot programs, such as the Food and Drug Administration’s Secure Supply Chain program.
In addition, some benefits are associated with Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) when two customs authorities formally acknowledge the security requirements or standards of one program, as being equivalent to the other program. Some of the resulting benefits to the trade community are illustrated below:
- C-TPAT importer Partners that also conduct export operations and Partners of the foreign Customs Administration programs (manufacturers and exporters of record) are granted a reduction in their overall cargo risk score, implying fewer examinations at export and import ports.
- A C-TPAT validation for an overseas partner is not required if an MRA is in place because CBP recognizes the status of the Partner in the foreign partnership program.
- Companies covered by MRAs need only to comply with a common set of security requirements, avoiding the hassle of following multiple sets of requirements from one partnership program to another.
- MRAs lead to more transparency in international commerce. Mutual exchange of information between these partners facilitates trade across Mutual Recognition Partner nations.