SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Has Enhanced Its Partnership with Import Trade Sectors, but Challenges Remain in Verifying Security Practices, GAO, April 2008 (CORE1011)

Summary: The GAO report discusses the progress the Customs and Border Protection (CPB), a component agency of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has made since 2015 with its flagship business-private supply chain security program Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). The report focuses on three main areas of the C-TPAT’s management and governance: (1) awarding benefits for the C-TPAT compliant companies, (2) validating the member companies’ security compliance and (3) addressing CBP’s staffing challenges that the increasing popularity of the C-TPAT program brings. The report recommends CPB to improve its C-TPAT validation processes and instruments and to establish performance criteria for assessing the program’s impact on supply chain security and trade facilitation. The C-TPAT program and this GAO report contain useful information for the CORE’s demonstrations that import goods into the US. Also the CORE’s risk cluster can learn about opportunities and challenges a voluntary, risk-based supply chain security entails. The report is available at

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Full review: This report contains information that is particularly useful for two CORE demonstrators that cover US imports. The first WP9 demonstration is about shipping automobile parts from the EU to the US via the port of Bremerhaven. In this demo, the General Motors (GM) is the importer. Because GM holds a C-TPAT certificate, most of the information this report offers about the status and challenges of the C-TPAT program must be of interest for the company and for its CORE demonstration. The same applies to the WP14 demonstration “FALACUS” that is about importing ceramic tiles from Italy to the US via the Port of La Spezia. The demonstration has to deal with the C-TPAT program, and therefore the demo partners’ might benefit from studying this GAO report. In addition to the demonstrations, this report might support the work of the CORE’s risk cluster because the document discusses in detail challenges and possibilities of a voluntary, risk-based supply chain security program, which builds on business-government collaboration.


Supply Chain Security: Examinations of High-Risk Cargo at Foreign Seaports Have Increased, but Improved Data Collection and Performance Measures Are Needed. GAO-08-187. Washington, D.C.: January 25, 2008.

Maritime Security: The SAFE Port Act and Efforts to Secure Our Nation’s Seaports. GAO-08-86T. Washington, D.C.: October 4, 2007.

Maritime Security: Observations on Selected Aspects of the SAFE Port Act. GAO-07-754T. Washington, D.C.: April 26, 2007.

Combating Nuclear Smuggling: Additional Actions Needed to Ensure Adequate Testing of Next Generation Radiation Detection Equipment. GAO-07-1247T. Washington, D.C.: September 18, 2007.

Cargo Container Inspections: Preliminary Observations on the Status of Efforts to Improve the Automated Targeting System. GAO-06-591T. Washington, D.C.: March 30, 2006.

Additional keywords: Border security, customs-trade partnership against terrorism (C-TPAT), supply chain security, counter-terrorism



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