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Frequently Asked Questions

 
 
 
 
Headquarters:

210 East Sunrise Highway
Valley Stream, NY  11581

Telephone: (516) 594-9771
Fax: (516) 594-9779
 
 
 
 

C-TPAT FAQ

Here you will find frequently asked questions regarding the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

Questions:

What is Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)?
What kinds of businesses can apply for C-TPAT?
How do eligible companies apply to participate in C-TPAT?
What happens if a company fails to meet the C-TPAT minimum security criteria or guidelines?
Where can I get more information on C-TPAT?
What exactly are CBP expectations for the C-TPAT participant?
Will the information our company provides to C-TPAT be confidential?
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?
What is the overall vision for C-TPAT in the coming months and years?
Is the C-TPAT program a viable consideration for medium or small size companies?

Questions and Answers
What is Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (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.
What kinds of businesses can apply for C-TPAT?
Currently, open enrollment for C-TPAT is available for the following business types related to the U.S. import supply chain cargo handling and movement:
U.S. Importers of record
U.S./Canada Highway Carriers
U.S./Mexico Highway Carriers
Rail Carriers
Sea Carriers
Air Carriers
U.S. Marine Port Authority/Terminal Operators
U.S. Air Freight Consolidators, Ocean Transportation Intermediaries and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC)
Mexican manufacturers
Certain Invited Foreign Manufacturers
Licensed U.S. Customs Brokers
How do eligible companies apply to participate in C-TPAT?
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. 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.
What happens if a company fails to meet the C-TPAT minimum security criteria or guidelines?
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.
Where can I get more information on C-TPAT?
C-TPAT information is maintained on the www.cbp.gov web site.
What exactly are CBP expectations for the C-TPAT participant?
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.
Will the information our company provides to C-TPAT be confidential?
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.
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?
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.
What is the overall vision for C-TPAT in the coming months and years?
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.
Is the C-TPAT program a viable consideration for medium or small size companies?
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.
 
 
 
 
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