Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism

Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

In this guide, you will find all information you need to know about customs trade partnership against terrorism (CTPAT).

You will learn how it is enforced, where and when.

Besides, you will also learn why it is important.

So, if you want to learn more about CTPAT, continue reading.

What is CTPAT?

Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) is a type of multilayer enforcement strategy of the United States used by the Custom Border Protection (CBP).

The purpose of this program is unifying supply chains internationally and work towards the security at the border of the United States.

CTPAT is public sector partnership program which is voluntary and affirms the efforts made by the Customs Border Protection in ensuring shipment security.

They are able to carry out this task by close relationships with partners in the logistics industry such as consolidators, freight forwarders, and custom agents who are licensed.

Why is CTPAT Important in International Trade?

When shipping internationally, the most important factor to consider is safety.

CTPAT is the safety measure put in place for protection against terrorism in international trade.

This program which is a volunteer government-business initiative has over time created cooperative relationships which have improved international supply chain.

CTPAT has also been able to improve the security at the United States Border.

CTPAT has also an additional feature to international shipping by ensuring cargo arrives faster and safe to the destination.

Benefits of CTPAP

Benefits of CTPAT

Why was CTPAT Created?

CTPAT was created to strengthen border security and the security of the entire supply chain at the same time facilitating the conductions of trade that is legitimate.

Which Agency Regulates CTPAT?

CTPAT is regulated by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

It is aimed at enhancing the security of the logistics networks of private companies with respect to terrorism.

Companies which achieve certification of CTPAT must possess a documented process to ascertain and avoid risks throughout the process of supply chain.

This gives room for companies to be viewed as low risk, leading to faster processing of their shipment and examinations at customs.

How Does CTPAT Work?

When an entity joins CTPAT, they enter into an agreement to work with CBP to:

  • Offer protection to the logistic companies.
  • Implement specific measures and best practices of security.
  • Identify gaps in the security.

Applicants of CTPAT should be able to take care of several topics of security and provide a profile of security that show plans of actions.

This action plans should organize security in the entire supply chain.

Members of CTPAT are not always examined at the United States port of entry as they are of low risk.

Who Can Join CTPAT?

There are different types of business entities that can join CTPAT some of which include:

  • Importers.
  • Exporters.
  • Carriers.
  • Third Party Logistics (3PL) providers.
  • Consolidators.
  • Licensed custom brokers.

For an importer to Qualify to join CTPAT, they should at least meet the following requirements:

  • Be a United states importer that is active or N non-resident importer of Canada who has imported goods into the United States within the past year.
  • Possess a valid and continuous import bond which is registered by Customs Border Protection.
  • Have an Importer of record (IOR) number which is valid.
  • Assign an officer of the company as the party responsible for CTPAT.
  • Run a business office which is staffed in the United States or Canada.
  • Lack a depth owned by Customs Border Protection (CBP) during the time of application.
  • Fill a supply chain security profile in the CTPAT portal, establishing how it will develop, maintain and improve internal policies to suit the importer criteria of CTPAT.

What are CTPAT Benefits?

Some the benefits of CTPAT include:

  • Less tests at the Custom Border Protection.
  • Members have the benefit of prioritized inspections.
  • Shorter times of waiting at the border.
  • Members get assigned specialized security.
  • Accessibility to fast service at border closings.
  • Able to access CTPAT materials and training modules.
  • CTPAT members are recognized as trusted trade partners thus have a front sit when it comes to trade partnerships.
  • CTPAT members have a soft landing when it comes to recovery from natural disasters.
  • Eligibility for US government pilot programs that may be available.
  • Priority consideration at the Customs Border Protection’s industry focused Centers of Excellence and Expertise.
  • Closer relationship with your business partners.
  • Greater supply chain integrity.
  • Reduced rate of losing cargo and pilferage.
  • Reduced inventory cycle time because of a more efficient supply chain system.
  • Stronger protection of the brand name.
  • Enhancement f efficiency between external and internal functions.
  • Improvement of the public image.
  • Incorporation of efficient security practices and processes into the existing logistical management processes.

What are CTPAT Requirements?

Participants in CTPAT are required to enter into legal bindings which commits them to the following actions:

  • Carrying out a very comprehensive self-assessment of supply chain security while putting in consideration security guidelines of CTPAT.
  • These guidelines take care of the following areas:

a) Threat awareness.

b) Information technology security.

c) Personnel security.

d) Container security.

e) Business partner security.

f) Procedural security.

g) Physical security.

h) Security training.

i) Physical access controls.

  • Conducting a risk assessment of the security of your supply chain by using the following five step procedure for assessing risks:

i. Mapping cargo flow.

ii. Assessing threats.

iii. Conducting a vulnerability assessment.

iv. Preparation of an action plan.

v. Documentation pf how risk assessments are conducted.

  • Submission of a security profile of the supply chain to customs.
  • Development and implementation of a program aimed at enhancing security in the entire supply chain according to CTPAT guidelines.
  • Communication of the guidelines of CTPAT to the rest of the companies in the supply chain and working towards building lasting relationships.
  • Doing security assessments annually and maintaining your profile of CTPAT.
  • Undergoing validations of CTPAT for your facilities and those of your foreign suppliers.

 CTPAT Requirements

CTPAT Requirements

What Does it Mean to be CTPAT Certified?

CTPAT certified refers to the process followed by participants in completion of assessment and conduction of assessment of the supply chain security to obtain certification.

Companies meeting standards for CTPAT certifications include:

  • United States /Canada and United States/
  • Unites States Importers of record
  • United States marine port authority and terminal operators.
  • Mexican manufacturers.
  • Mexico cross-border highway carriers.
  • Rail carriers.
  • Air Carriers.
  • Canadian manufacturers.
  • Licensed custom brokers of the United States.
  • Invited foreign manufacturers.
  • Custom House Agent (CHA) providers.
  • Sea Carriers.
  • Exporters of the United States.
  • Mexico long-haul highway carriers.
  • Consolidators
  • Third Party logistics providers.

 entities of certification

entities of certification

What is An SVI (Status verification interface) Number?

Status Verification Interface (SVI) is a type of number that is unique, and which is given to Certified CTPAT member.

This number is utilized by other members of CTPAT to determine the CTPAT status of a company.

How do You get CTPAT Certified?

To get CTPAT certified, a risk assessment is carried out on the security to establish the kind of security risks faced by the company.

Additionally, a profile on supply chain security must be completed.

The steps for CTPAT certification include:

  • A company is required to carry out and give a full documentation of a security risk assessment.
  • It should the submit a basic portal though the portal system of CTPAT.
  • Finally, accompany is required to complete a security profile of the supply chain.

This security profile should highlight that an organization is achieving the requirements of CTPAT.

Once the necessary materials are completed and submitted, Customs Border and Protection will review the submitted information and give feedback.

Some of the benefits of CTPAT certification include:

  • Reduction in the number of examinations required by Customs Border Protection.
  • Receiving front line inspections.
  • Shorter time of waiting at the border.
  • ISF penalty alleviation.

 criteria of certification

 criteria of certification

Is CTPAT Mandatory?

No, CTPAT is not mandatory as it is a voluntary program.

However, it is important for CTPAT participant to analyze their own exposure to risks by doing business with vendors that lack measures in place for ensuring security.

How Long Does it Take to Become CTPAT Certified?

Once Customs Border Protection has reviewed the materials submitted, it might take up to ninety days to give certification to the company or cancel the application.

After certification, validation of the certification will be affected in the course of the three years after the CTPAT certification.

Can a C-TPAT Importer do Business with Partners that are Not C-TPAT Compliant?

No, a CTPAT member cannot do business with partners who are not CTPAT certified.

This is because the members of CTPAT have the obligation to show commitment in nurturing their whole supply chain.

One way of nurturing these relationships is through using another CTPAT certified member as a partner in doing business.

CTPAT member must know requirements concerning security imposed by their partners and processes.

This must be verified to ascertain that they comply with CTPAT security criteria by the importer.

How Much is CTPAT Certification Cost?

The cost of CTPAT certification will vary depending on the cost of essential security measure which are to be put in place.

A recent survey by customs found some of CTPAT costs of implementation to be:

  • Costs of improving and implementing physical security, averaging to about $15,000.
  • Technology costs that include IT systems upgrade and software updates averaged $12,500.
  • Salaries and expenses of personnel contracted or hired in the implementation and management of CTPAT, averaging to about $12,000.

What is CTPAT Audit?

CTPAT audit refers to third party evaluation of the security of your supply chain by trained security professionals who are aware of the latest security regulations.

The auditors look at all the main aspects of the security of the supply chain and upon request, they will address specific areas.

The final audit report will grant you an overall assessment security strengths and vulnerabilities of your supply chain.

The findings will be inclusive of a corrective action plan that can be undertaken.

CTPAT audit is designed to improve the supply chain internationally and United States border security and compliance with it secures your supply chain.

 sample of an audit report

sample of an audit report

What Does a CTPAT Audit Involve?

Every Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) involves coverage of the following areas:

  • Physical security.
  • Information access controls.
  • Records and documentation.
  • Export logistics.
  • Shipment information controls.
  • Personal security.
  • Contractor controls.
  • Facility photos.
  • Storage and distribution.

What is CTPAT Security Criterion?

Based on CTPAT security criterion, importers are required to conduct security sweeps on their logistics segments and report to the CBP.

Importers are required to utilize their supply chain like conveyance and domestic warehouse, they should ensure adherence of the party to security measures.

CTPAT is aware of the bureaucracy involved in the global logistics and thus establishes the security measures implementation after analyzing risks.

This program gives room for flexibility and companies can customize their security plans depending on the model of business.

Do the Physical Security Standards Apply to the Supplier as Well as the Importer?

Yes, physical security standards do apply to the supplier as well as the importer.

It is important that appropriate security measures which are well defined in the CTPAT security criteria document be followed to the latter throughout the supply chain of the importer.

This is also based on risk.

For protection against unauthorized access, warehouses in foreign locations need to have deterrents and barriers.

 general supply chain security

 general supply chain security

As an Importer what steps Should you Take to Ensure your Partners are CTPAT Compliant?

As an importer, you should set requirements that business partners must show they are meeting CTPAT requirements:

This can be achieved through written or electronic confirmation which includes:

  • Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) certificates.
  • Status Verification Interface (SVI) number.
  • Contractual obligations.
  • Through a written statement from the business partner showing their compliance to CTPAT security criteria.
  • Provision of importer security questionnaire that is completed.

How Often Should You Review your Partners for Compliance with CTPAT Standards?

CTPAT considers the bureaucracy involved in the global logistics thus promoting usage and of security measures meant at analyzing risks.

The program provides fast and unique strategies of security depending on the member’s line of business.

Therefore, partners who are of high risk in the supply chain should be reviewed more often than those who are of low risk in the supply chain.

What is CTPAT Training?

CTPAT training is a course which provides you with knowledge on how to protect your supply chain when considering CTPAT certification.

This training is also essential when preparing for re-validation or when there is need to make your group aware of your current CTPAT program.

Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) training course tends to explore and give information all new CBP CTPAT minimum security requirements.

It is a course that is authoritative and very comprehensive at the same time it assists in building a CTPTA program that is cost effective and very dynamic.

In summary, what you will learn in CTPAT training includes:

  • How to get started with CTPAT validation process.
  • CTPAT process of revalidation.
  • Supply chain vulnerability and risk.
  • Product transportation and risk of loss.
  • New minimum-security criteria MSC.
  • Hard and soft benefits of securing the supply chain.
  • Pros and cons of CTPAT.
  • Basics and mechanics of CTPAT.

What Happens when Shipments from CTPAT Certified Supplier Mixes with Those from Non-compliant Suppliers during Consolidated Shipping?

Customs Border and Protection carries out a risk assessment in the process of analyzing export and import cargo.

Cargo which are from non-compliant suppliers always receive high scrutinization from Customs Border and Protection.

In case a shipment belonging to CTPAT certified supplier’s mixes with those of non-compliant suppliers, another thorough security check on the cargo is done to examine the whole shipment.

What is CTPAT Exporter Entity?

Since the beginning of CTPAT program, it has tried to improve supply chain security in the entire process of supply chain.

As CTPAT program has evolved, it has become vivid that exports also play an important part in international supply chains.

This sector is not highly owned by CBP and CTPAT program.

This has led to the development of an export component for the program to help in the CTPAT program and its relationship with other foreign custom administrations.

According to CTPAT, an exporter entity eligibility requirement include:

  • Be an active Unites States Exporter out of the United States.
  • Have a business office which is staffed in the United States.
  • Be a United States Exporter with a documentable Employee Identification.
  • Have an export security program that is documented and a specific officer to act as the main point of contact by CTPAT.
  • Follow the CTPAT supply chain security criteria as detailed in the exporter agreement of CTPAT.
  • Create and give CBP and CTPAT supply chain security profile that shows how the exporter will achieve, maintain and improve internal policies.

Of course this is to achieve CTPAT exporter security criteria.

Can Importers who also Export Participate in the CTPAT Exporter Entity?

Yes, currently importers who also import are eligible to receive export benefits due to Custom Border Protection’s agreements with those foreign counterparts.

However, the CTPAT entity which is being launched has the aim of enabling “export only” businesses to enjoy the benefits of CTPAT as well.

What are the Benefits of the CTPAT Exporter Entity?

Some of the benefits of CTPAT exporter entity include:

  • Mutual recognition arrangements: by observing the requirements of CTPAT, members may get enhanced help from foreign partners that have Customs Border Protection.
  • Marketing: the logo of CTPAT is an excellent tool which participants can use in marketing themselves.
  • Reduced examination rates and time: an exporter entity that has CTPAT will receive help in examination including getting priority to be examined.
  • Front of the line processing: exporters that have CTPAT tend to be moved ahead of the line of those who are not CTPAT certified.
  • Business resumption: in the case of a disruption in the function of the business and cargo processing at customs.

Actions will be taken to ensure the business gets back to normalcy.

  • Able to access a CTPAT supply chain security specialist who is assigned to the business.
  • Become eligible to attend training and seminars of CTPAT.
  • Accessibility to CTPAT web portal which provides a communication means with the security specialist for easy correction of company information.
  • Common standard: it will ensure that common standards of security requirements are applied in international trade thus eliminating duplication of procedures and efforts.

What is a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA)?

MRI refers to an international trade agreement whereby two or more countries have an agreement to recognize each other’s assessment results of conformity.

For example, test results or certifications.

What is an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)?

An AEO refers to a party which is involved in the international process of movement of goods.

It can be in any field that has been approved customs administration in compliance with the security standards of the supply chain.

Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) include:

  • Inter alia manufacturers.
  • Exporters.
  • Ports.
  • Importers.
  • Carriers.
  • Brokers.
  • Airports.
  • Terminal operators
  • Warehouse.
  • Distributors.
  • Intermediaries.
  • Integrated operators.
  • Consolidators.

How Does the CBP Identify Importers and Exporters in the CTPAT Program?

Importers and exporters in the CTPAT program are identified by their Employer Identification Number (EIN) or DUNS number.

This entire information is always included in the CTPAT portal as either an importer entity or exporter entity.

What is CTPAT Validation?

CTPAT validation refers to the process whereby United States Customs Border Protection program meets.

The also meet with representatives of companies and visits chosen foreign and domestic sites.

Furthermore, the main aim of these visits is to verify implementation of the supply chain security measures which are detailed in the participant’s CTPAT security profile.

 CTPAT validation

CTPAT validation

What is the Difference Between CTPAT Validation and CBP Audit?

Customs and Border Protection performs audits on a routine in several regulatory and operational areas.

On the other hand, validation does not calculate a company’s adherence to government rules and regulations that exist.

Validation is mainly focused on verifying the supply chain’s security processes, which a company agrees to be looked at under the CTPAT program.

On the other hand, Customs and Border protection audit verifies all the areas of supply chain security that need to be looked at under the CTPAT program.

What are the Consequences for Violating CTPAT Guidelines and Minimum-Security Criteria?

The consequences for violating CTPAT guidelines and minimum-security criteria include:

  • Suspension
  • Removal CTPAT certification
  • Denial of CTPAT associated benefits.

What are CBP’s Expectations for CTPAT Participants?

CBP expects the following from CTPAT participants:

  • CBP expects mutual and voluntary corporation from CTPAT concerning cargo security.
  • CBP expects corporation from the international supply chain stakeholders such as customs brokers, freight forwarders, and other interested parties.
  • CTPAT participants must be ready to follow CBP rules and regulations.
  • CTPAT participants are expected to present security profiles that list their action plans to improve the supply chain networks.
  • CBP expects CTPAT members to be committed and align their goals with those of CBP in security matters.
  • CTPAT participants are required to ensure vigilance throughout the supply chain.
  • CBP expects CTPAT participants to offer security to their employees, borders, brands, and businesses.

Does the Information You Provide for the CTPAT Application Remain Confidential?

Yes, all the information that you supply for the CTPAT application remains confidential.

The information remains confidential between CTPAT and CBP.

Who Do you ask Questions about CTPAT?

Questions on CTPAT are directed to Supply chain security specialists who are mainly found on the US border points and significant logistics companies.

You can also channel the questions to CTPAT field offices all in the US.

How can BanSar China Help with CTPAT Certification?

BanSar China can help with CTPAT certification by offering you brokerage services.

We can help you in the whole application process through our well-experienced officers.

Our company also has representatives in the US to help in the application process and liaise with CBP.

At BanSar, we help you comply with all requirements when shipping from China to USA.

So, in case you have any questions, feel free to contact BanSar China right now.

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