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What is C TPAT?

C TPAT stands for Custom Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. According to Customs and Border Management (CBP), C-TPAT is a voluntary initiative between government and business. It aimed at building cooperative relationships that strengthen and enhance the international supply chain and US border security. By working with participants (these may be importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs agents or manufacturers), CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security. In return for participating in the program, which requires a strong commitment to both trade safety and trade compliance. C-TPAT certified members receive certain benefits, including fewer CBP inspections and priority processing for CBP inspections.

c tpat certification and how to be C Tpat certified

How does C tpat works?

When members of the trading community register as part of C-TPAT, they benefit from a number of benefits. This will make the customs clearance process more effective. More importantly, if you have a membership in C-TPAT, it will make the customs clearance process safer and easier. If Customs and Border Protection (CBP) knows that a particular company is C-TPAT certified, they can reduce the number of investigations.

Another benefit includes on-site inspections. With C-TPAT certification, importers can use faster import processing with a secure supply chain. These benefits can be granted to companies that are C-TPAT certified because the CBP knows that the company has invested time and effort in making border management a top priority.

How to be C tpat certified?

C-TPAT Certification is a voluntary program. A security risk analysis is performed to see what security risks the company is exposed to. In addition to the assessment, a safety profile of the supply chain must be completed. Upon completion of these steps, a C-TPAT supply chain security specialist will provide guidance to the company on a regular basis. The certification can take up to a year.

Who Can Join C TPAT?

Many companies today require CTPAT certification membership from their suppliers. Eligible companies and companies that need to be C TPAT certified per their kind of customers. Many need to be in compliant to participate in the program in order to create the same security profiles as their customers.

The C TPAT Security Profile is a blueprint for policies, business processes, and controls. It helps with the business partner selection in the import supply chain, hiring practices, information technology, and physical security. They serve as an application for the C TPAT program. Hence, this is required for C TPAT certification.

Those who apply for the C TPAT certification program must complete the paperwork with custom security questionnaires . Then forward them to their supply chain partners, such as a security officer. For example, foreign manufacturers or suppliers, transport service providers, customs brokers and more appropriate. A customs-trade partnership against terrorism advisor then visits the home institutions and assesses. The advisor will then records the policies, procedures, and controls to act on.

The consultant may also update the C TPAT safety profile, perform the annual assessment and validation phase.  They  prepare the customers for validation by CBP. This is required to obtain a C TPAT certification. 

Key candidate companies that can participate in the C TPAT program as part of their C TPAT certification include US importers and US and Canadian road transport companies.

C-TPAT security requirements

Are you thinking about becoming C-TPAT certified? If you move goods across the border, this certification can be a blessing to your business. Therefore, to be accepted into the C-TPAT program, your company must meet a set of minimum security requirements like:

1- Physical access controls

The goal of access controls is to “prevent unauthorized entry to facilities, maintain control of employees and visitors, and protect company assets.” For all categories of facilities, this requires positive identification of everyone who enters the facility. Including employees, visitors, vendors, and service providers.

2- Employees

In general, controls must be in place to make sure only authorized employees can enter secure areas. These controls include employee identification badges and access devices, like keys and keycards. It’s up to company management or security personnel to keep track of who has what level of clearance. As well as to document when badges and access devices are issued, removed, and changed. (For customs brokers, most of the requirements kick in when the number of employees exceeds 50.)

3- Visitors

Visitors must meet three main requirements:

  1. First, they must present photo identification for documentation purposes.
  2. Secondly, they must always be escorted.
  3.  Finally, must visibly display identification, such as a visitor badge.

For customs brokers, the visitor badge requirement comes into play for firms with more than 50 employees. However, all customs brokers must maintain a visitor log that includes visitor name, the purpose of the visit, and confirmation of their identity.

4- Deliveries (including mail)

All delivery people, including mail carriers needs to comply. They must present proper vendor ID and/or photo identification for documentation purposes. Secondly, there must also be a screening process for the packages themselves.

Benefits of C-TPAT

C-TPAT partners enjoy a number of benefits. This include an active role in working with the US government in the fight against terrorism. This allows partners to better understand their own vulnerabilities and take corrective action to minimize risks. The benefits of the program include:

  • First, the reduced number of CBP exams
  • Furthermore, inspections in front of the line
  • Possible exclusion of stratified tests
  • Shorter waiting times at the border
  • Assign a Supply Chain Security Specialist to the company
  • Access to the free and secure trade routes (FAST) at the land borders
  • Access to the web-based C-TPAT portal system and a library of training materials
  • Truster trading partner enjoy additional benefits. Usually by foreign customs authorities that have signed mutual recognition with the United States
  • Also, eligibility for other US government pilot programs, such as the Food and Drug Administration's Secure Supply Chain Program
  • Priority for resuming business following a natural disaster or terrorist attack
  • Permission of importers to participate in the Importer Self Assessment Program (ISA)
  • Priority consideration in CBP's industry-focused center of excellence and expertise

In conclusion, for more information on how to be certified you and apply for the certification you can go to the US Customs and border protection page and apply.