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C-TPAT Certification

C-TPAT Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS C-TPAT?
Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a voluntary program developed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that seeks to safeguard the trade industry from terrorists while maintaining the economic health of the U.S. The partnership develops and adopts measures that add security but do not have a chilling effect on trade.



HOW BIG IS THE C-TPAT PROGRAM?
Since its inception in November 2001, more than 10,000 certified partners that span the gamut of the trade community have been accepted into the program. According to CBP, these 10,000-plus companies account for over 50 percent (by value) of what is imported into the United States.



HOW DOES THE C-TPAT PROGRAM WORK?
When a company joins they sign an agreement to work with CBP to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. Additionally, companies provide CBP with a security profile outlining the specific security measures they have in place. Applicants must address a broad range of security topics and present security profiles that list action plans to ensure security throughout their supply chain. C-TPAT members are considered low-risk and are therefore less likely to be examined. This designation is based on a company's past compliance history, security profile and the validation of a sample international supply chain.



WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF C-TPAT CERTIFICATION?
1.) C-TPAT importers are 4 to 6 times less likely to incur a security or compliance examination. Put another way, if you are not C-TPAT certified 1 out of every 33 sea containers will be inspected.
2.) Front of the line privileges are granted to C-TPAT containers that are selected for an examination. Containers that belong to C-TPAT importers can move ahead of non C-TPAT shipments awaiting examination, regardless of how long they have been there. Containers will not wait as long in line at the Container Examination Site and although they are still being examined, they will be processed more quickly than non-members.
3.) In the event of a significant disruption in the flow of trade, C-TPAT status will be taken into consideration when CBP resumes the processing of shipments.
4.) Much like certification with the International Standards Organization (ISO) C-TPAT can raise a company's reputation and ability to secure business.



WHAT IS A C-TPAT VALIDATION?
A C-TPAT validation is a process through which CBP meets with company representatives and visits selected domestic and foreign sites to verify supply chain security measures contained in the C-TPAT participant's security profile are accurate and being followed.



WHAT IS THE GOAL OF A C-TPAT VALIDATION?
The principal goal of a validation for CBP is to ensure the company's C-TPAT security profile is reliable, accurate and effective. Validations also provide a forum through which CBP and a C-TPAT company can build a stronger partnership by discussing supply chain security issues, sharing "best practices" and cooperatively developing solutions to address potential vulnerabilities. In other words, the validation process ensures the company's C-TPAT commitment includes physical and procedural security requirements that enhance and verify the supply chain security.