The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (“C-TPAT”) program was developed as a voluntary effort to protect the import supply-chain from terrorists who would use one of the nine million cargo containers that arrive in the U.S. each year to smuggle personnel, firearms, and weapons of mass destruction. If you analyzed the requirements and the reasons why one would join the C-TPAT program, which was launched on April 16, 2002 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, and compared it to today’s program, you would notice how much it has evolved. We have noticed that since many companies are now starting to make C-TPAT membership a requirement, membership by the vendor and the service provider is becoming the norm rather than the exception. Therefore, not only are companies which are eligible to join the C-TPAT program are becoming members, but companies that are required to be C-TPAT compliant and who are presently not eligible to join the C-TPAT program are preparing the same security profiles.
The C-TPAT Security Profile is a synopsis of various policies, procedures and controls the company has regarding; the selection of import-supply-chain business partners, hiring practices, information technology (computers), physical security, etc. The Security Profile is, in essence, a company’s application to the C-TPAT program.
Norman Jaspan Associates (“NJA”) commences the C-TPAT application process by providing our clients who are joining the C-TPAT program with customized security questionnaires, which they send to their import supply-chain business partners (foreign manufacturers/suppliers, transportation service providers, customs brokers, etc.). The completed questionnaires are then reviewed and recommendations are made where appropriate. Additionally, NJA visits our clients’ domestic facilities and conducts a hands-on C-TPAT vulnerability assessment, documenting what written policies, procedures and controls need to be instituted or modified. NJA then prepares the C-TPAT Security Profile.
In addition, NJA updates our clients’ C-TPAT Security Profile for the internet portal, annual assessment and validation phase (tier levels 2 & 3), and prepares our clients for the CBP validation visit.
Companies eligible to join the C-TPAT program
1. U.S. Importers of record
Companies in the U.S. that are either the importer of record and/or the consignee, regardless of the cargo’s value or the type of cargo (raw materials, finished product, samples, returns, public relations or packing materials).
2 U.S./Canada Highway Carriers
The C-TPAT program is a requirement for the FAST (Free And Secure Trade) program. The FAST program is a bilateral initiative between the United States and Canada designed to ensure security and safety. Two of the benefits are: A) Using dedicated lanes for greater speed and efficiency in the clearance of FAST transborder shipments and B) reducing the number of examinations. Canadian Highway Carriers can join the C-TPAT program if:
3 U.S./Mexico Highway Carriers
The C-TPAT program is a requirement for the FAST (Free And Secure Trade) program. The FAST program is a bilateral initiative between the United States and Mexico designed to ensure security and safety. Two of the benefits are: dedicated lanes for greater speed and efficiency in the clearance of FAST trans-border shipments; and reducing the number of examinations.
Mexican Highway Carriers can join the C-TPAT program if:
4. Rail Carriers
5. Sea Carriers
6. Air Carriers
7. U.S.Marine Port Authority/Terminal Operators
8. U.S. Air Freight Consolidators, Ocean Transportation Intermediaries and Non-Vessel Operation Common Carriers (“NVOCC”)
9. Mexican Manufacturers
Mexican Companies can join the C-TPAT program if:
10. Canadian Manufacturers
Canadian Companies can join the C-TPAT program if:
11. Certain Invited Foreign Manufacturers
12. Licensed U.S. Customs Brokers
Companies not eligible to join the C-TPAT program but must be compliant
Norman Jaspan Associates, Inc prepares C-TPAT security profiles for clients. If you are compliant and presently not eligible to join the C-TPAT program, you do not post the security profile to the U.S. Customs website. Despite the fact that the security profile is not posted to the U.S. Customs website, the security profile enables our client to demonstrate to the importer and/or the service provider and/or U.S. Customs (if the company is being inspected on behalf of the importer or service provider for validation) that they are meeting the requirements of the C-TPAT program. In addition, the security profile, which demonstrates C-TPAT compliance, will enable the service provider to maintain market share by being able to solicit business with companies that prefer to do business with service providers that are C-TPAT members or C-TPAT compliant.