Until now, eligibility for a Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) certification has been an importers only program. Now a plan is in the works to expand the program to exporters. One proposed benefit would be for export agencies to apply a “lower level of scrutiny” to the export documentation of participants whose goods are destined for a country that has signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with the US. C-TPAT certification could also reduce the number of export exams that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducts on a participating exporter and provide it with priority processing when an export exam is initiated. There is yet no timetable for the exporter pilot program. However, the certification requirements could be released by CBP by the end of the summer.
C-TPAT is currently a voluntary program offered to importers by CBP that is geared towards improving US border security and facilitating the fluidity of international supply chains. CBP works with each participant to verify that it has a documented process in place to identify and properly mitigate the risks associated with each step of its international supply chains before it is granted C-TPAT certification. Once certified, participants undergo fewer CBP inspections at the border and receive priority processing if and when a CBP inspection is initiated.