In a June 12 post, we told you about U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) plan to expand the previously importers only Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) certification program to include exporters. As you may recall, C-TPAT certified importers have been enjoying a “lower level of scrutiny” when it comes to reviews of their documentation at the border in addition to other advantages. After a summer spent ironing out the details CBP has released a set of exporter eligibility requirements and is now accepting exporter applications. CBP has released a Fact Sheet for C-TPAT Export Entity hopefuls that can be found here.
It’s important to note that companies involved in international trade are increasing requiring all their foreign partners to satisfy similarly strict security and export compliance standards in order to avoid getting embroiled in trouble with their respective governments or suffering a public relations backlash (think Wal-Mart in Bangladesh or Apple in China). In light of this clear trend, the C-TPAT exporter program offers the opportunity to partner with CBP to get a leg up in ensuring your overall corporate compliance program is up to par and gain some additional benefits in the process, including:
- Increased facilitation of exports from foreign partners located in countries that have established Mutual Recognition Arrangements with the United States
- The ability to market the fact that C-TPAT certified cargo is secure
- Prioritized processing examinations over non-C-TPAT parties, reduced rates and times
- Increased coordination with C-TPAT partners during shipping disruptions
- Individually-assigned C-TPAT Supply Chain Security Specialist (SCSS) available to assist with supply chain security inquiries
- Access to C-TPAT trainings and seminar and various multi-media supply chain materials
- Use of C-TPAT common standards and security requirements that facilitate international trade by reducing the duplication of procedures
To be eligible, a company must:
- Be an active U.S. exporter (exporting out of the U.S.)
- Have a business office staffed in the U.S.
- Have an Employer Identification Number or Dun & Bradstreet number
- Have a documented export security program and designate an officer or manager as the C-TPAT point of contact and one as an alternate
- Commit to maintaining the C-TPAT supply chain security criteria
- Create/provide security profile to CBP outlining how applicant will enhance internal policies to satisfy C-TPAT security criteria
- Have an acceptable level of compliance for export reporting for the last twelve months and be in good standing with U.S. Federal Government departments
This could be a powerful tool in your efforts to streamline your company’s international transactions and increase profits, not to mention the fact that C-TPAT offers eligible exporters the opportunity to better protect themselves against inadvertent yet costly violations and participate in the greater effort to strengthen global supply chain security by allying themselves with CBP and working with it to strengthen their compliance procedures.