Some certifications can feel like unnecessary extras, especially when you’re already required to fulfill a lot of requirements as an importer or exporter in the US. One such certification is well worth the time and commitment, especially as it pertains to supply chain security as global tensions run high.
We’re talking about CTPAT – which stands for Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. It’s a completely voluntary supply chain security program aimed at enhancing trust within the trade community. CTPAT is open to members able to willingly demonstrate excellence in supply chain security best practices – with no major security-related events associated with them or their activities. Borders have always been under tight scrutiny, and with good reason, and by becoming a member of CTPAT, it’s one way to show to US customs that you’re interested in being part of the security solution, and can make your life as an importer or exporter a great deal easier.
By working with US Customs and Border Protection’s multi-layered “cargo enforcement strategy”, as a member, you are recognized as working to strengthen international supply chains while improving US border security. As an importer/exporter, you know how essential it is to make customs officers on any side of any border feel like you’re not a threat, and even an ally in supply chain security.
There are no costs associated with becoming CTPAT Certified, and it’s completely voluntary.
Who can become CTPAT Certified?
For an importer to be eligible to join CTPAT they must be:
- Active importer or a non-resident Canadian importer that has imported goods into the US within the past 12 months.
- Have an active US importer of Record (IOR) number.
- Have a valid continuous bond registered with Customs and Border Control
Benefits to becoming CTPAT Certified:
- Playing an active role in the war against terrorism and good corporate citizenship
- A reduced number of CBP inspections
- Priority processing (front-of-line) for CBP inspections
- Eligibility to attend CTPAT training seminars
- Prerequisite for participation in the importer self-assessment program
- Penalty mitigation under certain circumstances
- Assigned security consultant, a supply-chain security specialist
- Tier III importers allowed block designation application to DHS SAFETY Act
- Exporters who allow CBP to share information with other customs agencies gain reduced inspections upon arrival in those countries
How to become CTPAT certified:
- The application is done online with a secure website called the CTPAT Portal
- The application process involves two parts: the Company Profile and the Security Profile
- Applicants submit an acknowledgement to voluntarily participate
- Applying is 100% free and voluntary
In ongoing measures to improve the strategy, both the CBP and the Canada Border Services Agency have established “trusted trader” programs and others aimed at harmonizing, integrating and collaborating security and compliance requirements. Both agencies are trying to entice enrollment with the program, as it really does create a greater sense of collective security and can cut down time, costs while increasing efficiencies for participating “low risk partners”. When it comes to anything to do with importing and exporting, you WANT to be deemed low risk.
As always, if you have any questions about this process, why it matters and/or want some help getting certified, BorderBuddy is here to help – https://borderbuddy.com/