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Importers and Brokers Who Are Not C-TPAT Members Should Apply For Membership Before The New Security Standards Become Effective

March 10, 2005

For the last several months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") has been developing new security standards for qualifying for C-TPAT membership. Up to the present time, when applicants respond to a Supply Chain Security Profile Questionnaire, they report to CBP the security procedures in place and those that they intend to modify. At the present time, there is no minimum criteria by which CBP will certify an applicant as a C-TPAT member. This will be changing in several weeks.  

Companies that apply after these new security standards are published will be required to satisfy these requirements in order to become C-TPAT members. It is strongly recommended that those companies that have not applied for C-TPAT membership do so as soon as possible before these new security standards become effective. Those companies that apply before the effective date will not have to satisfy the new security requirements for initial C-TPAT apparel.

We will provide a separate memorandum regarding the new C-TPAT requirements.

In order to strengthen the program and to provide greater integrity to C-TPAT, CBP has been developing certain minimum security standards, which are to be used to determine whether an applicant can be certified as a C-TPAT member. Various drafts of these standards have been published. In addition, CBP has received and incorporated certain changes recommended by the importing community.

It is our understanding that, within a number of weeks, the final version of these security standards will be finalized by CBP. Those applicants who apply after the effective of the publication of these final standards will be required to meet these standards in order to be C-TPAT certified. Those companies who are already C-TPAT certified will, at some point in time, have to become re-certified, which means that they will have to demonstrate to CBP that they meet the new minimum standards. However, it may be some time before this re-certification is required.

Those companies that have already applied for C-TPAT membership, but have not been certified by CBP, will not be subject to the new minimum standards.

We strongly recommend that those companies that have not applied for C-TPAT do so as soon as possible, before the final version of the security standards is published. The window of opportunity is short, as we expect the new standards to be made effective in a matter of weeks. If companies apply before publication of this notice, they will not have to demonstrate in the initial application that they meet the new security standards.  

We have assisted many companies, including importers, brokers, air consolidators and NVOCCs in applying for C-TPAT membership. If you require any additional information on the issues in this newsletter, or would like assistance in applying for C-TPAT membership, please contact Stephen Spraitzar at (415-288-0427), George R. Tuttle at (415-288-0425) or George R. Tuttle, III at (415-288-0428).

Stephen Spraitzar, George R. Tuttle and George R. Tuttle, III are attorneys with the Law Offices of George R. Tuttle in San Francisco. The information in this article is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with respect to any event or occurrence, and may not be considered as such.

Copyright 2005 by Tuttle Law Offices.

All rights reserved. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by our offices or by others, we do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any information and are not responsible for any errors, omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of such information.


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