the wake of September 11th, Customs Commissioner Robert
Bonner called for the development and implementation of a new industry
wide security standard for countering terrorism, now know as the
"Customs - Trade Partnership Against Terrorism", or "C-TPAT." Since
that time, industry groups have been working with Customs to develop
a plan for such a program. While the details of the C-TPAT are
still being finalized, it is generally considered a cooperative
venture but one which has the potential to greatly impact the way
in which trade moves.
to Customs, the chief benefits of participation in C-TPAT will be:
reduced number of inspections (reduced border times);
assigned account manager (if one is not already assigned)(although
some companies would not view this as a benefit);
current Low Risk Importers (LRIs), an opportunity to expand "low-risk"
treatment to all divisions within the company (Customs has previously
stated that a low-risk designation is assigned by IRS number, and
that it is possible that only certain divisions within a company
would be eligible for low-risk designation);
to the C-TPAT membership list;
for account-based processes (e.g., bimonthly/monthly payments);
emphasis on self-policing, not Customs verifications; and
security assurances for employees.
more importantly, participants also avoid the consequences that
may occur if they do not "volunteer," which Customs has indicated
Classification of the importer into an "unknown" security category
Higher scrutiny of cargo
Increased reviews and audits
Requests for more information
No guarantee of cargo processing
the benefits of C-TPAT are obviously greater for large companies
that rely heavily on international supply chains, the C-TPAT is
designed for the entire trade community, and Customs encourages
all companies to apply.
importers (LRIs) will be accepted into C-TPAT upon submission
of a signed C-TPAT agreement. According to Customs, such LRI applications
will be expedited since these companies have already been evaluated
for risk, and the benefits under C-TPAT will begin immediately.
companies other than LRI importers,
C-TPAT benefits will not begin until Customs has completed a company
risk assessment encompassing both security and trade compliance.
These evaluations are expected to be completed within 30-60 days
after the applicant submits a supply chain security questionnaire.
May Be Eligible To Participate In C-TPAT
to Customs, practically every member of the trade will be eligible
for participation. C-TPAT will be open to a broad spectrum of the
trade community, such as importers, carriers, brokers, warehouse
operators, and manufacturers. Customs has already selected five volunteer importers
to participate in C-TPAT and will shortly be including others.
the Process Will Work
participation requires the filing of a formal agreement that commits
the applicant to undertake the following:
a comprehensive assessment of supply chain security using C-TPAT
security guidelines jointly developed by Customs and the trade community,
which address procedural security, physical security, personnel
security, education and training, access control, manifest procedures,
and conveyance security;
Complete and submit
a supply chain security questionnaire to Customs;
Develop and implement
a program to enhance security throughout the supply chain in accordance
with C-TPAT guidelines; and
guidelines to other companies in the supply chain and work toward
building the guidelines into relationships with these companies.
warns that, if a company fails to uphold its C-TPAT commitments,
Customs will take action to suspend benefits or cancel participation.
And Commitment Levels Of Participation
is also attempting to minimize the burdens of participation. Customs
has stated that the intent of C-TPAT is not to impose security requirements
that will be cost prohibitive and that C-TPAT participants may find
that they already have many of the guidelines in place.
has also said that C-TPAT is not intended to create any new liabilities
for companies beyond existing trade laws and regulations.
Finally, Customs believes that C-TPAT should not duplicate work
for current Customs Carrier Initiative Program (CIP) participants.
September 11, 2001, the top priority of Customs has been responding
to the continuing threat at U.S. land borders, seaports, and airports.
According to Commissioner Bonner, Customs' anti-terrorist efforts
of Anti-Terrorism. Customs
has established a new Office of Anti-Terrorism within Customs headed
by an experienced security expert and senior military leader.
Green Quest. Operation Green Quest
was formed as a joint investigative team to fight against terrorist
financing. It is led by Customs and supported by the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS), Secret Service, and other Treasury Department bureaus,
as well as the FBI and the Justice Department.
Shield America. Customs
has been working under Operation Shield America to monitor exports
of strategic weapons and materials from the U.S. and, since the
inception of the program, Customs agents have visited approximately
1,000 companies in the U.S. that manufacture or sell items that
may be sought by terrorists or state sponsors of terrorism.
of Border Security. Customs
has established the Office of Border Security to help Customs officers
in the field. The mission of the office is to develop more sophisticated
anti-terrorism targeting techniques for cargo and passengers in
each border environment.
Smart Border Declaration.
The U.S. has worked with Canada to harmonize
security and commercial processing, and the U.S. and Canada have
agreed to a 30-point "Smart Border Declaration".
Security Initiative. In January 2002, Bonner
proposed a Container Security Initiative (CSI) to address the vulnerability
of cargo containers to the smuggling of terrorists and terrorist
weapons. The initiative would begin with the mega ports that export
to the U.S to develop a uniform standard for targeting and screening
cargo before it is shipped. The core elements of a sea container security strategy
(1) Establishing security criteria for identifying high-risk
containers (i.e., those containers that potentially pose
(2) Prescreening the high-risk containers before
they are shipped to the U.S.;
(3) Using technology to prescreen high-risk containers;
(4) Developing smart boxes, smart and secure containers
with e-seals and light sensors that will indicate to Customs if
the container has been tampered with, particularly after it has
Eight-Point Declaration. The
U.S. is now working with Mexico on an eight-point declaration that
would commence unprecedented cooperation and information sharing
regarding incoming goods and passengers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Customs Inspections. Bonner
indicates that the percentage of Customs inspections has increased
significantly since the 9/11 attacks.
for Senate Bill 1214. Bonner described
the Senate's passage of S.B. 1214 as a giant stride toward
enactment of legislation that will equip Customs with the tools,
technology, and information it needs to bolster U.S. defenses against
international terrorism. S.B. 1214 would require submission
of advance shipping manifests, which are now strictly voluntary.
By mandating advance information for outbound as well as inbound
passengers and cargo, S.B. 1214 would expand on Customs' successful
efforts to require airlines to submit passenger manifests to the
Advance Passenger Information System (APIS).
by Tuttle Law Offices.
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.