Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism ("C-TPAT")

C-TPAT is a joint initiative between government and business designed to protect the security of cargo entering the United States while improving the flow of trade. C-TPAT requires importers to take steps to assess, evolve and communicate new practices that ensure tighter security of cargo and enhanced security throughout the entire supply chain. In return, their goods and conveyances will receive expedited processing into the United States.

C-TPAT offers businesses an opportunity to play an active role in the war against terrorism. Through C-TPAT, Customs is asking businesses to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate their security guidelines to their business partners throughout the supply chain.

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism

Director of Homeland Security, Governor Tom Ridge comments on C-TPAT

“The C-TPAT program demonstrates the tremendous benefits we can achieve when we combine the commitment of government leaders with the commitment of business leaders. This program is important because it strengthens the security of our borders while speeding up the flow of legitimate goods.”

By participating in C-TPAT, companies will ensure a more secure supply chain for their employees, suppliers, and customers. Besides giving their cargo faster processing at the border, Customs will offer additional potential benefits to C-TPAT members, including:

  • Dedicated commercial lanes where infrastructure permits
  • Assigned Customs point of contact (account manager)
  • Eligibility for account-based processes (bimonthly/monthly payments)
  • Reduced inspections

Businesses must apply to participate in C-TPAT. C-TPAT membership is available to importers, carriers, brokers, warehouse operators, and manufacturers. Participants will sign an agreement that commits them to the following actions:

  • Conduct a comprehensive self-assessment of supply chain security using the C-TPAT security guidelines jointly developed by Customs and the trade community.
  • 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.
  • Communicate C-TPAT guidelines to other companies in the supply chain and work toward building the guidelines into relationships with these companies.

C-TPAT benefits can begin once Customs has completed a company risk assessment encompassing both security and trade compliance. Highly compliant Importers who have already been evaluated for risk will be accepted into C-TPAT upon submission of a signed C-TPAT agreement.


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