The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and in-bond shipments were among the topics on which progress was reported at a recent meeting of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee.

CTPAT. Now in its 22nd year, CTPAT has more than 10,000 members, including importers, exporters, customs brokers, carriers, 3PLs, foreign manufacturers, and others. The program includes CTPAT Security, in which partners take steps to ensure supply chain security, and CTPAT Trade Compliance, which allows importers to assume responsibility for monitoring their own compliance with trade laws and regulations. To be approved, companies must meet minimum security criteria across 12 categories, including risk assessment, business partners, procedural and physical security, and cyber security. In return, participants receive benefits that can reduce regulatory burdens and mitigate enforcement actions.

COAC has now recommended that CBP offer four additional benefits for CTPAT participants.

- CBP should adopt a standard set of user-friendly CTPAT validation/revalidation preparation documents. This document set should include a standardized version of the validation questionnaire, agenda and requirements, and expectations for facility tours and should be distributed with initial communication of the intent to validate.

- CTPAT Trade Compliance members subject to a risk analysis and survey assessment should be relieved of the responsibility to provide underlying company information already provided in the annual notification letter/memorandum of understanding.

- CBP should add a field to the ACE protest module that indicates CTPAT Trade Compliance membership to ensure that member protests are given priority.

- CBP should develop functionality for CTPAT members to have access to a dashboard of information in the CTPAT portal that demonstrates evidence of benefits; e.g., showing faster resolution of exams, front of the line treatment, etc.

In-bond. Following regulatory changes issued in September 2017, CBP began mandating the electronic filing and reporting of in-bond arrival, exportation, and diversion in July 2019. However, there remain concerns within the trade community over issues such as the six-digit HTSUS number reporting requirement, modernizing and standardizing the air in-bond regulations, and the legal transfer of liability among carriers when in-bond shipment possession changes to the succeeding carrier.

To further improve in-bond processes, COAC has made the following recommendations.

- CBP should publish annual trade statistics for in-bond movements, including the quantity of in-bond movements by mode of operation (air, highway, ocean, rail), as well as statistics by origin and destination port areas. For the highway mode, statistics should be made available based on weight tiers to better identify truckload and less-than-truckload movements.

- CBP should develop ACE functionality to electronically notify the bond principal, carrier, and surety when an in-bond entry is obligated under a custodial bond and to push updates to these parties. At a minimum, the notifications should include the in-bond number, date created, filer code, and bonded carrier SCAC code.

- CBP should develop ACE functionality to provide the bond principal, carrier, and surety the ability to query in-bond details for a given in-bond entry number.

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