U.S. Customs and Border Protection is continuing to work with the trade community to further improve administration of the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

Now in its 23rd year, CTPAT has more than 11,400 members accounting for more than half (by value) of all cargo imported into the U.S., including importers, exporters, customs brokers, carriers, ocean transportation intermediaries, foreign manufacturers, and others. The Senate approved last year a bill to create a pilot program allowing third-party logistics providers to participate as well, and similar legislation has been introduced in the House.

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.

In 2023 CBP’s Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee recommended that CBP offer four additional benefits for CTPAT participants: (1) a standard set of user-friendly CTPAT validation/revalidation preparation documents, (2) relieving CTPAT Trade Compliance members subject to a risk analysis and survey assessment of the responsibility to provide underlying company information already provided in the annual notification letter/memorandum of understanding, (3) adding a field to the ACE protest module that indicates CTPAT Trade Compliance membership to ensure that member protests are given priority, and (4) giving CTPAT members access to a dashboard of information that demonstrates evidence of benefits; e.g., showing faster resolution of exams, front of the line treatment, etc.

At a COAC meeting earlier this month the committee’s Trade Partnership and Engagement Working Group said it is now focusing on CTPAT Security while continuing efforts to enhance CTPAT Trade Compliance. One area of emphasis will be standardizing the validation process, and toward that end the working group (1) has been expanded to include a CBP supervisory supply chain security specialist to provide knowledge about the validation process, (2) has focused its discussions on validations and opportunities for efficiencies, (3) is reviewing validation materials provided by CBP, and (4) is discussing audit mechanisms and requisite information with representatives from CBP Regulatory Audit.

Other issues the working group intends to address this year include (1) proposing a strategic interagency partnership engagement approach to trusted partners, (2) reviewing current benefits and proposing actionable additional benefits, and (3) reviewing metrics that evaluate and quantify benefit effectiveness for industry and government.

For more information on how participating in CTPAT may benefit your business, please contact attorney Lenny Feldman via email or at (305) 894-1011.

Copyright © 2024 Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.; WorldTrade Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved.

ST&R: International Trade Law & Policy

Since 1977, we have set the standard for international trade lawyers and consultants, providing comprehensive and effective customs, import and export services to clients worldwide.

View Our Services 


Cookie Consent

We have updated our Privacy Policy relating to our use of cookies on our website and the sharing of information. By continuing to use our website or subscribe to our publications, you agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.