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Homeland Security

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

  • C-TPAT is a joint government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen overall supply chain and border security.
  • C-TPAT recognizes that Customs can provide the highest level of security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the supply chain, importers, carriers, brokers, warehouse operators and manufacturers.
  • Through this initiative, Customs is asking businesses to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate their security guidelines to their business partners within the supply chain.

Businesses must apply to participate in C-TPAT. 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. These guidelines, which are available for review on the Customs website, encompass the following areas: Procedural Security, Physical Security, Personnel Security, Education and Training, Access Controls, Manifest Procedures, and Conveyance Security.
  • Submit a supply chain security profile 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 offers businesses an opportunity to play an active role in the war against terrorism. By participating in this first worldwide supply chain security initiative, companies will ensure a more secure supply chain for their employees, suppliers and customers. Beyond these essential security benefits, Customs will offer potential benefits to C-TPAT members, including:

  • A reduced number of inspections (reduced border times)
  • An assigned account manager (if one is not already assigned)
  • Access to the C-TPAT membership list
  • Eligibility for account-based processes (bimonthly/monthly payments, e. g.)
  • An emphasis on self-policing, not Customs verifications

C-TPAT is currently open to all importers and carriers (air, rail, sea). Customs plans to open enrollment to a broader spectrum of the trade community in the near future. C-TPAT membership will be made available to all sectors of the supply chain. Customs will be consulting with the trade community to develop the most effective approach for each sector to participate in C-TPAT. Please refer to this site for the latest information on eligibility and application procedures.

  • Applicants will submit signed agreements to Customs, which will represent their commitment to the C-TPAT security guidelines.
  • Applicants will also submit a supply chain security profile questionnaire at the same time they submit their signed agreements or within a specified time thereafter.
  • Complete application instructions will be maintained on this site.

Benefits will begin once Customs has completed an evaluation of the importer's C-TPAT application package and notified the importer of our findings. Customs aims to complete these evaluations within 30-60 days after the supply chain security questionnaire has been submitted.

  • Account managers will contact participants to begin joint work on establishing or updating account action plans to reflect C-TPAT commitments.
  • Action plans will track participants' progress in making security improvements, communicating C-TPAT guidelines to business partners, and establishing improved security relationships with other companies.
  • Failure to meet C-TPAT commitments will result in suspension of C-TPAT benefits. Benefits will be reinstated upon correcting identified deficiencies in compliance and/or security.

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