How can C-TPAT help my business?

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a program initiated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in response to the many terrorist threats that have been looming against the United States (U.S.) in the past decade or so. It was originally started since terrorists were using U.S. supply chains as a means to move their weapons through the U.S. ports. U.S. Customs wanted to establish a way to voluntarily allow importers, brokers and carriers to join a security program that will permit these businesses an easier flow of their imported goods. C-TPAT Certification begins with a questionnaire regarding the flow of business in to the U.S. followed by several steps to reach certification. Once a business has gone through these steps there are many benefits. First and foremost, it puts a business at a new level of security with U.S. Customs saving both time and money. Most companies trying for C-TPAT certification will start the process because it allows for a reduction in the amount of inspections by U.S. Customs. It also allows for participation in programs such as the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA) and the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) program. The C-TPAT program is intended to be a low cost way to give benefits to participating companies but they may require certain action plans or policies to be put in place to ensure supply chain security. If they contact a company and make recommendations, they reserve the right to remove or modify the benefits should the company not comply. Overall, the C-TPAT program is designed to keep tight security on imports, while keeping the flow of goods for companies who are generally compliant with U.S. Customs rules.