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CBP Answers Questions About C-TPAT for Exporters

Posted October 09, 2014

Subsequent to the announcement last month that the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) will now be accepting applications from exporters, the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) has published a 4-page document to address frequently asked questions about this new aspect of the program.
In addition to general questions such as the reasons why C-TPAT is being now being expanded to include exporters and what kind of trade facilitation benefits participating companies can generally expect in terms of how their shipments will be differently handled by customs, the FAQ also provides details about a number of specific features of the program structure and the security criteria involved.

Unfortunately, in some instances, the “answers” to particular questions seem rather vague, if not even woefully inadequate, as demonstrated by the following example:

Q: We understand the responsibility that exporters have as trade initiators; however, there are concerns regarding the extent of the liability to which exporters would be subject if they are made ultimately responsible in certain situations (e.g. routed export transactions) in which the purchaser selects the transportation service provider and pays for the transportation, since these types of situations allow for minimal control, visibility, and/or constantly challenged authority. For these reasons, the assignment of liability is undesirable beyond that set forth in applicable export control regulations such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) and the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). How will CBP address this issue?

A: C-TPAT asks that partners in the C-TPAT program do their part in securing the supply chain in exchange for benefits. C-TPAT partners are required to demonstrate due diligence in protecting the security of their supply chains.

Click here to download the document.