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The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a voluntary supply chain security program led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and focused on improving the security of private companies' supply chains with respect to terrorism. The program was launched in November 2001 with seven initial participants, all large U.S. companies. As of April 2005, there were over 9000 companies participating, according to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff .
Types of participants in C-TPAT include:
- U.S. importers of record
- U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico highway carriers
- Rail, sea, and air carriers
- U.S. marine port authority and terminal operators
- U.S. air freight consolidators, ocean transportation intermediaries and non-vessel operating common carriers
- Mexican manufacturers
- Certain invited foreign manufacturers
- Licensed U.S. customs brokers
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the benefits of participating in C-TPAT could include:
- Playing an active role in the war against terrorism
- A reduced number of CBP inspections.
- Priority processing for CBP inspections.
- Eligibility to attend C-TPAT training seminars.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has proposed some benefits to its C-TPAT partners that include:
- Reduced Customs inspections
- Reduced border delays
- Entitlement to a CBP account manager
- Eligibility for account-based processes
- Participation in the war against terrorism
- Need certification to proceed with Importer Self Assessment program (ISA)
U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Patty Murray have introduced a bill in Congress, the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act, which would enhance these potential benefits for companies at the highest level of security within C-TPAT.
Through this initiative, US Customs is asking businesses to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate and verify the security guidelines of their business partners within the supply chain.