Customs will begin taking applications on January 21 from domestic port authorities and marine terminal operators for participation in the Customs-Trade Partnership program. The program, known as C-TPAT, is an initiative between business and government to protect global commerce from terrorism. Unveiled this past April, the program initially sought membership from importers, carriers, and Customs brokers and freight forwarders.
“This marks the next leg in building a comprehensive system to prevent terrorist infiltration of the global trading system,” said Bonner. “Ultimately, additional links in the international commercial chain will be covered by C-TPAT.”
The program calls upon the trade community to establish policies to enhance their own security practices and those of business partners involved in the supply chain. Once these policies are in effect, imports by these businesses are given expedited Customs processing at ports of entry.
To date, 1600 companies have agreed to participate in the program. Of this number, more than 300 are certified members and eligible for swifter processing benefits. Bonner encouraged all trade-related businesses eligible for membership in C-TPAT to join.
“It is a sound business decision,” he said. “Everyone involved in global trade has an obligation to join in the effort to protect the supply chain.”