- By Peter Buxbaum, AJOTThe Customs reauthorization bill currently being considered by the Senate Finance Committee would firm up the requirements and benefits for participation in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).
C-TPAT was initiated in the aftermath of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and was designed to provide benefits such as expedited shipment clearances to importers, intermediaries, and carriers that voluntarily upgraded their security infrastructures and practices.
The ultimate benefit of C-TPAT, the so-called “green lane” for top-shelf C-TPAT members has never come about, according to Amy Magnus, a district director at A.N. Deringer.
“The bill requires Customs to come up with defined benefits for participation in C-TPAT,” she said. “C-TPAT was originally designed and implemented for security. Now we’re talking about a partnership program that focuses on the trade part of compliance.”
The bill would require Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to submit a report to Congress by the end of 2010 describing the trade benefits provided to the three tiers of C-TPAT participants, and the additional benefits for each tier that have not yet been implemented.
Benefits to C-TPAT members under the bill may include:
- Entry into a Customs Facilitation Partnership Program that would facilitate entry of merchandise entry into the US,
- Targeting and clearance benefits, and
- Taking participation into account when assessing commercial risk.
CBP would also be required to establish minimum requirements for participation in the partnership program, focusing on the applicant’s compliance history.
Non-compliance would lead to suspension of some or all partnership benefits. If a participant fails to meet partnership program requirements, CBP would be able to suspend all or some benefits until the participant brings itself into compliance.