CTPAT Module for Exporters

dangling a carrot cartoon

Companies that export from the U.S. but do not import are ineligible for the primary CTPAT program. To support export growth and competitiveness of U.S. businesses in the global market, CBP developed the Exporter Program, a module of the CTPAT program.

Watch as George Thompson, international trade attorney, discusses the requirements for program certification and how exporters can benefit when shipping to countries participating in Mutual Recognition Arrangements.

Transcript of "CTPAT Module for Exporters"

Hello again. You know, I’ve gotten a few questions about the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism’s module for exporters, so I figured I’d cover that program in a brief video. The exporter module is designed for companies engaged in exporting but which are not importers, and therefore are ineligible for inclusion in the primary CTPAT program.

The first question is what benefits the program may offer to participants. Once qualified, they may take advantage of cargo security mutual recognition arrangements, or MRAs, between the United States and a number of other countries. These include New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Jordan, Canada, the European Union, Taiwan, Israel, Mexico, and Singapore.

MRAs provide that companies meeting specified security standards in one country will be given reciprocal treatment in the others, thereby qualifying for multiple cargo security programs through a single application.

Much as the United States did with CTPAT for importers, other countries have established their own cargo security structures for imports into their territory as well. These provide preferential treatment for goods shipped through qualified supply chains.

The flip side is that products sent by parties which have not qualified for a security program will be given greater scrutiny.

Thus, the overarching benefit for participation is more expedited treatment of merchandise, with fewer delays and hassles for customers in the country of importation.

In addition, CTPAT exporters may get more favorable treatment on the outbound side.

As summarized by Customs and Border Protection, qualifying companies can expect prioritized export shipments, global security partnerships, heightened facilitation from mutually recognized customs partners, access to CTPAT sponsored security seminars and both expedited and reduced examinations.

I would add as well that meeting the program requirements may be a worthwhile end in itself because it requires exporters to thoroughly review the security of their operations and make adjustments where deficiencies are identified. At a minimum, CBP’s criteria for joining provide a guideline against which exporters can measure their own processes.

Those criteria are very similar to those for CTPAT on the import side. Applicant companies must complete a security review, prepare a risk profile for their operations and adopt written procedures. This entails evaluation of all steps in their logistics movements and the various parties involved.

They must also adopt measures involving cybersecurity, security for conveyances, containers and seals, cargo handling and facilities, location access and personnel controls.

Now, CBP is fairly strict in holding applicant companies to these standards before accepting them into the program.

The idea is that the availability of benefits in other countries under MRAs is based on the exporting country’s government’s certification of its own participants. Otherwise, an exporter would have to separately qualify under the cargo security programs of multiple foreign countries.

So, is the CTPAT exporter module worth the effort? Members get benefits on the outbound side, and their cargoes generally get more favorable treatment in the foreign country of arrival so, yes, there is a tangible advantage to joining up.

On the other hand, shipments from companies which are not participants may receive closer scrutiny and delayed processing by customs authorities at the receiving end. While that’s not always going to be the case, of course, joining the CTPAT export module will reduce the likelihood. And, as mentioned, adopting CBP’s security criteria can plug holes in security programs which companies may not have otherwise identified.

So, between the carrots of participating and the sticks of not, I’d say it’s worthwhile. Or at least it’s worth consideration by U.S. exporters.

Thanks for listening.

Thompson & Associates, PLLC provides representation in all aspects of customs laws and regulations, specializing in export and import regulations and international business counseling. We can be reached at 202-772-2039 or online.


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