CTPAT Trade Compliance FAQ's
What is Trade Compliance?
Trade compliance refers to an importer's ability to meet regulatory requirements administered by CBP and other government entities.
The CTPAT Trade Compliance Program is built on the knowledge, trust, and willingness to maintain an ongoing relationship between CBP and importers that is mutually beneficial to both parties. CBP's goal is to partner with importers who can demonstrate their readiness to assume the responsibility of managing and monitoring their compliance through self-assessment.
In March 2020, the former Importer-Self Assessment (ISA) Program was integrated into CTPAT as CTPAT Trade Compliance. The United States Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program now includes security and compliance.
Why should an Importer consider joining the CTPAT Trade Compliance Program
The CTPAT Trade Compliance Program provides opportunities for importers who demonstrate a commitment to compliance to receive related benefits that are meaningful, measurable, and reportable. The Program offers benefits to importers who demonstrate a commitment to ensuring compliant import transactions. Below is an overview of the benefit categories one can expect to receive
CTPAT Trade Compliance Portal: Access to the Trade Compliance section of the CTPAT Portal, and use of the CTPAT Portal to access and update information related to Trade Compliance in the new Portal component.
CTPAT participants from exploitation of identity theft by creating a notification and verification system
Enhanced Importer Trade Activity (ITRAC) Data Access and Automation: U.S. Importer Members will have access to their ITRAC data directly from the CTPAT Trade Compliance Portal.
Expedited Rulings: Rulings and Internal Requests that are being adjudicated by the National Commodities Division (located in New York) will have priority and be placed at the front of the queue for processing within 20 days by the receiving office.
Multiple Business Units: Opportunity to apply for coverage of multiple Importer of Record (IOR) numbers.
National Account Manager (NAM): Access to an assigned NAM, who acts as an advisor and liaison among CBP HQ and the CTPAT Trade Compliance Member.
Prior Disclosures: If CBP becomes aware of errors in which there is an indication of a violation of 19 U.S.C. 1592 or 1593a, CBP will provide a written notice to the account of such errors and allow 30 days from the date of the notification for the account to file a prior disclosure pursuant to 19 CFR 162.74. This benefit does not apply if the matter is subject of an ongoing CBP investigation or fraud is involved.
Removal from Focused Assessments (FAs): Members will be exempt from FA performed by Office of Trade; Regulatory Audit (RA). However, importers may be subject to a single-issue audit to address a specific concern.An importer must complete an Annual Notification Letter, which allows the Member to inform CBP of any business modifications that may have an impact on their customs operations and to reaffirm its commitment to the requirements listed in the Trade Compliance MOU and other program documentation. This letter is submitted electronically through the CTPAT Trade.
How does an Importer become eligible for the CTPAT Trade Compliance Program?
A company must:
Be a current tier II or III member of the CTPAT Program,
Be a U.S. or Canadian resident importer,
Have a minimum of two years import experience,
Maintain no evidence of financial debt to CBP.
If a CTPAT Member meets the above baseline eligibility requirements, that Member will be automatically notified of their potential eligibility within the CTPAT Portal.
What must an Importer do to apply for CTPAT Trade Compliance?
If determined potentially eligible for CTPAT Trade Compliance, a company must:
Complete the CTPAT Trade Compliance Eligibility Questions,
Complete the CTPAT Trade Compliance Questionnaire,
Complete a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Once submitted, the CTPAT Trade Compliance Team (representatives from the Trade Compliance Branch, Office of Trade; Regulatory Audit, and a designated National Account Manager) will begin the application review process.
After an Importer becomes a member, how do they maintain program membership?
An importer must complete an Annual Notification Letter, which allows the Member to inform CBP of any business modifications that may have an impact on their customs operations and to reaffirm its commitment to the requirements listed in the Trade Compliance MOU and other program documentation. This letter is submitted electronically through the CTPAT Trade
Compliance Portal, and is due annually within 30 days of the anniversary of the program acceptance date.
How do I transition from Focused Assessment (FA) to CTPAT Trade Compliance?
The FA to CTPAT Trade Compliance transition opportunity allows acceptable importers to transition into CTPAT Trade Compliance without further CBP review within 12 months from the date of the FA Report wherein Office of Trade; Regulatory Audit Division, has determined the company represents an acceptable risk to CBP. Importers seeking to transition into CTPAT through this opportunity must meet the previously mentioned eligibility requirements.
What is CTPAT Trade Compliance-Product Safety?
The CTPAT Trade Compliance-Product Safety is a joint initiative among CBP, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and importers who commit to maintain a high level of product safety compliance and strive to prevent the importation of unsafe products. It is an expansion of CTPAT Trade Compliance and is administered by CBP and CPSC.
When will CTPAT Trade Compliance begin processing new applicants?
The CTPAT Trade Compliance Program is currently not accepting any new applicants at this time, CTPAT Security is accepting new applicants for the CTPAT program.