US Customs outlines C-TPAT enforcement and appeal rules

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border protection says it will take a hard line against carriers or shippers and immediately remove those who don’t comply with the program’s minimum security criteria.

With a "trust but verify" focus in mind, C-TPAT members are generally afforded reduced inspections in exchange for adopting stronger security practices in the supply chain.

C-TPAT members may be suspended or removed from the program for several reasons including, but not limited to:

Narcotics seizures or other security related incidents such as human smuggling; failed validations or lack of compliance with C-TPAT requirements regarding supply chain or other security measures; failure to provide required information or filing false or misleading information; or actions or inaction that shows a lack of commitment to the program.

In other instances, "which may not be as egregious, but are nonetheless significant," a company may be temporarily suspended or have privileges taken away, such as FAST lane access and allowances in the risk assessment process. Conducting a post incident analysis to determine the circumstances that led to the violation may also be required.

These companies will have an opportunity to resume membership once it comes into compliance with program requirements. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis, says CBP.

Also, to be reinstated into the program after an incident or violation, the company must agree to a corrective action plan, which identifies specific objectives and time frames within which those objectives should be reached.

In addition, the company must consent to un-announced visits by C-TPAT staff to monitor progress. In the case of a failed validation, the company must demonstrate that it has successfully addressed all vulnerabilities and complied with all other requirements before being fully reinstated.

Companies that are suspended or removed may appeal this decision to CBP headquarters. Appeals should include all relevant information which demonstrates how the company has addressed the issues which resulted in the suspension or removal, or provide corrected factual information in the case where a company claims that a mistake of fact or other misunderstanding has resulted in the suspension or removal.

CBP claims it will decide the appeal "in a timely fashion."


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