The Trusted Trader Program is about to expand, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The first phase eventually will incorporate trade compliance as well as supply chain security. The comment period on the proposed expansion ends August 26.
This change will transform the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program into a broader, authorized economic operator program with a foundation in importer self-assessment. This holds the promise of interfacing with similar programs in the U.S. and internationally, to create more comprehensive protection. CPB says mutual recognition programs with Mexico and China within the next 18 months. CBP has worked closely with Mexican officials to ensure that both countries use the same standards and, therefore, for Mexican C-TPAT certified truckers to use the Free and Secure Trade Lanes at U.S. border crossings.
Low-risk importers and partners may expect additional incentives to participate. CBP is asking for input to identify appropriate incentives. Questions include whether the extension will be useful, whether it will improve the quality and clarity of the information collected and whether it will minimize the burden of information collection
CBP currently is beginning to pilot its Importer Self-Assessment Pre-Certification (Broker ISA PC) test. A.M. Deringer is one of nine licensed customs brokerage firms selected to participate in the program, which enables importers to be evaluated by third parties. “Brokerage firms that wish to practice in this area will--to a great degree--simply confirm the credibility of their qualified client," notes Robert DeCamp, director of regulatory affairs and consulting at Deringer.
ISA pre-certifiers will provide importers with information on the ISA program and will expedite the ISA application process for those who choose to use the service. Moreover, pre-certifiers will evaluate importers’ Customs policies, procedures, and readiness to participate in ISA programs; the results of which will be submitted to CBP for evaluation. CBP recognizes the role brokers have played in endorsing CBP’s commercial initiatives, automation efforts, and security programs. As trusted partners, CBP hopes that brokers will act as a “force-multiplier” to facilitate and expedite legitimate trade, thus increasing the pool of trusted traders with minimal use of CBP resources.