CBP Outlines Trusted Trader Pilot, Will Begin Accepting Applications June 16

CBP will begin accepting applicants to its Trusted Trader program pilot on June 16, it said in a notice announcing the pilot and outlining the benefits and responsibilities associated with participation. The long-awaited pilot combines CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) supply chain security program with its Importer Self Assessment (ISA) import compliance program. Participating importers will have to meet increased recordkeeping and reporting requirements, but will receive benefits like reduced targeting, partial release of held shipments, and the option to be exempt from Non-Intrusive Inspections.

CBP says the Trusted Trader program will “strengthen security, identify low-risk trade entities, and increase overall efficiency of trade, by segmenting risk and processing by account.” The program is meant to enhance cooperation between government agencies, while aligning with other Authorized Economic Operator programs around the world. Participation is open to U.S. and non-resident Canadian importers, including those that don’t currently participate in CTPAT or ISA. CBP is even looking specifically for one or more importers that don’t currently participate in any CBP partnership programs, it said. CBP says companies still have the option to apply for or participate exclusive in C- TPAT, and importers may also continue to apply for ISA and the ISA-PS pilot programs.

Application Period Opens June 16

CBP says it will begin accepting applications for the Trusted Trader pilot on June 16, and will begin selecting applicants no later than July 16. To apply, send an email to TrustedTrader@cbp.dhs.gov with the subject line “Trusted Trader Program Test Application”. The email must include the name and contact information of an employee of the applicant and the company’s importer of record number. If a company is provisionally selected, it will have to complete the Trusted Trader program application and receive a site visit from CBP. The company will then be notified of CBP’s decision on its participation within 90 days.

U.S. and Non-Resident Canadian Importers Eligible; Two Years of Importing History Required

To be eligible to participate in the pilot, a company must be an active U.S. importer or non-resident Canadian importer. In addition, eligible participants must have a valid continuous importation bond filed with CBP; at least two years of importing history; and meet CTPAT Importer Security Criteria, among other things.

Benefits Include Reduced FDA Targeting, Expanded Reconciliation, Partial Release, No NIIs

Once a company is participating in the pilot, it will receive all of the importer benefits of CTPAT and
ISA. On top of that, the company will receive other benefits in return for participation, as follows:

  • Reduced FDA targeting/examination risk score
  • Penalty offsets
  • Retroactive flagging for reconciliation up to 60 days prior to the date of liquidation, if the
  • company also participates in the Reconciliation Prototype.
  • Reduction in foreign-trade zone on-site inspections.
  • Exemption from on-site visits from drawback specialists.
  • Drawback claimants will have no more than one full desk review per year
  • An optional exemption from random Non-Intrusive Inspections (NIIs)
  • Quarterly submission of Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers
  • CBP processing of post-entry amendments on unliquidated entries within 90 days
  • The ability to choose an exam location other than at the port of arrival
  • Release of cleared portions of shipments held for examination

Also, for companies that participate in the product safety portion of the Trusted Trader pilot, CPSC will provide additional benefits, said CBP. These include reduced product safety tests; priority “front of the line” product testing; a product-specific CPSC point of contact who can assist in providing National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) product codes; access to special training; and the option of destroying products instead of requesting redelivery to CBP.

Pilot Participants Must Meet New Requirements on Recordkeeping, Reporting, Etc.

However, participants will also have new responsibilities associated with the pilot. These duties include compliance with CBP, FDA and CPSC regulations, as well as additional record keeping and compliance with CTPAT Importer Security Criteria and other CTPAT requirements. Other requirements for participants in the pilot include:

  • Notification to CBP of major changes to corporate structure, suspicious activities or security
  • breaches, and any major changes that may affect supply chain security.
  • Annual risk assessments.
  • Annual self-testing plan and corrective action in response to any errors and internal control
  • weaknesses found.
  • Submission of an Annual Notification Letter (ANL) and an Annual Security Profile Review to
  • CBP.

CBP says failure to meet the Trusted Trader pilot’s requirements or violations of other CBP regulations during participation may subject a participant to civil and criminal penalties, administrative sanctions, and liquidated damages. CBP may also expel participants from the pilot, although participants will have a chance to appeal.