United States Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has posted to its website an announcement regarding the fi nal selection of third-party “validators” for the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (“CTPAT”) third-party validation pilot program.

The pilot program for use of third-party validators in China is in response to Section 218 of the SAFE Port Act, which required CBP to develop a one-year voluntary pilot program to test and assess the feasibility, costs and benefi ts of using third-party entities to conduct foreign validations. CBP’s inability to access Chinese manufacturers to perform the foreign C-TPAT validation presented a signifi cant problem for CBP.

As a result, many members of C-TPAT whose primary source for imported product was in China remained at Tier 1 status in the program, receiving the lowest level of benefi ts.

This pilot program represents the fi rst time that CBP will allow validations to be performed by commercial entities versus a Customs administration. The following companies have been selected by CBP to perform validations on CBP-selected C-TPAT importers that buy more than 75 percent of their imports from China:

  • ABS Group
  • Contecna
  • Det Norske Veritas
  • Intertek
  • Omega Compliance
  • Pinkerton
  • SGS North America
  • Sharp Global
  • TUV Rheinland

CBP will notify eligible C-TPAT participants in writing of the opportunity to participate in the pilot. Those opting to participate will be required to select one of the approved third-party validators within 30 days to initiate the process. The participant will be responsible for all associated costs and charges, and the CTPAT participant and third-party validator will be required to sign a confl ict of interest form.

Despite the use of third-party validators in China during the pilot program, it should be noted that it is solely within CBP’s discretion to validate a C-TPAT member. Upon completion of the validation, CBP will retain all decisions over the status of the C-TPAT participant.

A copy of the CBP news release can be found at http:// www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/import/commercial_enforcement/ ctpat/