The wrong way to build C-TPAT

I completely agree with Peter Tirschwell's column ("The changing color of C-TPAT," Feb. 24-March 2 issue) on Customs' use of CF-28 forms to pressure companies to join the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

Many clients have received the same CF-28's he cites, and Customs definitely wants all potential applicants to become members of C-TPAT.

In my opinion, it is an improper use of the CF-28 (Request for Information form), and such a practice should be terminated. Customs, through its various port directors, has sent a cover letter signed by the port director, with various informational materials to clients advising them of existence and benefits of C-TPAT. That is the proper way to encourage membership.

I do encourage companies to participate in C-TPAT, although as I stated in the Dec. 9, 2002, issue of the Florida Shipper magazine, I remain skeptical about the effectiveness of such a program to detect a weapon of mass destruction from being imported into the United States.

Peter A. Quinter

Customs and International Trade Department

Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.