The Broker Known Importer Program (BKIP) focuses on the unique relationship between Customs brokers and their importer clients. The program allows Customs brokers to communicate to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that their customer is known to them and has acknowledged their Customs compliance responsibilities.
- What is BKIP?
A: BKIP stands for the Broker Known Importer Program. It is a voluntary CBP program that enables a broker to transmit a flag at the time of entry indicating that an importer has met a minimum standard of entry compliance. This may result in a lower incidence of reviews and requests for information from CBP.
- What are the benefits?
A: At present, CBP has not identified measurable, specific benefits of participation in the program. However, as BKIP is primarily focused on matters that are not directly associated with the release and entry of cargo, benefits will likely result in a reduced number of post entry inquiries from Customs and a lower risk of audits.
- Who can participate?
A: The program is open to any importer whose broker has engaged them and determined that they are maintaining an acceptable level of compliance.
- What if I choose not to participate?
A: Participation in BKIP is a decision that must be made individually by every company based on their own unique set of circumstances and priorities. Participation is considered a positive indicator, but if a company decides not to participate, it would be a null or neutral indication and would not be viewed as negative by CBP.
- Are there specific questions and/or required documentation to participate in the program?
A: No. Each broker will make a determination, on a case-by-case basis, whether they feel they can “vouch” for their client. However, the NCBFAA has created a suggested list of topics to discuss which may be helpful in making this determination. Based on NCBFAA’s recommendations, Deringer has created a document that will help us determine customers’ eligibility for BKIP.
- Is BKIP simply C-TPAT for small to mid-sized companies?
A: No. Unlike C-TPAT which primarily focuses on aspects of physical security, BKIP focuses on issues such as valuation, classification, and right to make entry.
- Will Customs approve or audit participants?
A: No, but Customs may audit the records of brokers who choose to participate in the program. By transmitting the BKIP flag at time of entry, the broker is indicating to CBP that they have evaluated the importer and have documented this process. This ensures that a broker does not simply flag clients’ entries without having a discussion with them regarding their compliance with CBP regulations.
- Is there any cost?
A: No. BKIP is unlike C-TPAT, which may have up-front costs associated with infrastructure upgrades and additional supply chain security, and it is dissimilar to ISA, which mandates additional auditing and documentation procedures. If an importer complies with basic principles of compliance and reasonable care, there may be no additional costs involved in participation.