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Celebrating 10 Years of the EU Authorised Economic Operator Programme

Posted by Emma Turner

8/27/18 4:03 AM

Celebrating 10 Years of the EU Authorised Economic Operator Programme

It’s hard to believe that the AEO program has been available to EU traders for 10 years. The program was originally introduced in January 2008, after six years of planning and development.

So, what else has happened in the last 10 years?

  • Spain won the Euro Football Competition in 2008 and retained it in 2012. They were the first country to retain the title in consecutive tournaments.
  • The EU grew to 28 Member States when Croatia joined in 2013.
  • In addition to the EU, AEO programmes or their equivalent have been launched in over 15 countries worldwide, including South Korea, New Zealand, Canada, and China.
  • The EU’s AEO Authorisation programme has gained mutual recognition with similar programmes in the USA (CT-PAT), Japan (AEO), Switzerland (AEO) and Norway (AEO).
  • Australia participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 2015 to celebrate 60 years of the Eurovision Song Contest.
  • EU Customs Law was reviewed and modernised with the implementation of the Union Customs Code (UCC) in May 2016.
  • The UK voted to leave the EU (Brexit) in June 2016.
  • Portugal won the Eurovision Song Contest for the 1st time in 2017, having participated 49 times.

Clearly, I am a fan of Eurovision, but back to AEO for the moment. Today, the EU has over 18,600 AEO authorisation holders, covering either or both the AEO-C (Customs and Accounting) or AEO-S (Safety and Security) licences.

After 10 years of the program being in place, and with Brexit on the horizon, many UK-based traders have posed the question to us whether or not AEO is worth applying for. Our answer is a resounding yes. Here’s why.

  1. While not certain, the UK government has made several indications that the UK will adopt the EU Union Customs Code as part of its national customs legislation.
  2. The UK has stated in its customs whitepaper that they will seek mutual recognition between AEO in the UK and in other jurisdictions.
  3. The AEO-S programme is not unique to the EU. It is based on World Customs Organization Safe Framework standards, which have been adopted by many countries to assist in securing the international supply chain.
  4. The AEO-C licence is used as a precursor to obtaining customs simplifications under the UCC, such as Customs Warehousing or Inward Processing Relief. Both programs are integral duty savings programs that mitigate duty payments for goods imported into the UK that will ultimately not remain in that customs territory.

Here at Tradewin, we have a team of experts that can guide and assist your business through the AEO programme, from assessing your readiness to join, to documenting your procedures, to assisting with the AEO application submission. Contact our team today for a chat.

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Written by Emma Turner

Before joining Tradewin in 2018, Emma worked for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in the UK for 27 years; with the last 19 years being in the Customs & International Trade department. Emma brings extensive knowledge and experience in AEO, EU Law, Customs Procedures and Valuation. During her time in HMRC, Emma assessed over 80 companies through their AEO-C and AEO-S authorisations, including companies within manufacturing, freight and retail sectors. In addition, Emma also brings an insight on how customs authorities process applications and apply the law for approvals and authorisations within the Customs & International Trade sector. Emma is based in London, UK.