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What does authorisation involve?

There are three types of AEO status:

"The EU is working in partnership with US Customs and Border Protection for AEO and CTPAT so it will become especially important for those trading with the USA. Any clients wishing to review the US security can get assistance from Customs network and our long term partners Sims Sims are unique in having provided ALL the training for operational US Customs staff in CTPAT techniques"

Authorised Economic Operators


An AEO is a business involved in the international supply chain which has proved themselves to be compliant and trustworthy, and where applicable, safe and secure. AEO status entered into EU law on 1 January 2008.

Why was AEO introduced?

The introduction of AEO status is the EU response to the need to secure international supply chains and the introduction of Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in the USA. AEO is based on, and is compatible with, the World Customs Organisation’s SAFE Framework of Standards which is being implemented by Customs authorities across the globe. The criteria for a Customs simplification AEO also provide a common and harmonised set of criteria for granting customs simplifications across the EU.

Why should a trader become an AEO?

AEO is not mandatory. The decision on whether you should apply or not is a commercial one that you need to take once you have assessed the benefits for your business against the costs of applying for, and maintaining, the AEO standard.

AEO status is, in effect, a kite-mark for a business. It shows business partners that you are trusted by the authorities to meet a certain level of compliance with customs legislation, that it has the appropriate record keeping standings and financial solvency, and that it maintains appropriate security and safety standards. It will enable you to trade more effectively and more efficiently with other businesses in the international supply chain. It will also ensure that other AEOs will want its business rather than risk trading with a non-AEO authorised company.

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