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Authorised Economic Operators (AEO)

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 1st January 2008.

Why was AEO introduced?

The introduction of AEO status was 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.

What does authorisation involve?

There are three types of AEO status:

  • Customs Simplifications;

  • Security and Safety;

  • Customs Simplifications/Security and Safety: