Authorised Economic Operators (AEO)
Authorised economic operators (AEO)
In April 2005, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union passed an amendment to the Customs Code (Regulation (EC) No 648/2005) with the objective of increasing security when importing and exporting goods into and out of the European Community while also simplifying customs clearance for ‘authorised economic operators’ (AEOs). The details of this security amendment were regulated in the amendment to the Customs Code Implementing Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1875/2006).
Measures should now be gradually implemented by the end of 2010 to harmonise customs controls and improve the protection of the EU’s external borders. The concept of the ‘secure supply chain’ will increasingly affect customs administrations and operators involved in customs activities.
The concept of the authorised economic operator (AEO) should simplify customs clearance for economic operators while also making it possible to implement customs controls more efficiently and in a more targeted manner and to tighten authorisation procedures for customs simplifications.
AEO certificates since 1 January 2008
Since 1 January 2008, economic operators based in the EU and certain third country operators have been able to apply for AEO status. AEO status is awarded by the customs authorities in the form of certificates and has the advantages of facilitation with regard to customs regulations and/or simplifications with regard to security-related customs controls. Before certifying a company with AEO status, the customs authorities must review whether the economic operator has previously properly observed customs regulations, has a satisfactory accounting system, is demonstrably solvent and has suitable security standards.
In addition to the binding legal regulations, the Commission has also published guidelines to ensure the harmonised assessment and evaluation of AEO criteria by customs authorities throughout the EU.
The following AEO certificates can be awarded:
- ‘AEOC’ – for customs simplifications
- ‘AEOS’ – for facilitation with regard to security-related customs controls
- ‘AEOF’ – for a combination of customs simplifications and facilitation with regard to security-related customs control