What is an Authorised Economic Operator?
Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status, means that an organisation has a certification which is an internationally recognised sign of quality and facilitates trade between reliable operators.
By obtaining this credential, your organisation will be able to benefit from continued ease of passage when trading with the European Union.
This is hugely important for British traders given the fact the UK will fully exit the European Union at the end of this year (December 31st 2020), after which UK companies and traders will then be subject to more complex rules and procedures when exporting/importing goods to and from the EU.
There are two types of AEO certification that can be obtained:
AEO-S Safety and Security is focused on safety and security in the supply chain.
By obtaining this certification, you can benefit from your goods receiving priority treatment for customs control, reduced requirements for exit and entry summary declarations for countries outside the UK and EU, as well as mutual recognition with countries outside the EU.
AEO-C Customs Simplifications is a process for establishing internal quality management controls when it comes to customs compliance.
If your business wants to obtain both certifications and meets the relevant criteria for achieving them then there is also a combined certification called the AEO-F which encompasses both of these standards.
Why should my organisation achieve AEO certification?
The benefits can be summed up in two words, ‘continuity’ and ‘simplicity’. If your company is based in the UK, is trading with the EU and wishes to continue to do so as simply as it has been previously then the AEO certification will be crucial. Think of it as a passport for your goods and services that will allow continued, simple passage into the EU.
Such certification can ensure:
- Reduced paperwork and administration.
- Less delays when exporting/importing.
- Maximum security between supply-chain points.
- Consignments may be fast tracked through customs controls.
- Advantages when exporting to other global economies, not only the EU.
- A clear, competitive advantage over non-compliant organisations.
AEO also forms part of the mutual recognition agreement (MRA) under the WCOSAFE Framework of standards alongside the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).
There are of course some criteria that an operator must meet before AEO status can be granted, including:
- Correct record keeping.
- Financial solvency.
- Existing security and safety measures.
- Customs legislation and tax compliance.
- Proven professional competence.
While the process to achieve AEO status can be a little time-consuming, applications are likely to increase as businesses realise the importance of this certification post Brexit, so the time to get started with this is now.
To learn more about how AEO status could help your business moving forwards into 2021 and beyond, please read more at the Gov.uk website or contact Vassallo Associates today, we will be happy to advise further.