Authorised Economic Operator

The Authorised Economic Operator programme is ideal for businesses who want to streamline their import/export operations after Brexit.

As you will see from the notes below, the approval process itself is very detailed and time-consuming. Applications for AEO status are also likely to increase as businesses become aware of its benefits. So you should consider applying sooner rather than later, if you decide the programme would be suitable for your needs.

What is an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)?

The Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme is based on the Customs-to-Business partnership introduced by the World Customs Organisation (WCO). Traders who voluntarily meet a wide range of criteria work in close cooperation with customs authorities to assure the common objective of supply chain security and are entitled to enjoy benefits throughout the EU.

The programme, which aims to enhance international supply chain security and to facilitate legitimate trade, is open to all supply chain actors. It covers economic operators authorised for customs simplification (AEOC), security and safety (AEOS) or a combination of the two.

On the basis of Article 39 of the Union Customs Code (UCC), the AEO status can be granted to any economic operator meeting the following common criteria:

Conditions and criteria AEOC AEOS
Compliance with customs legislation and taxation rules and absence of criminal offences related to the economic activity X X
Appropriate record keeping X X
Financial solvency X X
Proven practical standards of competence or professional qualifications X
Appropriate security and safety measures X

What are the Benefits of AEO Status?

Benefit AEOC AEOS
Easier admittance to customs simplifications X
Fewer physical and document-based controls

  • related to security & safety
  • related to other customs legislation
X X
Prior notification in case of selection for physical control (related to safety and security) X
Prior notification in case of selection for customs control (related to other customs legislation) X
Priority treatment if selected for control X X
Possibility to request a specific place for customs controls X X
Indirect benefits
(Recognition as a secure and safe business partner, Improved relations with Customs and other government authorities; Reduced theft and losses; Fewer delayed shipments; Improved planning; Improved customer service; Improved customer loyalty; Lower inspection costs of suppliers and increased co-operation etc)
X X
Mutual Recognition with third countries X

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