AEO – Authorised Economic Operator

Author:Ms Anita Machin and Florian Hanslik
Profession:PrimeTax AG

The security of international goods and service supply chains, as well as the associated statutory requirements for cross-border freight traffic, is an ongoing point of discussion - especially after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Numerous countries have enacted provisions to secure supply chains and, in particular, introduced the status of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). Many companies are now wondering whether this status is worthwhile for their own businesses.

An ,Authorised Economic Operator' has special status: In an international supply chain, it is considered to be a particularly reliable and trustworthy business partner, because it complies with certain security standards that have been verified by the relevant customs authority. Economic operators may claim certain benefits under customs clearance through AEO certification by the competent customs administration. In return, the efficiency of the supply chain should improve and ultimately the costs should be reduced.

AEO status in the EU

In the EU, the status can be granted in three versions as of January 1, 2008:

AEO ,Customs Simplification' (AEOC) certificate AEO ,Security and Safety' (AEOS) certificate AEO ,Customs Simplifications / Security and Safety' (AEOF) certificate All parties involved in an international supply chain (manufacturer, exporter, freight forwarder, warehouse keeper, customs agent, carrier, importer and others) who are domiciled in the customs territory of the Union can be certified with the AEO status. The criteria are the same for all economic operators. However, the status cannot be given to an entire group, but rather only to a single company.

Is the status recognised internationally?

The mutual recognition of the AEO status beyond the borders of the customs territory is a key element of the

framework standardisation by the World Customs Organization in order to safeguard and facilitate global trade. The EU has concluded agreements on the mutual recognition of AEO status with Norway, Switzerland, Japan,

Andorra, the US and China. Further negotiations with other major trading partners (e.g. Canada) are currently under way or will be established in the near future.

Does the AEO status also exist in Switzerland?

While three types of authorisation are possible in the EU, Switzerland only has one AEO status which is comparable to the AEOS certificate (security and safety) of the EU. An AEOC certificate, especially as a basis for further authorisations...

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