AEO – First Eight Years of Implementation

Between November, 29 and December, 2, 2016 the European Commission organised its first Workshop on the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme in Senec, Slovakia.  The workshop involved 155 participants from the European Commission, World Customs Organization, Member States, non-EU countries having a mutual recognition agreement with the EU on AEO (such as China and the US), and trade.

The discussions proved that after eight years of the AEO implementation there is still room for improvement. Most companies recognise only limited benefits of the programme. And while considering it as an investment, the return on this investment does not show satisfactory results. Mutual recognition by customs authorities of the AEO authorisation is underdeveloped for a moment. Customs authorities often find it impossible to grant the benefits of mutual recognition because their requirements are not always properly met.

AEO could become more important if the coordination between customs and other agencies was extended. This coordination should include granting of the authorisation, supervision, and benefits. “AEO is still too much transaction-based and should move towards a more system-based approach with real collaboration on supervision,” the European Shippers’ Council (ESC) stated in its keynote speech.  ESC messages were perceived very positively and the European Commission took them aboard for the future policy on AEO.