What is an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)?

WCO LogoAlthough in its infancy here in South Africa, I thought I should share an interesting research paper on AEO developments across the globe. First, let’s define what it means to have AEO status? AEO status is given to a company who is considered to be reliable in their Customs-related operations. This includes customs compliance, appropriate record-keeping, proven financial solvency and security and safety standards. In principle, there are 3 types of AEO certificates — security and safety, customs simplifications, and full which includes customs simplifications/security and safety.

If you’re curious about which countries currently have AEO programs, the WCO has put together a compendium of 30 programmes currently operating in 56 countries.

The list has been divided into three areas — operational AEO programmes, AEO programmes to be launched in the near future, and Customs compliance programmes. While technically not AEOs, Customs compliance programmes can be regarded as an initial step towards the establishment of an AEO programme. Besides providing basic information on AEO and Customs compliance programmes, the Compendium also includes a short overview of AEO authorization procedures and benefits offered by programmes. The latter should be useful to South African traders participating in SARS’ “Trusted Trader” programme. Click here to access the WCO AEO Compendium

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