The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and SARS will host a Regional Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Awareness Engagement Session from 29 to 31 May 2023 at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg to promote visibility and uptake of the AEO Programme within the SACU region.
This session, which is intended for Customs officials, partner government agencies, and the Private Sector, is also an opportunity to demonstrate partnership between the Private Sector and Government to ensure that the benefits offered by the AEO Programme provide greater access to African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) markets. The three-day engagement further aims to promote the AEO Programme among traders in order to create awareness about the accreditation programme to prospective authorised traders.
The AEO is a flagship programme that is envisaged to support industrialisation and the trade agenda; to enable the region to achieve improved administrative efficiencies including through digitisation, as well as automation of data exchange; to reduce the time and cost associated with cross-border trade; improve compliance and security of the supply chain; and enhance competitiveness of the SACU member states.
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) has adopted and prioritised the implementation of the AEO Programme to strengthen compliance, safety, and security within the supply chain. Consisting of five member states, including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Eswatini and Lesotho, SACU aims to address inefficiencies related to cross border movements amongst Customs and Partner Government Agencies.
The long-term impact of the AEO Programme includes improved revenue collection, reduction in entry and circulation of illicit trade within SACU, ease of facilitation of market access, and competitiveness of firms that are based in the SACU region.
To date, all SACU member states have established and are implementing their respective AEO Programmes, with a total of 176 Accredited Economic Operators under the AEO Programme. As of 2 May 2023, the uptake in member states is as follows: Botswana (3); Eswatini (2); Lesotho (10); Namibia (1); and South Africa (160).
SARS aims to achieve 300 accredited traders with AEO-accreditation status by the end of 2024. Of the current 160 authorised traders, 155 possess AEO-Compliance (AEO-C) and 5 AEO-Safety (AEO-S) accreditation.
Public engagements that create awareness about the accreditation programme to prospective new authorised traders are of significant importance, not only for South Africa but also for African countries alike to foster bilateral relations while keeping up with the changing dynamics of the international supply chain.
Source: SA Revenue Service (SARS)
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