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What is AEO?

Businesses that presently trade with the EU block may like to consider applying for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status. The following notes explain why this may be helpful.

AEO status is an internationally recognised quality mark that shows:

  • your role in the international supply chain is secure
  • your customs controls and procedures are efficient and meet EU standards

It’s not mandatory, but gives quicker access to some simplified customs procedures and, in some cases, the right to ‘fast-track’ your shipments through some customs and safety and security procedures.

AEO status is for businesses that:

  • are a legal entity
  • are established in the territory of one of the 28 member states of the EU
  • are actively involved in customs operations and international trade
  • have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number

Anyone involved in the international supply chain that carries out customs related activities in the EU can apply for AEO status, regardless of the size of their business.

This includes:

  • manufacturers
  • exporters
  • freight forwarders
  • warehouse keepers
  • customs agents
  • carriers
  • importers
  • others (for example, port operators, secure freight parking operatives and airline loaders)

Types of AEO authorisation and their benefits

You can apply for AEO status customs simplification (AEOC), AEO status security and safety (AEOS), or both.

AEOC status

If you hold AEOC status, you could also benefit from:

  • a faster application process for customs simplifications and authorisations
  • reductions or waivers of comprehensive guarantees
  • completing self-assessment (when implemented)

Whatever the outcome from the current Brexit impasse, AEO status does seem to offer advantages to importers and exporters.