An important instrument for trade facilitation is the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) program. The AEO concept is based on the Customs-to-Business partnership introduced by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and makes international trade faster, cheaper and more efficient. The main principles of AEO program in CEFTA are laid down in the article 25 and Annex III of the CEFTA Additional Protocol 5 (“AP 5”).
The program, which aims to enhance international supply chain security and to facilitate legitimate trade, is open to all supply chain actors. It covers economic operators authorised for customs simplification (AEOC), security and safety (AEOS) or a combination of the two.
The Annex III of CEFTA AP 5 regulates the status of AEO in detail, as following:
- Criteria on granting the status;
- Benefits that are to be enjoyed by AEO holder;
- The rules for suspension, revocation, rejection and annulment of the AEO status of CEFTA Parties.
For more information on the Annex III of CEFTA Additional Protocol 5 please access the link: Additional Protocol 5.
Since the adoption of the CEFTA AP5, the work of the CEFTA Subcommittee on Customs and Rules of Origin focused on the implementation of AEO program in CEFTA parties and mutual recognition of AEOs programs. The Mutual recognition is a broad concept embodied within the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards. By mutual recognition customs administrations involved agree to recognize the AEO authorisations issued under the other programmes and to provide reciprocal benefits to AEOs of the other programmes. The main provisions on establishment of the validation procedure for the mutual recognition of AEOs programs in CEFTA are laid down in the Decision No 1/2019 on Establishing the validation procedure for the mutual recognition of CEFTA Parties’ national Authorised Economic Operators’ Programmes with regard to the safety and security (AEOS).
For more information on the decision please access the link: Decision No. 1/2019.
The benefits of the AEO MRA for traders are:
- reducing time and costs associated with cross-borders
- fewer security and safety related controls
- reducing cost and time delays through priority inspections when selected for controls
- business continuity mechanism.
Considering that Mutual Recognition of AEOs and the visibility of those economic operators benefiting from such recognition are key elements of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards to strengthen end-to-end security of supply chains and to multiply benefits for AEOs, the common logo for CEFTA Parties’ Authorised Economic Operators was adopted by the Decision no. 2/2020.
For more information on the decision please access the link: Decision No. 2/2020.