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Authorised Economic Operator: Is now the time to apply?

07 August 2017

The introduction of the Union Customs Code and the trade implications of Brexit have made AEO a business ‘must have’ for many UK importers and exporters.

Authorised Economic Operator ‘AEO’

AEO is a voluntary, globally recognised supply chain accreditation introduced in the EU in 2008. It is available to any EU-established business involved in imports and/or exports.

Take-up of AEO amongst UK businesses has historically been lower than on other EU Member States, because the benefits of AEO then (faster clearance at port, international supply chain quality mark) did not give UK businesses a clear financial or supply chain advantage. However, with the introduction of new customs legislation in 2016 and Brexit, this has changed. AEO will now offer UK businesses both financial and supply chain benefits which cannot be ignored.

Implications of the Union Customs Code

The Union Customs Code (UCC) came into force on 1 May 2016. It creates a number of benefits which are only available to businesses with AEO. These include:

  • Reductions in financial guarantee levels, 70% for actual customs debt and 100% for potential customs debt, resulting in cost savings
  • Faster application process for some customs reliefs and simplifications
  • Mutual recognition arrangements with third countries (such as US), resulting in potential reduced broker costs
  • Consignment fast tracking through customs borders.         


Your next steps

For help and advice on how AEO status could benefit your business and how to achieve AEO certification, please get in touch with Tom Kivlehan or Juliet Wallwork.