EU – USA: Mutual recognition of AEO and C-TPAT

Facilitation of trade with the USA. A new international agreement ensures the mutual recognition of trustworthy economic operators and thus facilitates access to simplified customs formalities for companies.

An international agreement was signed between the US and the EU on 4 May 2012, dealing with the mutual recognition of trustworthy traders in the supply chain. The agreement thus secures advantages for EU economic operators for exports to the United States. They are offered discounts, the prospect of quicker checks and less effort in customs clearance. In return, trustworthy companies from the USA (status: C-TPAT – “US-Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism”) receive preferential conditions on import into the Community territory.

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status

Since 2008, companies in the Community have been able to request that they be granted Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status. This is regulated in Article 5a of the Customs Code (CC). Authorised economic operators are granted relief in customs formalities because of increased confidence in them. The status is recognised in the other Member States. However, in order to obtain Authorised Economic Operator status, an authorisation procedure must be completed. The admission to the AEO requires above all:

  • Compliance with customs regulations in the last 3 years,
  • Existence of a satisfactory accounting system,
  • Compliance with safety standards,
  • Securing solvency

So far, however, many companies have not yet realized the economic benefits of being licensed as an AEO, as only minor advantages have been seen in practice. That is why only 5,000 European companies have applied for AEO status, even if the trend is rising. However, the mutual recognition of AEO and C-TPAT should at least bring advantages for the US business.

AEO / C-TPAT Recognition Information

Anyone seeking up-to-date information on the recognition of the AEO and C-TPAT security programmes will also find it in a document issued by the European Commission and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The mutual recognition document can be found here: Frequently Asked Questions about C-TPAT and AEO Recognition

 

Lawyer Dr. Tristan Wegner

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