What is an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)?

The AEO Programme is primarily a trade facilitation measure. Operators established in the EU, that meet specific qualifying criteria, may apply for and receive AEO certification. The aim of the AEO Programme is to enhance security through granting recognition to reliable traders and encourage best practice at all levels in the international supply chain.

 Who can apply for AEO status?

Application for AEO status is open to all economic operators established within the customs territory of the EU. Article 1 of Regulation 1875/2006 defines an economic operator as a ‘’person who in the course of his business, is involved in activities covered by customs legislation’’. Therefore, if a person is not directly involved in importing/exporting he may not be an economic operator as defined in the Regulation.

 What are the benefits of AEO status?  

  • AEOs will be recognised worldwide as safe, secure and compliant business partners in international trade.
  • AEOs will be given a lower risk score in risk analysis systems when profiling.
  • If physical controls are to be conducted, AEOs will be given priority treatment.
  • Mutual recognition of AEO programmes under Joint Customs Co-operation Agreements could result in faster movement of goods through third country borders.
  • AEOs will be in a stronger position to benefit from simplified procedures.

 As a consequence of increasing their safety and security standards, AEO traders may also benefit from the following:

  • Reduced theft and losses
  • Fewer delayed shipments
  • Improved planning
  • Improved customer loyalty
  • Reduced security and safety incidents
  • Reduced crime and vandalism
  • Improved security and communication between supply chain partners