Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs)

What are authorized economic operators (AEOs)?

AEOs are businesses and other entities certified by Customs authorities to trade goods across borders utilizing international supply chain security standards. An AEO status can provide increased confidence for Customs authorities, trade partners, and customers. Your shipment can also receive priority clearance with Customs and be subject to fewer physical and documentation checks. If your product is selected for controls at the border, it will be given priority as an AEO consignment.  Learn more from the World Customs Organization’s SAFE Framework of Standards 

What do I need to do to benefit from AEO status? 

You can apply for AEO status with the Customs authorities in your country (if available). According to the World Customs Organization, there are currently 97 operational AEO programs worldwide, with 20 more under development (See the WCO Online AEO Compendium website for more information on national AEO programmes and Mutual Recognition Agreements on AEO programmes). 

Although different governments have different requirements for becoming an AEO, broadly a company must comply with national domestic registration laws; abide by customs and taxation requirements; maintain appropriate records; and practice required safety and security measures. 

Where can I learn more about AEO for my business? 

The World Customs Organization (WCO) offers a guide for small businesses that can help you learn more about the context and general aspects of AEOs. In additional, some institutions offer training and courses that can help you navigate the process around obtaining AEO status.

  1. The WCO AEO validation e-learning course: In this course, you will learn about the concept of AEO. A major goal of this course is to foster understanding between Customs and Economic Operators given that AEO benefits all parties involved. Access the course.
  2. The WCO SAFE Framework of Standards – AEO course: By the end of this lesson you should be able to: Name the kinds of businesses that are in scope to be AEOs;  list the benefits businesses and Customs can get from an AEO program; list the main criteria AEOs would need to satisfy in order to qualify; describe the main aspects of mutual recognition of AEOs. Access the course.
  3. Course on AEO accreditation: ACTE International offers a training course to help you prepare for obtaining AEO accreditation with Customs authorities. Access the training.
  4. E-learning course on AEO: The European Commission offers a 60-minute course on the AEO status process that could be useful for your business. Access the course.
  5. Case studies and country-specific AEO initiatives: The Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility website lists case studies and country-specific AEO initiatives under Article 7.7 of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.