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Authorized Economic Operators

What are authorized economic operators (AEOs)?

AEOs are businesses and other entities certified by customs authorities to trade goods across borders under international supply chain security standards. An AEO status can provide increased confidence for customs authorities, trade partners, and customers. Your goods 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 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Accon, and Crossflight

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

You can apply for AEO status at 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 AEO Compendium 2020 Edition for more information on national 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. Course on AEO accreditation: ACTE International offers a training course to help you prepare for obtaining AEO accreditation with customs authorities. Access the training.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.