Whilst it is now over a year since the UK left the EU Customs Union, the fall out is still being felt and we continue to experience a high volume of enquiries. As a result we are operating on a 5 working day response time. Thank you for your patience.

Your decision to apply for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) or not is based on whether it benefits the business against costs of applying for, and maintaining, the required AEO standard.

Although AEO is not mandatory at the moment, the Modernised Customs Code (MCC), introduced in 2013, will, by mid-2016. require a guarantee to be lodged if a business wants to use any of Customs' facilitation schemes unless the business has or can demonstrate it operates to AEO standard.

In addition, there are many benefits to applying for AEO.

The MCC means that businesses holding, or wishing to apply for, Customs simplifications require AEO status. These include:-

  • Businesses that wish to apply for a Customs special procedure, such as inward processing, Customs warehouse and temporary storage.
  • A business wishing to apply for a single authorisation across more than one member state.
  • Any business that wants self-assessment and centralised clearance.

AEO recognition enables your business to have consignments fast-tracked through Customs controls and prioritised over non-AEOs if selected for examination. In addition, attaining an AEO allows you to opt to use a reduced data set when supplying entry or exit summary declarations, and includes carriers and freight forwarders.

As well as this, attaining AEO in one member state is recognised across the world. Over 70 countries are included in the AEO initiative allowing your business to expand into new territories under a mutual 'approved supplier' framework.

Our advice would be to apply for a full AEO certificate (AEOF) so your business receives the maximum number of benefits available. Some businesses may only need to apply for a safety and security certificate (AEOS) or Customs simplification certificate (AEOC), which means if you wanted to take advantage of all the benefits at a later date, you would have to apply for the certificate you do not hold.

If you choose to opt out of applying for AEO now, then our advice is to do so on an 'informed basis'.

But if AEO is business critical it is worth planning for now because the nearer June 2016 becomes, the more it is expected a rush is to occur as other businesses race to meet the criteria.

If you're not sure whether your business will benefit from AEO or a full AEO certificate, contact The Customs People, a team of leading experts who have helped many businesses get their AEO certificate.

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