What you need to know about AEO

AEO – or Authorised Economic Operator certification – is a worldwide initiative that very few UK businesses know much about at the moment, but this is likely to change in the near future.

Companies that have AEO status have a significant advantage in international trade as it is an internationally recognised mark of quality that signifies that the company’s role within an international supply chain is secure. By secure here we mean that the company has been proven to be efficient and compliant with customs controls and procedures.

So when trying to sell into competitive international supply chains, particularly those in which goods or parts being moved have to be customs compliant to move over borders, AEO certification will be a key assurance that your business is a secure supplier.

AEO and the EU

Currently, as part of the single market and customs union, having AEO status is advantageous for selling into non-EU markets – especially the USA. Post-Brexit it could become even more important as further controls are potentially introduced.

It is not a mandatory requirement at the moment, and not likely to become one in the immediate future, but the EU is encouraging organisations who export outside of the EU to sign up.

aeo status

Lagging behind our EU counterparts 

The UK currently trails its EU counterparts with only 537 AEO registered companies; this is compared to Germany with 6031, the Netherlands with 1514, and France with 1438 (as of February 2017).

Germany and the Netherlands have larger logistics sectors than the UK, which may play role a play in this. There is nonetheless concern that the UK’s exporters could lose out to international competitors if AEO gains greater international popularity and sway in supply chain decisions.

Who can get AEO status

Registration is open to all businesses in the EU involved in trade with non-EU countries. This includes:

  • Exporters
  • Manufacturers
  • Importers
  • Logistics operators
  • Carriers
  • Freight forwarders
  • Customs age

To qualify the business must be established in the EU, have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number and be actively involved in customs operations.

Get support in getting AEO certification

Do you have questions about AEO assessment?  Contact us to find out how we can support you – call 01733 404419 or email [email protected] 

And for further information on the benefits of getting it, read this Institute of Export & International Trade guide.





Topics: Customs Procedures, Distribution, Documentation, Export Planning, Freight Forwarding, Legislation & Regulation, and Transport & Logistics
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