Blog » WHY AND HOW TO BECOME AN AUTHORISED ECONOMIC OPERATOR?
WHY AND HOW TO BECOME AN AUTHORISED ECONOMIC OPERATOR?
22 September 2015
Becoming an authorised economic operator (AEO) in the European Union is an outstanding opportunity for international traders to make their import - export administration faster, more convenient and to reduce the custom clearance related costs. We present the main features of AEO status by answering the most frequently asked questions about this topic.
What is an AEO?
AEO is an economic operator that is deemed reliable in the context of his customs related operations, and therefore, is entitled to enjoy benefits throughout the EU.
There are several types of the AEO certificate depending on the fulfilled conditions and the provided advantages. The categories may be the followings:
- AEO certificate – customs simplifications (AEOC)
- AEO certificate – security and safety (AEOS)
- AEO certificate – customs simplifications/security and safety (AEOF)
Why is it beneficial to be an AEO?
The AEO status brings among other the following benefits to its holder:
- Easier admittance to customs simplifications
- Reduced data set for entry and exit summary declarations
- Fewer physical and document-based controls
- Priority treatment of consignments if selected for control
- Choice of the place of controls
- Recognised as a secure and safe business partner
- Improved relations with customs
- Improved relations and acknowledgement by other government authorities
- Mutual recognition: the AEO status granted by one EU Member State is recognised by the customs authorities in all Member States.
Who can be an AEO?
“Economic operator” means a person who, in the course of his business, is involved in activities covered by customs legislation. “Person” may mean both natural and legal person.
In case of multinational companies, “subsidiaries” that are considered to be individual legal persons according to the Member State’s company law AEO applications must be submitted by all the subsidiary companies wishing to get the AEO status.
However, a “branch” is an office/premise/another location of the company itself and forms part of the company's total assets and thus is not an individual legal person. In this case a single application has to be submitted by the parent company wishing to acquire the AEO status.
What are the conditions of obtaining AEO status?
There are four main requirements for obtaining an AEO status, which are the followings:
- an appropriate record of compliance with customs requirements,
- a satisfactory system of managing commercial and, where appropriate, transport records, which allows appropriate customs controls,
- proven financial solvency,
- appropriate security and safety standards (only in case of applying for AEOS or AEOF).
How to apply for an AEO certificate?
Application for an AEO certificate shall be made in writing or in an electronic form in accordance with the specimen set out in Annex 1C of Commission Regulation.
The application shall be submitted to one of the following customs authorities:
- the customs authority of the Member State where the applicant's main accounts related to the customs arrangements involved are held, and where at least part of the operations to be covered by the AEO certificate are conducted;
- the customs authority of the Member State where the applicant's main accounts related to the customs arrangements involved are accessible in the applicant's computer system by the competent customs authority using information technology and computer networks, and where the applicant's general logistical management activities are conducted, and where at least part of the operations to be covered by the AEO certificate are carried out.
Practical advice: even if there is no legal requirement that a self-assessment questionnaire has to be submitted together with the application, it is highly recommended that the applicant submits it at the earliest possible stage especially keeping in mind that the self-assessment questionnaire has been introduced with a view to speed up the process.
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