Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status is an internationally recognised mark of
quality for companies involved in the international supply chain. AEO status provides
reassurance to current and prospective clients that you operate sound business
There are two types of AEO status:
• Authorised Economic Operator Customs Simplification (AEOC)
• Authorised Economic Operator Security and Safety (AEOS)
Businesses may apply for AEOC, AEOS, or both (referred to as AEOF).
Who Can Apply?
The basic criteria are that applicants must:
• Be a legal entity
• Be established in Great Britain or Northern Ireland
• Be actively involved in customs operations and international trade
• Have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
Applicants for AEO must be involved in the international supply chain. This involvement may be physical (e.g. manufacturers, carriers, warehouse-keepers) or electronic (customs brokers, agents).
There is no requirement related to the size of a business, so anyone from sole traders to large multinationals can apply for AEO status. The size of the business will be considered when HMRC assesses AEO criteria. For example, a small company with five employees would not be expected to maintain the same level of internal written procedures as an enterprise business with thousands of employees.
Applicants will be expected to have written procedures in place covering their activities in the international supply chain (these must be supplied with the application), as well as safety & security policies and infrastructure appropriate to the type of status being applied for.
Note that HM Revenue & Customs will only assess and authorise a UK-based entity – those wishing for accreditation in multiple countries must apply to the relevant customs authorities. Applications can be made here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-authorised-economic-operator-status.
Through a series of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), AEO Safety & Security status is recognised as a quality mark by numerous major international customs authorities – including the EU, China, USA, and Japan. With the ever-increasing focus on security and robust controls, businesses may stipulate that their partners in the international supply chain hold AEO status.
• A lower risk score when it comes to potential customs audits and controls.
• Guaranteed reduction waiver up to the level of your deferment account –
particularly useful where the applicant intends to operate a customs warehouse.
• A faster application process for customs special procedures and simplifications.
• Priority treatment for consignments subject to customs controls.
• A reduction in the amount of information required on entry and exit summary declarations.
• A lower risk score, reducing the likelihood of physical or documentary controls.
In addition, many companies find that the process of preparation for an AEO application leads to the tightening of business processes and helps drive internal compliance.
How Langdon Can Help
Our customs consultancy service can provide advice and support to businesses looking to obtain AEO status. This could include training for key staff, assistance in implementing appropriate procedures and help with the application and authorisation process itself.
Dale Hawson – Senior Customs Consultant