Trade & investment

ICC Recommendations on Authorized Economic Operators

  • 11 November 2016

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) released business recommendations on Authorized Economic Operators at the WCO 3rd Global AEO Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs) programmes deliver tangible cost-saving advantages to companies of all sizes and sectors by facilitating cross-border trade and streamlining traders’ relationships with local Customs administrations. Under AEO programs, exporters benefit from stronger partnerships with Customs agencies, in exchange for reduced inspections on goods and quicker clearance times at borders. Such programmes also expedite administrative efficiency within Customs administrations, where resources can subsequently be reallocated towards inspections of unknown high-risk cargo. As of April 2017, 90 AEO programmes have been formally established worldwide, and continue to grow as business communities identify the opportunities for enhanced trade facilitation.

Despite the economic incentives of AEO programme implementation, the benefits for companies are not always self-evident, as the application processes are oftentimes burdensome.

In this Policy Statement, ICC sets out eight central recommendations for successful AEO programmes, which encourage policy makers to offer clear benefits; follow the WCO SAFE Framework; complement existing programmes; recognize AEO status beyond Customs; open AEO status to all; ensure Customs capacity; design programmes with business; and facilitate mutual recognition. In addition, ICC calls upon the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to reconcile the principle of the AEO with the principle of the Authorized Operator as included in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

ICC underlines that AEO programmes should not in any way diminish trade facilitation for all traders or jeopardise access of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to global value chains.

See related ICC webstory: ICC sets out recommendations fo successful Authorized Economic Operators programmes.