Series 5 Back to Brexit Basics – Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status

Jul 03, 2018

Series four looked at the EU customs regime and how it applies to trade with countries outside a customs union with the EU or where a free trading agreement is in place.  This series examines some procedures that are currently in place within the EU customs regime to make customs administration more simplified in certain instances.

Authorised Economic Operator status

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status is a certified authorisation issued by customs administrations in the EU for traders involved in customs declarations which allows a trader to be recognised worldwide as a safe, secure and compliant trader in international trade. 

AEO is not mandatory but it does give faster access to certain simplified customs procedures and in some cases, shipments can be fast-tracked through customs procedures.  The AEO status also indicates that a trader’s customs controls and procedures are efficient and compliant.

According to the European Commission, other benefits which arise are:

  • Priority treatment if selected for checks
  • Possibility to request a specific place for customs controls
  • Lower inspection costs
  • Reduced theft and losses
  • Fewer delayed shipments
  • Improved planning
  • Improved customer service

There are generally three types of AEO status.  Traders authorised for customs simplification (an AEOC), traders authorised for security and safety (AEOS) or a combination of the two. The AEO status granted by one member state is recognised by the customs authorities in all member states.

Any trader established in the EU who is part of an international supply chain and is involved in customs activities can apply to their country’s customs authority for AEO status (so the Revenue Commissioners for traders established in Ireland).  For example, manufacturers, exporters, warehouse operators, clearance agents, importers or freight forwarders can all apply for AEO status. They just need an EORI number to do so.  

Traders require AEO status if they wish to qualify for, among other things, moving goods in temporary storage between different member states without attracting multiple customs charges.

The EU AEO database allows anyone to check who holds an AEO status, what type it is, and the date and country of issue.  AEOs are entitled to use the AEO logo as long as they have a valid AEO status.  The logo is provided by the issuing Customs Authorities (the Revenue Commissioners in the case of Irish established traders).

Revenue.ie has further details about AEOs.