Brexit Bites, 16 April 2018

Apr 16, 2018

Negotiations resume this week in Brussels with three days of talks pencilled in between EU and UK negotiators.  The future relationship makes up part of the agenda.  Also, next in our series of getting back to the basics of Brexit, we examine some of the procedures that are currently in place within the EU’s customs regime that may make customs administration simpler.

Talks this week

Further Brexit talks have been pencilled in this week in Brussels with two days dedicated to discussing the remaining undecided issues within the Withdrawal Agreement.  On Wednesday there will be meetings to discuss Northern Ireland and also a slot for talks on the future trade relationship.   Further discussions have been provisionally scheduled for the week beginning 30 April.

You can see the timetable on the UK government website.

EU statistics starting to exclude the UK

Following requests from users, Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office has started to publish statistics which exclude the UK for certain indicators such as GDP growth rate, unemployment and population.

EU citizenship

EU member states granted citizenship to around 995,000 people in 2016, an increase from 841,000 in 2015.   Citizens of Morocco were granted the most EU citizenships, followed by citizens of Albania and India.  Read the Eurostat news release for further details.

Back to Brexit Basics

Last week we 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 week we look at 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, HMRC for traders in the UK). 

For example, manufacturers, exporters, warehouse operators, clearance agents, importers or freight forwarders can all apply for AEO status. They just need an Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification (“EORI”) number to do so. An EORI number is an unique identification number that companies are required to use when exchange data with Customs in all EU Member States   

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 relevant issuing Customs Authorities. and GOV.UK both have further details about AEOs.

Tune in next week for more Back to Brexit Basics.

Read all of our Brexit updates on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.