New AEO criteria as a result of the Union Customs Code (UCC)

16 February 2017 - On 1 May 2016, the Union Customs Code (UCC) was introduced. The UCC replaced the Community Customs Code after a period of 20+ years. The UCC inter alia contains significant changes on the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) concept, which we will outline below.

First, the AEO status is no longer obtained via a certification process.  As of 1 May , the AEO status is awarded by means of a customs license. Second, there are only two types of AEO licenses: (AEO-C (customs simplifications) and AEO-S (Safety & Security). It is however possible to obtain a combined license. Third, specific (new) criteria were introduced concerning practical standards of competence and professional qualifications. 

Information document

The new criteria are elaborated in an Information Document of the European Commission and in an updated version of the AEO Guidelines. From these documents, it can be derived that the person in charge of the AEO’s customs affairs must at least have three years of practical experience in customs matters or is in possession of a qualification standard adopted by a European Standardization Body. According to the Information Document, such a qualification standard does not (yet) exist. 

Regarding the practical standards of competence, it is important that the person responsible for customs matters concluded specific training/education on EU customs legislation. This can be demonstrated in various ways. As these are new criteria, it is crucial for existing AEO’s to assess whether the conditions are (still) satisfied post 1 May 2016. Non-compliance can result in suspension of the AEO-status or even a revocation, which can have a major impact on existing customs licenses and accompanying guarantees.

More information?

If you would like to know more about this topic and/or other customs matters, please contact Martin Ouwehand, Partner Customs & International Trade by email or by phone +31 (0)88 277 15 04 or Eline Polak, Partner Customs & VAT by email or by phone +31 (0)88 277 23 25. They will be pleased to help. 

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