Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programmes have been a global success and one constitute of the most successful trade facilitation models. The Programme provides businesses with an internationally recognised ‘quality mark’ indicating their commitment to security in the international supply chain, which in turn entitles them to preferential customs treatment. Together, AEO companies account for 80% of imports and exports in the EU. In October 2021, the businesses across the CEFTA economies agreed that a joint regional effort is needed to improve the overall conditions for AEO operators in the region and further promote the benefits of AEO programmes. The establishment of the Regional AEO Association was their response to these challenges.
It was officially launched in December with the presence of the representatives of Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD), global AEO experts, and representatives of the respected institutions and AEO companies from the CEFTA economies. A functional and effective AEO association is seen as a key enabler to the Customs-to-Business partnership. A strong AEO association allows the economic operators to present their challenges and solutions with one common, concerted and clear voice to customs administrations. At the same time, the AEO association provides Customs with a strong, reliable partner and sounding board to further develop the AEO programmes.