AEO Handbook to Aid Customs Modernization Worldwide News Feed

May 21, 2010--Customs administrators in developing countries now have a practical, step-by-step guide to improving customs performance: the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program Implementation handbook.  Produced by Nathan Associates under the TCBoost project and in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the handbook was released at a WCO conference in Guatemala in April.

What is an authorized economic operator? Basically, anyone moving goods across borders who meets internationally recognized standards for supply chain security can be a part of an AEO program. AEOs include manufacturers, importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, consolidators, intermediaries, ports, airports, terminal operators, integrated operators, warehouses, and distributors. Through AEO programs, customs administrations work with traders to secure the supply chain while simplifying customs processes and improving customs controls and revenue flow.

The AEO handbook describes how to design and execute an AEO program in 11 steps, presents examples of best practices in countries that have AEO programs, and provides sample forms and documents from AEO programs now in operation.  The handbook is part of a series of guides that cover customs performance diagnostics and modernization programs. 

At the April conference, customs officials and representatives of the private sector and donor agencies discussed how AEO programs improve trade processes, shared their experiences with AEO programs and other customs reforms such as single windows and postclearance audits, and praised AEO programs for their “partnership approach” to improving compliance with customs requirements, supply chain security, and customs clearance costs and timing. 

Nathan Associates’ TCBoost staff led five workshops at the conference, two of them concentrating on how to use the handbook to implement an AEO program. They distributed 120 copies of the AEO handbook and previewed a handbook on postclearance audit to be released this summer.

The WCO and TCBoost are eager to provide the handbook to reformers in developing countries who can benefit from its practical approach.  Handbooks are available in Spanish as well as English. Click here for an electronic copy in English. 

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