June 15, 2016—A report by Nathan Associates provides new insights into the state of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programs among member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum.
The report, Study of APEC Best Practices in Authorized Economic Operator Programs, surveys the customs administrations to determine how the programs, designed to help move goods efficiently yet securely, converge and diverge. The report updates the 2010 APEC AEO Compendium done by APEC’s Policy Support Unit. Seventeen of the 21 member economies have operational AEO programs in varying stages of development.
The report examined 15 variables. The highest levels of convergence were found in the self-assessment mechanisms, the physical security requirements, and the compliance requirements, and the lowest in small and medium enterprises (SME) participation, types of operators, and training of customs officers.
The report identified concerns about current AEO programs, including the difficulty in identifying tangible benefits to attract private sector operators, and inflexible compliance and security standards hindering SME participation in AEO programs. It outlines regional best practices from APEC customs administrations addressing these concerns.
Finally, the report recommends actions that the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures and customs administrations should take to enhance the mutual interoperability and efficiency of AEO programs. One recommended step is to consider development of an APEC-wide automated electronic data exchange system and compatible Trader Identification Number systems.
It suggests ways to enhance supply chain security while facilitating trade, improving APEC regional economic integration.
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