Why does my business need AEO status?

HMRC explains:

AEO status is an internationally recognised quality mark that shows your:

  • Role in the international supply chain is secure.
  • Customs controls and procedures are efficient and meet EU standards.

HMRC also says that AEO status "gives quicker access to some simplified customs' procedures and, in some cases, the right to 'fast-track' your shipments through some customs' and safety and security procedures."

In effect, HMRC is telling your customers that the fastest, safest and most cost-efficient way to move goods across international borders now involves using an operator with AEO status.

This means that any operator that does not hold the "internationally recognised quality mark" could find itself at a serious competitive disadvantage. Consider this:

If you had to choose between one provider with AEO status and one without it - which would you choose?

Deciding you need AEO status is easy. Applying for it is more complex.

The AEO application has over 240 questions. If you fail to answer any of these to HMRC's precise requirements your application may be rejected. Fortunately SafeguardAEO is here to help.

SafeguardAEO is simple to use software that helps you complete the entire application process easily, quickly and successfully.

Learn more about SafeguardAEO

Why achieve AEO status?

As the UK looks to move beyond Brexit, there can be little doubt that increased supply chain security and greater customs simplification is the way that cross border logistics is heading. That seems clear from the statements coming from the UK Government, the EU, HMRC and the Prime Minister herself.

Critical to achieving 'frictionless trade' throughout the global supply chain is for all businesses operating within European and international export markets to attain AEO, or 'Trusted Trader' status.

Looking forward, any economic operator involved in the movement of goods across international boundaries that fails to secure AEO accreditation is likely to find itself at a distinct, and potentially damaging, competitive disadvantage. This is because customers are unlikely to tolerate the logistical delays, increased costs and commercial risks associated with using providers that do not hold the 'internationally recognised quality mark'.

What are the benefits of attaining AEO status?

The benefits of attaining AEO accreditation are many and meaningful.

In short, once you attain AEO accreditation HMRC will treat your business operations with a 'light touch'. In practical terms this means your vehicles and goods will be fast-tracked through Customs' control. You'll receive fewer physical and document-based controls and you won't be required to provide nearly as many mandatory declarations.

You'll also receive prior notification of any inspections relating to safety, security and customs' legislation. And, if your operation should be selected for Customs' checks or interventions, you'll qualify for priority treatment and you will have the ability to clear goods in your own depot.

AEO will also enable you to obtain a Customs' guarantee for duty deferment, so you won't be required to deposit a substantial amount of cash with your bank thereby improving your cash flow.

And because you won't have to pay duty the moment that the goods cross the border your cash-flow will be improved further still.

To view more benefits visit the HMRC website.

When should my business apply for AEO status?

Whatever future customs' arrangements the UK has with Europe and the rest of the world, the safest and most cost-efficient way to move goods across international borders will involve using an operator with AEO status.

Both the UK Government and HMRC have made clear that improved supply chain security and greater customs' simplification is the route to frictionless trade.

AEO status is now the de facto standard by which all economic operators are evaluated and selected. So, the sooner you attain AEO status the sooner you will enjoy the logistical and commercial benefits it brings. And the sooner you will gain a competitive advantage over those operators who have been slow off the mark.