AEO International Conference: Performance and Impact

Barcelona, 7 June 2017

The International Conference of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO): Performance and Impact, has taken place within the framework of SIL2017, the International Logistics Exhibition, in Barcelona.

It has been a unique opportunity for building relationships between policy-makers and private sector leaders in the international customs and logistics community, in a space for learning about, and reflection on, the role of the AEO.

In international trade, organizations are not measured solely by their annual profit, but also by how they perform their activity. Certification as an AEO proves that the company carries out its activity in accordance with regulations and recommendations relevant to the efficiency and security of its operations. The contribution of the AEO to the professional competence and quality of the services provided; the speed, simplification and predictability of customs procedures and formalities; and to ensuring that goods arrive at their destination in the foreseen time, are all subjects that will be explored in the AEO Conference sessions.

Here you can find the summaries and links to all the presentations of the AEO International Conference: Performance and Impact

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Welcome Address

We are in a global world, where international trade cannot stop and the logistics chain, as the transmitter of trade, needs companies and professionals that add value to it. Without doubt, the AEO is that “plus” that makes it better, more efficient and more secure. Therefore we must continue to promote the development of the AEO, with the aim of identifying new opportunities to improve and contribute to international trade and, thus, to economies and societies: to continuously improve the performance of the AEO and to know the impact of this figure on international trade. This is the purpose of the Conference.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”. This phrase, often attributed to Peter Drucker, highlights the importance of measurement. In fact, the phrase originates from William Thomson Kelvin, a British physicist and mathematician (1824–1907), who said: “What is not defined cannot be measured. What is not measured cannot be improved. What is not improved is always degraded.”

The presentations give updated data on the development of AEO programs. Studies on measurements are also presented, such as the WCO Time Release Study (known as TRS or the Time Release Study). We also consider professional competences, to exercise customs representation ensuring compliance with the highest international standards. We broaden the scope of the AEO discussion, usually focused on sectoral issues, to the international development agenda 2030, with which it is connected, as international trade is a fundamental part of the development of economies and societies, and we too play a role in achieving the United Nations development goals.



Keynote Address: Performance and Impact in International Trade

What do customs and logistics operators have to do with the commitments made by governments and public and private decision-makers to eradicate poverty by 2030? Why is it important to discuss the operating standards of logistics chains and international trade, and their relationship to the sustainable development of rich countries, and especially that of poor countries or emerging economies? Why is this issue important for development agencies, such as the FAO, the WCO, and private-sector – logistics and customs operators? The speaker shows us that “improving the functioning of the increasingly long, diverse, complex and high risk chain of trade between countries and regions is fundamental to economic growth, employment generation, technology transfer and reducing poverty and inequality”; it further presents illustrative examples of this. Transport, logistics and security services are the backbone of trade flows, and when these do not work efficiently they have a direct and negative impact on the competitiveness and the economies of all countries, and on the possibilities for the poorer countries and sectors to lift themselves out of poverty.




The WCO presents an overview of the genesis of the Securing and Facilitating Global Trade (SAFE) programme, and the advances in this arena. The presentation includes a specific focus on the Pillar II aspects of the SAFE Framework of Standards, and the latest trends in the Authorized Economic Operator Programmes and Mutual Recognition Arrangements, as well as what types of performance measurement and impact evaluations have been done to date, and what is being contemplated for the future.



The Value of the AEO Status
This presentation analyzes why the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status was created, what is asked of an operator who is interested in acquiring this status, and what their situation in relation to customs administration is once they have the AEO recognition, both internally and internationally, and within the framework of the World Customs Organization.



Trade Statistics in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The presentation illustrates how statistics is key to monitoring trade flows and to supporting evidence-based policy-making for international trade. What is the role of logistics and customs agents, and of customs authorities? How can we work together to improve trade statistics in support of the 2030 Agenda? This presentation provides answers to these and other questions concerning the relationship between international trade and sustainable development.



EU Authorised Economic Operator Programme (Video)

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EU Authorised Economic Operator Programme Governance

Now in its 10th year, the EU AEO is a successful instrument for securing the international supply chain and facitilating legitimate trade. Its importance is still growing: currently there are more than 15,000 operators in the programme. In order to ensure the harmonised application of the EU AEO programme throughout the EU, a robust governance structure was established. This consists of various elements, including a cooperation mechanism between the Commission and the Member States, legal and IT instruments, monitoring processes and performance measurement. The EU constantly evaluates the EU AEO programme, and uses the results to update and improve the programme, its legal framework and its instruments.



Monitoring the AEO Programme in Spain

The presentation analyzes the changes in the requirements and benefits of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status within the framework of the European Commission’s Unified Customs Code (UCC). It also presents updated data on the evolution of AEO authorizations in the EU and Spain, as well as the profile / roles played by AEO applicants in the Unified Customs Code (UCC).




The Standard of Competency for Customs Representatives

The presentation recalls how this project was started after CLECAT and CONFIAD, two Pan-European Customs organizations, decided to join forces in order to create a new standard. This standard is also the result of the choice of the European Member States to assess customs competency in three different ways (the standard being one of them), as per UCC regulation 952/2013. It explains the way the project was carried out, according to the CEN regulations, as well as the outcomes. The speaker will explain the key features of the standard, and underline the major points of discussion which had to be settled by the group, as any standard can only be constructed based on the general consent of the project’s participants. At the end of the presentation, steps still to be completed are highlighted, as in order to successfully implement the standard, education programmes and certification processes must be in place.



AEO Customs Competency (podcast)

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Mutual Recognition Agreements

This presents updated data on the development of the AEO in Latin America and, in particular, the Mutual Recognition Agreements. The AEO aims to increase competitiveness and national security, but above all to identify more benefits for foreign trade operators: particularly the Agreements of Mutual Recognition. Mutual Recognition Agreements seek to have an authorization granted by the customs administration of one country recognized and accepted by that of another state; in other words, a company certified as AEO, whose country agrees with another by Mutual Recognition, will immediately be able to profit from the related benefits.