The legal framewokk for the Authorised Economic Operator Programme is contained in the Union Customs Code (UCC) and its Implementing Provisions.
In addition to the legal provisions regulating the AEO programme, the AEO Guidelines were drawn up to ensure systematic application of the programme and to guarantee transparency and equal treatment of economic operators
To guarantee and facilitate the correct application of new legal provisions, to react to global developments relevant for the AEO Programme and to share best practices, it is necessary to update these guidelines on a regular basis.
The latest version of the Guidelines was adopted by the Customs Code Committee GEN Subsection AEO on 11 March 2016.
Those Guidelines consist of a main part and four Annexes.
The package is available in 22 languages.
The main part of the AEO guidelines explains the AEO concept based on the adopted legislation, including:
According to Article 26 (1) of the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 of 28 July 2015 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to detailed rules of specifying some of the provision of the Union Customs Code (UCC DA) in order to apply for the status of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) the applicant shall submit a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ), which the customs authorities shall make available, together with the application.
The self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ), agreed between EU Member States and the European Commission, is harmonised at European level in order to guarantee a uniform approach throughout EU. The explanatory notes provide the applicant with detailed information on how the questionnaire should be filled out.
It should be noted that there may be some instances where specific national provisions may require additional information or adaptation of the model.
The Annex on Threats, Risks and Possible Solutions aims at helping both economic operators and customs authorities throughout the AEO procedure, providing them with a list of the most significant risks related to the AEO authorisation and monitoring process, and possible solutions on how to keep these risks under control.
In addition, the AEO COMPACT Model (Compliance Partnership Customs and Trade Compact) Model provides a framework including a methodology for the risk assessment of economic operators.
To fulfil the condition of the Security and Safety criterion relating to "Security requirements of business partners" (Article 28 (1) (d) UCC IA), the applicant/AEO can ask their business partner for a security declaration reflecting parties’ respective business models, roles and responsibilities.
Article 23 (2) UCC foresees that "the holder of the decision shall inform the customs authorities without any delay of any factor arising after the decision was taken, which may influence its continuation or content".
Annex 4 to the AEO Guidelines aims to help AEOs in identifying some of the situations, which may have both an impact on the content of the AEO authorisation and / or on the criteria they have to fulfil. This annex is not a comprehensive check-list, but an indicative tool to help operators in their relation with customs authorities for the management of their AEO authorisation(s).
EU Member States AEO experts meet four times a year in the so-called AEO Network chaired by the European Commission to
An EU AEO Helpdesk at the EU Commission (DG TAXUD) provides guidance to Member States' customs Administrations related to the practical application of the EU AEO legislation.