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AEO Certification Brings Strategic Advantage in These Uncertain Times

Accreditation is not just for the ‘big boys’

“With Brexit, deal or no deal, just around the corner, a host of operational and compliance benefits gives Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) certification even greater resonance,” says Miles Vartan, founder and Managing Director here at VARTAN.

Miles explains: “AEOC (customs simplifications) is regarded by HMRC as a legitimate method of claiming a 100% waiver against financial guarantees needed for applying for Customs Warehouse or External Temporary Storage Facility (ETSF) status. This is just one benefit AEO offers customers as they work hard to defray the costs of building up Brexit safety stocks.”

VARTAN has continued to consolidate its position as one of the UK’s leading risk management consultancies, working with clients across the supply chain to ensure that they are not only customs compliant, but also in a position to take advantage of the uncertain and looming ‘Brexit’ landscape.

Miles continues: “HMRC has also recently confirmed that companies who are not currently eligible for AEO recognition, because their intra EU work is not regarded as ‘international trade’, can submit applications which will be considered the day we leave the EU.

“We are working with many warehouse operators including Peter Green Chilled, Mersey Docks & Harbour Company and Bretts Transport to make sure that all necessary procedures and processes are in place, along with evidence of instructions being followed prior to companies submitting an AEO application.

It’s also important to remember that AEO certification is open to companies of all sizes. The benefits it brings are not just for the ‘big boys’, but any sized organisation smart enough to embrace the process.”

AEO status brings a raft of benefits to the applicant, depending on the nature of their international trade operations and the type of AEO grade they apply for. These include up to a 100% reduction on guarantees as explained above, a reduced risk score with HMRC, fewer physical and document-based controls, prior notification in case of selection for customs control, and access to mutual recognition agreements.

We support clients through every stage, including the HMRC assessment days

Neil Bird, manager at VARTAN, continues: “HMRC is doing everything it can to assist companies looking to push through accreditation and has reduced the number of days within which they will process AEO applications from 120 to 90. While submission may seem daunting, using our bespoke application formula, we support clients through every stage, including the HMRC assessment days.

Neil continues: “From experience we know what an HMRC officer expects to see, so to mitigate the risk of issues or the project potentially stalling, we only ever recommend applying when we’re confident a client is ready for an AEO related HMRC visit.”

Miles adds: “While AEO certification has been widely recognised throughout EU 27 for over nine years, the number of UK accredited companies trails behind the EU. In our opinion AEO certification will become even more desirable as an internationally recognised tool to keep cargo moving, with the EU and UK expected to mutually recognise each other’s schemes in a post-Brexit environment. Here at VARTAN, we encourage companies to acknowledge this and view certification as a strategic advantage in these uncertain times.”

For further guidance on AEO Application Management and Brexit planning in general, please contact us.