HM Revenue and Customs, the UK government’s regulatory department, recently clarified its policy on authorized economic operators for imports and exports taking place after the introduction of the European Union’s new Union Customs Code in 2015, according to an alert from international tax service company Grant Thornton

Importers and exports using simplified customs procedures, such as customs warehousing or temporary storage, will have to fulfill AEO criteria, or otherwise possibly provide financial guarantees to cover the value-added tax and duty suspended under those schemes, which could result in significant cost increases.

Businesses that meet AEO standards will be able to use a fast-track application process for EU customs procedures, reducing administration costs.

Grant Thornton noted that UK businesses have lagged others in the EU in pursuing AEO status and warned that the lengthy accreditation process makes it desirable for firms to begin the process as soon as possible in advance of the UCC.