The United States and the United Kingdom have concluded an arrangement to formally recognize one another’s authorized economic operator programs.
“This arrangement will take U.S.-UK cooperation on supply chain security to the next level,” said William A. Ferrara, Executive Assistant Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations. “Mutual recognition of the U.S. and UK authorized economic operator programs will mitigate risks, improve information sharing, and eliminate red tape for our partners in the trade community.”
“This is a great achievement and testament to three years of hard work by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Officials, to ensure that U.S. and UK AEO traders can continue to benefit from our trading relationship,” wrote Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in a statement.
Authorized economic operator programs allow low-risk members of the trade community who meet internationally-recognized supply chain security standards to enjoy trade facilitation benefits. Under this arrangement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will accept the validation of UK Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) and grant them approval status in the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT). Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs will likewise accept the validation of CTPAT members and grant them approval status as AEOs.
CTPAT is a voluntary, public-private partnership through which members of the trade community cooperate with CBP to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. By meeting stringent supply chain security requirements, CTPAT members enjoy benefits including risk mitigation and shorter wait times at U.S. borders. Since its inception in 2001, CTPAT has grown to include more than 11,400 certified partners throughout the trade community. More information about CTPAT is available at CBP.gov.
AEO status is an internationally recognized quality mark that indicates that a business’s role in the international supply chain is secure and has customs control procedure in place that meet international standards and criteria. More information about AEO status is available at GOV.uk.
This mutual recognition arrangement builds on the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) that the United States and the United Kingdom concluded in December 2020 (see image below). CMAAs are bilateral agreements that provide a legal framework for the exchange of information and evidence to assist countries in the enforcement of customs laws, including duty evasion, trafficking, proliferation, money laundering and terrorism-related activities.