In May 2014, the Joint Customs Cooperation Committee1 published Decision 2014/772/EU on the EU’s and China’s commitment to strengthening customs cooperation and to mutually recognizing the Authorized Economic Operator (“AEO”) status in the EU and in China. The AEO status certifies that business operators are compliant and meet certain standards.
Following subsequent decisions and circulars issued by the General Customs,2 a final agreement was reached in June 2015 to implement the AEO Mutual Recognition Program (“the Program”) effective November 1, 2015. On October 30, 2015, Announcement  No. 52 was issued to provide the Program guidelines, under which:
- EU customs recognize the Chinese advanced certified AEO, and Chinese customs recognize the EU-certified AEO for security and protection issues, and the EU-certified AEO for simplification of customs procedures and security issues. 3
- The EU and China will offer each other’s recognized AEOs customs-clearance advantages in their import and export transactions, including:
- fewer physical inspections and controls, and simplified risk assessment procedures;
- recognition as secure and trusted partners for commercial transactions;
- priority release of goods; and
- a safeguard system for continuity of activities in case of international or security restrictions.
To date, China has implemented similar programs with Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore.
Date of issue: October 30, 2015. Effective date: November 1, 2015