Ensuring the security of the global supply chain while facilitating trade is a challenge both for customs authorities and economic operators. To meet this challenge, many countries have introduced additional security measures to reinforce risk management in accordance with the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards. In risk management, the reliability of traders is of crucial importance. Established authorized economic operators (AEOs) that adhere to security and compliance criteria allow customs to focus on risky trade flows. In exchange, AEOs receive benefits in form of trade facilitation. Mutual recognition of AEOs provides reliable operators additional trade facilitation benefits in partner countries; it also allows customs to target high risk shipments more effectively. The implementation of mutual recognition of AEOs between the EU and Japan will begin on 24th May 2011. From this date, AEOs in the EU and Japan will start to benefit from this mutual recognition.

Please note that the European Commission has also updated the AEO self-assessment and explanatory notes to take account of the mutual recognition possibilities.