As time ticks away towards the implementation of the Union Customs Code, our Customs Manager Dave Bradbury explains how achieving AEO status will be a necessity going forward for any business involved in international trade…

The new Union Customs Code comes into force in May 2016. If your business imports or exports goods and you think your company won’t be affected by the resulting changes to AEO certification then I would urge you to think again.

I’ve heard all the excuses companies use for not applying:-

   “We’ve looked at it but can’t see the benefit”
   “We haven’t got the time”
   “The process is too expensive”
   “We’ve got better things to do”
   “We don’t really understand it, does it really matter anyway?”

Well, believe me, it does. Achieving Authorised Economic Operator status is no longer a “like to have” or a “should have” but very much a “must have” and here’s why.

The facts about Authorised Economic Operator accreditation

First the bad news….

It’s evident that when the UCC legislation is implemented next year it will have fundamental operational and financial consequences for any business operating Customs Procedures or using simplifications if they don’t have AEO status.

Changes will not just be focused on the ‘Customs Function’ within an organisation. It will involve the whole supply chain from procurement to accounts and everything in between.

If AEO isn’t in place, mandatory 100% guarantees will be required for actual and potential debt (Customs Duty and VAT). From a procedural perspective there will be limitations on CFSP, an increase of mandatory examinations at port and a requirement for prior notification before releasing goods from the Customs Warehouse.

It’s vitally important for businesses to fully understand the implications of not applying for AEO status. This is no longer a box ticking exercise. HMRC are under pressure to deliver by the Law but simply don’t have the resources required to advise businesses; so it’s imperative that responsibility is taken by them to adhere to the rules and demonstrate the same.

Now the good news. We can help you achieve AEO status!

If all this sounds a bit scary then let me give you some good news. At Langdon Systems we’ve designed an AEO training programme which takes into account the full range of Customs & Excise procedures.

The programme facilitates AEO accreditation through a blend of training, mentoring, guided learning and support throughout. From the background and effects of the Union Customs Code (delivered by an HMRC representative), through to completing the initial application forms and the gathering and checking of information to support your application, it will help you build up a body of evidence to ensure you successfully achieve your goal of AEO accreditation.

Want to know more? Contact me on 01942 202202 or send your enquiry to