The Authorised Economic Operator scheme, in essence, has derived from the UCC.
HMRC have stated their mission is to:

  • Facilitate legitimate trade
  • Reinforce Safety and Security
  • Harmonize and standardize the application of customs controls
  • Provide an electronic environment

In part, yes, it is driven by security, i.e. anti-terrorism, smuggling, people trafficking etc., however compliance with customs procedures and how the company is treated by authorities is paramount.

Therefore by satisfying certain criteria a company is considered to be reliable in their customs related operations throughout the European Community for goods imported into or exported from the EU.


The Legal Bit

AEO is governed by European Community law. The basic law is set out in Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 (the Customs Code) as amended by Regulation (EC) No 648/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93 (the Implementing Provisions) as amended by Commission Regulation (EEC) No 1875/2006.