The World Customs Organisation (WCO) launched the AEO scheme in 2008 as part of its SAFE Framework of Standards. AEO is an internationally recognised mark of excellence that grants the economic operator the status of a “trusted trader”.
To define an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), the WCO states it is “A party involved in the international movement of goods, in whatever function, that has been approved by, or on behalf of, a national Customs administration as complying with WCO or equivalent supply chain security standards”.
In principle, an economic operator authorised with AEO voluntarily meets a wide range of criteria in close cooperation with customs authorities to ensure the common goal of supply chain security. They are entitled to a special status that allows them to benefit from more favourable treatment compared to other economic operators in terms of customs controls, including fewer physical and document-based checks.