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The customs administration granted the first authorized economic operator – AEO status

Published date: 24.09.2020 14:19 | Author: UC

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In accordance with the highest EU standards in the field of cooperation and partnership between customs and the business community (AEO concept), the Customs Administration of Montenegro has granted the first status of an authorized economic operator to the company "Neregelia" from Podgorica.

AEO status has been granted for Customs Simplifications (AEOC) and Security and Protection (AEOS). In accordance with the standards, obtaining the status of AEO, the company "Neregelia" is recognized by customs as a reliable partner in the customs territory of Montenegro, thus gained the right to use a number of facilitations in the customs procedure.

The concept of authorized economic operator (AEO) introduced by the World Customs Organization (WCO) is based on a partnership between customs authorities and economic operators. Companies that meet a wide range of criteria work closely with customs authorities on a voluntary basis to achieve a common goal - security of supply chain. The concept is strongly based on a partnership between customs authorities and economic operators. This implies that the relationship between the customs authorities and the AEO operates on the principles of mutual transparency, correctness, honesty and accountability. The customs authority expects the AEO to act in accordance with customs legislation, and to inform the customs authority of any difficulties encountered in complying with the regulations. The customs authority should provide them with support in order to achieve this.

Montenegro established the AEO concept on the basis of internationally recognized standards, through amendments to the Customs Law and the adoption of a regulation for the implementation of the AEO in 2015. The program is open to all participants in the supply chain. Approval of the status of AEO in the form of AEOC is provided for economic operators based in Montenegro who would like to use the facilitations and simplifications specified in the customs legislation. The AEOS status is intended for economic operators based in Montenegro who want facilitation in terms of customs controls in relation to security and protection when the goods enter or leave the customs territory of Montenegro. Both types of approvals, AEOC and AEOS, can be used simultaneously. In that case, the holder of the approval must meet the criteria for acquiring the status of both AEOC and AEOS, and may use the facilitations related to both statuses.

The conditions that an economic operator must meet in order to obtain the status of AEO imply a high level of reliability and quality of business processes and internal control systems. Among other things, it is necessary to have full compliance with customs regulations for a longer period of time, proper accounting and easier access to accounting records, the existence of a system that allows detection of irregularities and fraud, archiving records and protection against data loss, appropriate security measures to protect information system, financial liquidity, etc. The conditions that an economic operator must meet also refer to the existence of strict rules related to protection against illegal intrusion into facilities, procedures for establishing reliable relations with business partners in order to protect international trade, checking potential employees who will work in security-sensitive places.

Simplification, acceleration of customs procedures and reduction of business costs are the main advantages of acquiring AEO status, which has a positive impact on the stability of economic operators, through technological investments, voluntary compliance with safety regulations and raising quality standards, thus achieving benefits important for the end user i.e. citizens.

During the establishment of the AEO Program in Montenegro, the Customs Administration had the technical assistance of the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group.

For the further development of the economy and the strengthening of trade cooperation between the countries of the region, but also the approaching the EU, the mutual recognition of AEOS status is of great importance. A validation mission organized by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ), consisting of representatives of the customs services of the CEFTA contracting parties, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the CEFTA Secretariat, concluded that the Customs Administration met the conditions for implementing the AEO in accordance with with the final text of the Decision on the establishment of a validation procedure for the mutual recognition of AEO security and protection programs

On the website of the Customs Administration, at the link, interested economic operators can find MNE AEO Guidelines with attachments, describing in detail each criterion that the economic operator must meet, as well as the application procedure and obtaining authorization.