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HMRC internal manual

Import and National Clearance Hub Procedures

General: Authorised Economic Operators (AEO)

AEO is governed by EU law. The basic law is set out in Article 38 UCC.

An AEO is an economic operator who, by virtue of satisfying certain criteria, is considered to be reliable in their customs related operations throughout the European Union and is therefore entitled to a number of benefits (see Notice 117 for details). Depending on the type of AEO certificate granted these can include either easier access to certain customs simplification and safety controls, or both.

The introduction of AEO status is the EU’s response to the need to secure international supply chains and the introduction of Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in the USA and the development of the Safe framework of standards in the World Customs Organisation.

AEO benefits include lower risk scoring, facilitation at the frontier, priority treatment if selected for checks and easier access to customs simplifications.  Article 38 UCC refers.

AEO status must be taken into account when dealing with the international supply chain or when dealing with any business that holds the status.

If an issue is discovered which could affect the AEO status this must be reported to the AEO central site (

To check who holds the status there is a public database