We are only a small business but 90% of our trade is export and our main market is the USA so we think we should become AEO approved but we are concerned about rumours we have heard about how much it time it has taken some companies to get approval in the pilot scheme and the expense of allocating those resources. We would appreciate your comments on this.

Yes, applying for AEO approval will take time and involve internal resources but Customs will be looking at the size of each business and adjusting the level of work accordingly. A Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) came into force in 2012 between the EC and USA which means that the customs authorities in both of these markets will recognise the security status of companies approved under AEO in the EC and CT-PAT in the USA - this means there are genuine advantages when trading with the USA in becoming AEO approved.   If concerned about the amount of time it will take up contact the AEO Team at aeoteam@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.  If you already have some ISO approvals, are financially stable, have customs procedures and have review safety and security issues relating to your business then it should be a painless exercise to apply for AEO. 


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