AEO (Authorized Economic Operator) status is granted following a special assessment by the Customs Agency, which provides evidence of compliance with customs requirements, accounting system criteria and financial solvency.
The economic operator is not obliged to become an Authorized Economic Operator: it is an individual choice, which depends on the operating conditions of each entity. Recognition of AEO status, however, makes it possible to avail of direct and indirect benefits and concessions with respect to customs-relevant operations.
In practice, all certified enterprises are regarded as highly reliable and benefit, on the basis of mutual recognition of AEO status, from facilities when carrying out customs security checks. Direct benefits include: faster border procedures, reduced documentary and goods controls, priority processing of shipments.
The status of “authorized economic operator” already exists at the European (EU) level and in the United States. Basically, it involves considering various security measures at import, export as well as in transit of goods.
In this regard, Switzerland has negotiated an agreement with the EU on customs facilitation and customs security so as to be integrated into the EU security space.