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Authorised Economic Operator Programme

What’s new?

  • 10 September 2021Maputo Corridor Engagement about SARS Authorized Economic Operator Programme

  • 23 July 2021 – Amended Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Regulations to enable participation of all economic operators in the supply chain as well as amplified trade facilitation benefits

    The Rules under Section 64E of the Customs Act, 91 of 1964, have been amended to expand the participation of the Economic Operators within the Supply Chain in the SARS Authorised Economic Operator (AEO).    The rules align more closely to the standards of Pillar 2 of the WCO Framework of Standards by introducing a safety and security leg in accordance to international best practices.  There are two levels of accredited client status provided for viz. Level 1 – Authorised Economic Operator (Compliance) and Level 2 – Authorised Economic Operator (Security) with associated facilitations.  Previous Level 2 clients will be awarded Level 1 (AEO-C) Status.  Additional Benefits awarded to clients  as from 23 July 2021. Level 2 accreditation (AEO-S) came into effect on 23 July 2021. See the full amended rules here.
  • 3 March 2020 PT/AEO update

What is it?

In June 2005, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Council adopted the SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade that would act as a deterrent to international terrorism, secure revenue collections and promote trade facilitation internationally. The core concept of this international framework is the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme. An Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) 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, so as to comply with WCO or equivalent supply chain security standards. AEOs may include manufacturers, importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, consolidators, intermediaries, ports, airports, terminal operators, integrated operators, warehouses, distributors and freight forwarders.  

The AEO Programme is widely acknowledged as a key driver for a solid customs-business partnership, transparent and predictable trading environment. In a wider context it leads to economic prosperity.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS), as a government department that controls and administers the international movement of goods, is in a unique position to provide increased security to the global supply chain, and to contribute to socio-economic development through revenue collection and trade facilitation.

What are the requirements if I want to apply to be an AEO?

In order to apply to be an AEO, applicants must meet the following requirements or criteria:

1. Entity meets Preferred Trader standards for all activities, including licensing:

  • Customs compliance
  • Systems controls and accounting of goods
  • Financial viability and
  • Sufficient Customs Knowledge

2. Entity meets Safety & Security and Compliance standards:

  • Cargo security
  • Personnel Security
  • Contractor security
  • Conveyance Security
  • Crisis management
  • Communication and training
  • Security education and
  • Information Technology security.
  • Corporate Governance. 

 What are the benefits of the AEO programme?  

 The benefits of applying to be an AEO include:

  • MRAs with Partner Countries;
  • Partner Interventions with OGAs;
  • Simplified Processes;
  • Electronic Warehouses;
  • Specialised Service Delivery;
  • Reduced Compliance Audits;
  • Expedited Refunds;
  • Reduced Deferment Bonds; and
  • No Special Attendance Fees.

Need help?

You can send an email to [email protected].

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