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Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) services from SGS – breaking down barriers to trade and improving your access to international markets

Containers at harbour

Hong Kong’s AEO program is a customs-business partnership that aims to strengthen international supply chain security. It has been introduced to provide compliant operators with smoother progress for their goods when crossing international borders.

The Hong Kong AEO program, run successfully as a pilot scheme since 2010, is administered by the Customs and Excise Department under an open and voluntary certification regime. Under the program, local companies of different sizes that have met pre-determined security standards may be accredited as AEOs. A company which has been accredited as an AEO is recognized as a trusted partner of the Department to jointly secure the global supply chain and will enjoy benefits including reduced or prioritized Customs inspection.

This partnership introduces a framework for better risk analysis within the supply chain and is open to all stakeholders, including:

  • Manufacturers
  • Importers
  • Exporters
  • Freight Forwarders
  • Warehouse Operators
  • Carriers

With a fully fledged AEO program in place, the Department will explore opportunities for developing mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) with other customs administrations. These will further enhance the competitiveness of AEOs in Hong Kong with diversified benefits granted by overseas countries. All these manifest Hong Kong's commitment to securing the global supply chain, thereby strengthening the country’s competitive edge as a major international trading centre and regional logistics hub.

The Hong Kong AEO Program will encourage the industries to ensure integrity of their security practices when engaging in the supply chain. It also helps optimize the management of assets and functions within a company. While performing self-assessment during the initial stage of AEO application, individual companies are able to streamline their operations to achieve better output.

The integration of enhanced supply chain security and improved business performance is a major target of the program. Beyond security benefits, AEOs will enjoy benefits such as:

  • Less customs inspection
  • Prioritized customs clearance
  • Enhanced goodwill as a secure trader with industry ‘kitemark’
  • Strengthened competitiveness and marketability
  • Reduced stock loss, theft and pilferage
  • Privileged benefits under an MRA

Through the cooperative endeavor of the government and the industries, the Program will strengthen both the security and efficiency of legitimate trade.

About AEO

AEO is a concept under the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE Framework). It represents a Customs-to-Business partnership to enhance international supply chain security and facilitate the movement of legitimate goods. At present, the majority of WCO members have expressed their intention to implement the SAFE Framework. Most principal trading partners of Hong Kong have fully launched their AEO programs in recent years.

Why choose AEO services from SGS?

With an experienced team of compliance, verification and training staff we can help your organization take advantage of the improved trading opportunities offered by the AEO program. With detailed understanding of logistics, transportation and the AEO program, our local experts are on hand to deliver training, compliance audits and verification of your systems and processes.

Find out more; contact your local SGS office today.