Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Press Releases » BOC urges importers, exporters to apply for AEO accreditation

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is calling on importers and exporters to seek accreditation as an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO).

BOC’s AEO Program, which was launched in December last year, complies with the country’s commitment to the World Customs Organization’s SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade, which represents a customs-to-business partnership that seeks to enhance international supply chain security and facilitate movement of legitimate goods.

Internationally recognized as a mark of quality, an AEO status effectively demonstrates the role of the AEO-accredited player within the international supply chain is secure, and that customs controls and procedures are efficient and compliant.

Accredited operators get to be recognized as “trusted allies” of the customs administration entitled to dedicated processing lanes, resulting in reduced processing periods; recognition as “low risk” company; reduced inspection or expedited clearance by other customs authorities should certified status be also recognized by other countries under a Mutual Recognition Agreement; and other trade facilitation benefits the BOC may grant under existing rules and regulations.

Implementation of the AEO program has been made possible through Republic Act No. 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act. In 2017, BOC issued Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 05-2017, which provides the rules and regulations for the establishment of an AEO program in the Philippines.

Last March, BOC issued Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 09-2020, which implements CAO 05-2017 and provides guidelines for the pilot implementation of the AEO program for importers and exporters. BOC through Customs Special Order 33-2020 has also created the AEO interim office, which will work for the full time to implementation of the program while a permanent office is established.

READ: Authorized Economic Operator program guidelines issued

Implementation of the AEO program for other stakeholders will be tackled in subsequent regulations.

BOC in a statement said trainings were conducted last June 2 for BOC personnel to ensure the agency is ready to implement the program.

BOC’s Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group (AOCG) is also inviting Super Green Lane (SGL) members to submit their intent to be accredited as an AEO.

BOC earlier said its SGL and AEO Program will initially co-exist, but the latter will eventually replace the former once all SGL members have migrated to AEO. SGL is a special facility whose members include multinational companies and top corporations that are accorded the privilege of advance processing and clearance of shipments for being considered low risk.

In a statement, AOCG deputy commissioner Atty. Edward James Dy Buco said he “is optimistic that the advantages of being an accredited member of the program will ensure that trade within the region shall flourish even more as the program allows importers and exporters to transact with AEO member organizations without the need to be accredited again since their accreditation will suffice.”

Under CMO 09-2020, an applicant entity must have been operating for at least one year prior to the date of application.

Applicants with multiple services in the international supply chain (e.g. applying as AEO importer and exporter) may submit one application form for several categories, but the AEO Certificate of Accreditation will be per category.

If the application is approved, the AEO office will notify the applicant of his accreditation as a Level 1 AEO member.

The AEO Office may consider upgrading a Level 1 member to Level 2 or 3, depending on the degree of compliance with the requirements of accreditation as an AEO.

For an entity operating for less than three years prior to application, a compliance history of at least three continuous years must be established before becoming eligible for upgrade to Level 2 status. As such, the revalidation process should immediately start after accreditation as Level 1 member for a period of one year. The period may be extended as may be necessary to establish the required record of compliance.

An AEO applicant whose application for accreditation was disapproved may re-apply within one year, allowing the applicant to complete the deficiencies, if any, or upgrade its security systems/requirements, as may be needed.

Once granted, accreditation under the AEO Program will last until suspended, revoked, or cancelled through voluntary withdrawal from the program.

Accreditation may be suspended or revoked depending on the degree of culpability and resulting injury to the government, under any conditions in CMO 09-2020, after due notice and hearing.

Benefits of a Level 1 member include exemption from renewing accreditation, self-assessment, supplementary goods declaration, and a dedicated help desk.

For Level 2 members, benefits include those for Level 1 plus a dedicated processing lane, advance clearance process, periodic lodgement, one-time exemption certificate, and expedited customs clearance for exports.

A Level 3 member will have extended additional benefits that the customs commissioner, in consultation with the AEO Office to be created, will identify. A corresponding customs order will be issued for the additional benefits of Level 3 members.

Fees to be collected in relation to the application for accreditation and supervision as AEO, if any, will be in accordance with the approved rates provided for under the Customs Administrative Order on Customs Dues, Service Fees and Charges.

The audit of AEOs will be made according to the parameters that may be set by BOC’s Post-Clearance Audit Group.

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