compliance e AEO

AEO: customs and businesses data monitoring, artificial intelligence and customs obligation.


The AEO (authorized economic operator) is a customs authorization[1] able to qualify its ower as “reliable”. This is an “unicum” inside the group of customs decisions that can be granted: inwards processing relief, outward processing relief, customs warehouse, temporay admission, end use and free trade zone and the approved exporter  allow the economic operator either to exercise the right to apply for a special regime or to declare the preferential origin status in the statement of origin instead by means of EUR.1 certificate. In other words, except for the authorized economic operator, the authorizations impact only on the objective element of the customs obligation (it means: the customs debt).

The AEO is released after an audit which covers all the internal produres and data[2] of the applicant that can directly and indirectly impact on the customs obligation.

An approach based on the risks assessment and management is required in all the phases of the AEO: from the audit performed by the competent customs offices to manteinance of the authorization. Indeed, already from the SAQ (self assessment questionnaire) it is recognizable this peculiarity.

But, the risks assessment and management needs an ongoing monitoring of the vital functions of the company organization not only from a customs standpoint but also under a tax, operational and managerial perspectives.

Starting from these guidelines, it is possible to go deeper with the role plaid by the monitoring in the management of the AEO.

Firstly, the AEO holder, regardless of its size organization, must delevolop an internal control and reporting system of the customs areas encompassed into the following perimiter:

  • the customs authorizations held by the economic operator evaluating their modifications and changes. In fact, the management of special regimes and other simplifications depends on customs decisions;
  • imported, produced and exported goods since various considerations related to the customs debt arise from these elements;
  • the organizational structure of the company in relation to the production methods starting from the definition of the good to its marketing;
  • the company organization chart analyzed based on training and information needs in customs matters.

In particular, the point regarding import, exported and manufactured goods should be scrutinized in order to check the quantity and quality of sanctions which should be analysed in comparison with the whole number of customs declarations lodged per year and the internal structure of the company organization.

it is important to give an important role to the monitoring of both the customs classification, origin and value management and the correctness of related documents and data; if from this monitoring arises any lack of knowledge, it is suitable to promote trainings and information on customs matters, corrective actions of processes and set up procedures.

In particular, the adoption of such a measures should be based on the risk audit and structured into four main stages: identification and prioritization of risks, determination of residual risks, reduction of residual risks to an acceptable level and communication of the audit results to the operator economic.

These phases are carried out as follows:

– establish the various activities of the economic operator to identify and prioritize risks, also examining the relevant security plan, if it exists, and the threat assessment, as well as the measures adopted and internal controls;

– confirm the economic operator’s management strategies and procedures and evaluate the controls to determine the audit of residual risks. Where necessary, verify these controls;

– manage any residual risks to bring them back to an acceptable level;

– inform the management and the involved people in sharing the results of the audit.

It is interesting to add that the artifical intelligence systems and techniques applied to the customs pillars (origin, value and classification) should be taken into account in all the phases of the AEO life-cycle: from the self assessment questionnaire (SAQ) to the ongoing monitoring.

Moreover, the monitoring should be cover any company business ruled by the excises regulations and linked to customs operations.

Finally, it is important to take into account that the scheme of trust and check trader, in accordance with the next EU discussions, will be, essentially, based on the reliability concept.

[1] Lothar Gellert Withdrawal, revocation and suspension of AEO certification “…As stated above, the granting of AEO status represents both an ‘administrative act’ and a ‘customs decision’ in accordance with German-Austrian law and Community customs legislation respectively. This should not be taken to mean that it is possible to use both provisions as a legal basis for certification: it could be the case that national provisions will be overruled by supranational Community law. Community customs law takes precedence over national law as higher-ranking law in accordance with Article 288 of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU.5 Early in the history of the EU, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that national administrations were obliged to apply Community law in the interests of the proper functioning of the EC. In its decision of 15 July 1964,6 the ECJ ruled that where the relationship between the national and the Community law was concerned, the incorporation of Community law into national law effectively prohibited Member States from introducing a posteriori unilateral measures…”, World Customs Journal

[2]   Alessio Elia, Il procedimento di rilascio dell’AEO: proporzionalità e bilanciamento tra la tutela dei dati personali e l’istruttoria di natura doganale, (the audit for the AEO: proportionality and balancing principles between confidentiality of personal data treatment and the power of control)  Diritto pratica tributaria.