The Regional Conference “Promotion of Mutual Recognition of Authorized Economic Operators – AEO in the context of the CEFTA region” was held in Belgrade on December 13 and 14 2018. The conference was organized by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) in cooperation with the Customs Administration of the Republic of Serbia with the financial support of the European Commission and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany. During the conference knowledge and experience of best practices in the implementation of the AEO program was exchanged between public and private sector representatives from the EU and CEFTA region. A special emphasis was put on the challenges and benefits that the private sector can have obtaining the AEO program and the mutual recognition of this status.
On the first day of the conference, four panel discussions were held on the following topics: Where is AEO and MRA today in the EU and in CEFTA and the way forward, Benefits and Challenges of the AEO to Customs and the private sector, The New AEO Paradigm with holistic approach for better benefits and higher compliance and Mutual Recognition of AEOs to Strengthen and Secure International Trade. Panelists were prominent experts on the topic of AEO from various organizations, primarily the European Commission, the CEFTA Secretariat, as well as customs officials from Italy, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, France and Serbia. Also, representatives of international and domestic companies with AEO status, ie Piaggio, Steinel, Eli Lilly, Solar Turbines EAME, Milsped, Nelt Co, shared their experiences regarding the process of obtaining this status, as well as an overview of the specific benefits that companies had in this regard.
During the second day of the conference, two parallel morning sessions were held. One related to the co-operation between different government agencies at the national and regional level: multi-agency approach to the implementation of the AEO program, while the other session was focused on the challenges and benefits for the private sector involved in AEO and the mutual recognition of status with special emphasis on examples of good practice and other possibilities.
At the end of the two-day conference, it was concluded that the simplification and acceleration of customs procedures are the basic advantages of acquiring the status of AEO, and in order to facilitate regional trade, the mutual recognition of the status of AEO between the CEFTA parties is needed.