Business operators within the East Africa Community (EAC) have been urged to join the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), a World Customs Organization (WCO) that has been implemented within the Eastern Africa Community.
AEO status allows for the handling of companies as low-risk companies that can be trusted by customs making it easier to operate as it is an instrument for growing compliance.
“AEO is a program that facilitates legitimate trade in the EAC, allows importers, exporters and manufacturers to expedite the processing of entries and declarations, enjoy automatic passing of declaration, and no physical examination of goods – except for random or risk-based interventions,” the Assistant Commissioner for Customs Operations Support at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), Yvonne Gatera said.
The program aims to enhance efficiency in the face of increasing volumes of trade and the increasing vulnerability of the international trade supply chain to security threats as well as the use of the international trade supply chain as a conduit for high-security risk materials.
Through AEO, Electronic Cargo Tracking System will be permitted, renewal of Customs agents’ licenses gives them an opportunity to participate in Customs initiatives, offers them priority treatment in the cargo clearance chain, as well as granting them a waiver of movement bond requirements.
AEO additionally exempts mandatory use of the Customs Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) and gives them priority clearance at entry and exit points.
How to apply for the AEO:
A call for application is sent by the Tax Administration every year. There is an AEO application and self-assessment form available on the RRA website.
Applicants are required to complete this form and submit it to the Tax Authority. AEO applications are assessed against the set EAC regional AEO eligibility requirements.
After this, the applicants who meet AEO eligibility requirements are recommended to join the EAC regional AEO program.