The EU and the United States of America formally agreed to recognise each other’s safe traders, thereby allowing these companies to benefit from faster controls and reduced administration for customs clearance, as a result of a mutual recognition decision signed by both parties. EU and U.S. certified trusted traders will enjoy lower costs, simplified procedures and greater predictability in their transatlantic activities. Mutual recognition will also improve security on imports and exports, by enabling customs authorities to focus their attention on real risk areas.
What this means in practical terms is that the U.S.-EU Mutual Recognition Decision officially recognizes the compatibility of the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and the EU’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program. USCIB has long encouraged an agreement between the U.S. and EU that would recognize compatibility between the U.S. and EU cargo security programs.
There are currently some five thousand companies approved as Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs) in the EU – a number which is growing year on year. The EU and USA are strategic trade partners, with imports and exports accounting for almost €500 billion in 2011. The joint decision will start to be implemented from 1 July 2012.
Commissioner Semeta said: “[The] agreement is a major step forward in the EU-U.S. trade relationship. At a time when businesses need all the support they can get, this will make life easier and cheaper for many transatlantic traders. It will also help to ensure that security checks on traded goods are more focussed and effective, further improving the protection that customs provides for each and every citizen.”
Vice President of Government and Trade Relations with HanesBrand, Inc., and chair of USCIB’s Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Jerry Cook said: “We congratulate CBP and the EU Taxation and Customs Union Directorate for delivering on the commitment of a mutual recognition agreement, and for continuing to build working partnerships of responsible industry leaders, governments and citizens.”
Expressing this sentiment, U.S. Ambassador to the EU William Kennard tweeted that the signing of the accord was an “Important step toward securing, facilitating trade.”
Mutual recognition of trade partnership programs prevents the proliferation of incompatible standards, and promotes harmonisation of customs practices and procedures worldwide.
Source: New Europe Online