We received the following email this afternoon from Customs and Border Protection:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the European Union (EU) signed today a Mutual Recognition Decision between CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program and the EU’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program.
CBP Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar and Director-General Heinz Zourek, European Union Taxation and Customs Union Directorate (TAXUD) signed the decision, which recognizes compatibility between the EU and the U.S. cargo security programs. The signing marks a milestone in the CBP-EU relationship, completing the original U.S.-EU work program. In the future, both customs authorities will treat members of the other customs authority the same way it treats its own program members.
“I can look back with pride on the considerable work that was completed by CBP and TAXUD to make this effort come to fruition and that we always maintained the necessary focus on security throughout the process,” said Acting Commissioner Aguilar.
“Today’s decision on the mutual recognition of the EU and U.S. trade partnership programmes is a win-win achievement: It will save time and money for trusted operators on both sides of the Atlantic while it will allow customs authorities to concentrate their resources on risky consignments and better facilitate legitimate trade,” said Director-General Zourek.
CTPAT is a voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. CTPAT recognized that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers.
AEO is a foreign partnership program that is used as a risk-assessment tool, provides less redundancy and duplication efforts, helps provide a common standard for trade facilitation, and allows for better transparency by providing closer collaboration among Customs Administrations and between Customs administrations and their partnership program companies.