UK exporters step-up Brexit preparations as AEO applications surge

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UK businesses are stepping up Brexit preparations and looking to prove their exporting credentials as the number of AEO applications surge. 

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status shows that a businesses role within international supply chains as being secure – compliant and up-to-speed with customs controls and procedures. 

UK firms have lagged far behind in AEO applications, just 537 in February 2017 compared to 6,031 in Germany in the same month. 

However, with 31st October Brexit deadline fast-approaching and political rhetoric strongly suggesting an exit from the EU come-what-may, registrations have increased 26% – albeit to just 679 compared to 6,330 in Germany and 1,556 in the Netherlands. 

Despite lagging far behind European partners, this increase indicates a clear step-change and that some firms have started to get their act together and cover as many Brexit bases as they can. 

Lesley Batchelor, Director General of the Institute of Export & International Trade, commented that: “UK businesses are now realising that they will need to prove their competency in customs procedures when Brexit comes around – whatever form it may take. 

“This surge in applications is encouraging, but there’s much more to be done before we catch up with our European counterparts, who will soon be our competitors.

“Attaining AEO status will be a useful exercise for exporters, whatever our future arrangement with the EU will be. The application process allows businesses to fully examine and ensure that its customs regime is up-to-scratch. 

“Doing this will also put businesses in a strong position for other customs arrangements, including the Trusted Trader scheme.”

Read more: 500 new Brexit laws passed in H1 2019

Businesses are hopeful that applying for an AEO will ‘safeguard their attractiveness in the supply chain post-Brexit’. 

Your businesses can apply for an AEO on the HMRC website and will be eligible if your firm is involved in the international trade of goods with non-EU countries. 

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