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Pakistan Customs have added Chapter XXXII in the Customs Rules, 2001, titled the Authorized Economic Operator Rules.
Authorised Economic Operator or “AEO” means a certified entity which fulfills the security criteria stipulated under the Rules and fulfills the prescribed obligations. Eligible entities may include manufacturers, importers, exporters, custom house agents, brokers, shipping lines, earners, consolidators, intermediaries, ports operators, airports operators, terminal operators, integrated operators, warehouses, distributors, freight forwarders and logistic service providers.
The AEO certifying authority in this context is the Director or Collector under section 212A of the Customs Act, 1969, in whose jurisdiction the business premises of the authorized economic operator is located. Such certification is to be granted after approval from the AEO Board.
There will be three categories of AEOs under the Rules: Gold, Platinum and Silver. Separate criterion has been stipulated for each category.
Any economic operator applying for the AEO status must fulfill the following criteria:
(a) Compliance with Customs laws;
(b) Satisfactory system of managing commercial and transportation records;
(c) Financial solvency;
(d) Professional competence; and
(e) Observance of safety and security standards.
The introduction of the AEO regime in the customs context means implementation of the WCO Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade. The certification of Pakistani businesses in the AEO matrix would be beneficial for them in regards to their risk-scoring in the national customs risk-management system.