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Regional Workshop on the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes in Libreville (Gabon) from 5 to 8 December 2016

16 diciembre 2016

The WCO, in cooperation with the General Directorate of Gabon Customs, conducted a regional workshop on the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes in Libreville (Gabon) from 5 to 8 December 2016. 24 high and middle ranking officials from 23 Member administrations of West and Central Africa Region participated in the workshop that benefitted from financial support of the CCF Korea. Two Regional organizations were also present: the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Communauté Économique et Monétaire des Etats de l'Afrique Centrale (CEMAC).

The WCO experts explained in detail the importance of supply chain security, Customs-Business partnership approaches, AEO programme requirements, its benefits and its step by step phased implementation approach; also the regional and global perspectives of AEO implementation were highlighted as well as the benefits and challenges of Mutual Recognition Arrangements/Agreements (MRA),. The differences and similarities among the SAFE AEO programme, the Authorized Person (AP) under the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and the Authorized Operator (AO) scheme under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), were also clarified. It was established that given its more structured and comprehensive approach, the AEO programme, already worldwide implemented, encompasses other schemes.

Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana made presentations on their respective AEO and/or compliance programmes and shared experiences. They identified several common issues/challenges relating to broadening and deepening AEO implementation at the regional and national level and their potential solutions by learning from each other’s experiences. Those issues can now be better addressed also in administrations' strategic plans and objectives.

Key achievements of the workshop included among others enhanced understanding of the challenges in the implementation of an AEO programme at regional and/or national level. The workshop helped participants to identify existing gaps within their current AEO/compliance programmes, in terms of further improvements and alignment with SAFE Framework of Standards, as well as to prepare for implementation of related regulations of the Trade Facilitation Agreement.