WCO participates in the IV Annual Authorized Economic Operator event in Santo Domingo

27 September 2019

The WCO participated in the IV Annual Authorized Economic Operator event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (DR), which was hosted by the DR Customs on 6 September, 2019.

The event was chaired by Customs DG and WCO Regional Vice-Chair Enrique Ramirez Paniagua.   Several hundred attendees, primarily from the private sector, participated in the event.

At the event, Director Compliance and Facilitation, Ana Hinojosa, provided a keynote address in Spanish, wherein she highlighted the WCO Theme of the year and how the concepts incorporated in the theme are well reflected in some of the proposals being presented, to the WCO for consideration in future enhancements.  She further acknowledged the progress made by the DR AEO Program, since its launch in 2012.   In particular, she cited how to date, the program is quickly approaching 250 certified members and the have two negotiated Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA).   She recognized that during the event the number of certified members was expected to rise, as several companies were expected to receive their official certification during event.

The WCO went on to share how the theme of the year had significant relevance to both the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and would serve to reaffirm the important role that Customs administrations play in the global efforts toward the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. 

Director Hinojosa provided an update of the global standings related to AEO Programs.  She shared that there are now more than 80 AEO programs in effect, and several others are in development phases. Similarly, she highlighted that there are now 74 completed bilateral MRAs and 4 multilateral MRAs.  She also provided information on the newly updated AEO Compendium and where it can be found on the WCO website.

Director Hinojosa then provided a brief overview of a number of proposals that will be discussed by members in the upcoming SAFE Subgroup meetings and the SAFE Working Group meetings, along with an overview of the work done by the WCO on the E-Commerce Framework of Standards and the E-Commerce package, as a whole.  There was much interest in this topic, as it is a growing phenomenon in the DR.

The keynote address was well received.  The Director joined DG Ramirez Paniagua in the presentation of the new Certificates for new Authorized Economic Operators.  The DR AEO program now boasts 270 Certified Operators.

Throughout the event, numerous stakeholder shared their experiences with regards to the impact that becoming an authorized economic operator has had on their respective businesses, and how important it was to them to be an AEO, especially as it relates to the exportation process, given how important this process is for their economy.