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Bosnia and Herzegovina moves forward with the AEO implementation

13 febrero 2019

At the request of the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the WCO, with the support from Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF) Eurocustoms, organized a National Workshop on ‘AEO implementation - criteria, requirements, validation process, and action plan’. The WCO experts supported by experts from the European Commission and Italian Customs conducted this technical assistance mission from 6 to 8 February 2019 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Workshop was attended by 32 participants from the ITA and the BiH Trade Chamber.

The ITA has already developed legislative and regulatory provisions regarding their AEO programme. The AEO programme is likely to be implemented as of 1 August this year. Hence, this workshop was very timely to assist with carrying out a gap analysis and preparing for a pilot by providing all the necessary information including relevant WCO instruments, tools and supporting materials, as well as recommendations to both Customs officials and stakeholders on the key issues concerning the implementation of an AEO programme in line with the WCO SAFE AEO Programme and the EU’s AEO Programme.

The experts presented various WCO instruments and tools relating to the SAFE Framework of Standards and AEO programme and guided participants in developing and implementing an AEO Programme in line with stakeholders’ needs and expectations, including by identifying tangible benefits for each class of economic operators. Additionally, the experts outlined the AEO criteria/requirements and benefits and provided step by step recommendations regarding the AEO validation/authorization process, supported by case studies and good practices.

The workshop provided an opportunity for all participants to understand practical aspects of the AEO programme and Mutual Recognition Arrangements/Agreements (MRAs). It also discussed the key challenges of Customs and the private sector in implementing an AEO programme, explaining the importance of the AEO programme in enhancing global supply chain security and facilitation, including how AEOs can improve compliance and revenue collection. Also, a presentation on the Systematic Electronic Exchange of Data (SEED) project was made, emphasising its importance to AEO programmes, particularly with regard to AEO data exchange within the region.

Furthermore, facilitated by experts, participants carried out a gap analysis and identified a few issues for further examination, going forward. This led to an enhanced professional knowledge regarding the compliance of ITA’s regulations relating to the AEO programme with the EU legislation. Participants also developed a better understanding of the SAFE Framework, AEO programme and MRAs, as well as gained deeper insights into the global supply chain and the roles and responsibilities of various actors.

Finally, the importance of the development of a Strategic Action Plan/Work Programme was noted as one of the main imperatives for the successful implementation of the AEO programme.

The experts and participants had an active dialogue on different aspects of the AEO programmes and MRAs, including phased implementation and stakeholders’ engagements. The workshop resulted in a better understanding of practical experiences and best practices and also in terms of using the relevant WCO tools.

The WCO is committed to provide all necessary support to the ITA in the process of the development and implementation of the SAFE AEO Programme.