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WCO supports Belarus with enhancing their AEO-MRA process

21 junio 2019

The WCO conducted a National Workshop on Mutual Recognition of Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs) for Belarus in Minsk from 11 to 13 June 2019.  Based on the current national situation, the Workshop was aimed at assisting the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus with the development of a negotiation and implementation plan and associated processes for mutual recognition arrangements/agreements (MRAs) of AEOs with other Customs administrations.

WCO experts provided detailed information on the initiation, negotiation, implementation and evaluation/enhancement of AEO-MRA processes, as well as associated benefits for Customs/governments and businesses. All the relevant WCO instruments and tools, in particular the SAFE Framework of Standards, the MRA Strategy Guide and the Guidelines on Trader Identification Number (TIN) along with related practical aspects and working examples of other countries including the European Union (EU) were presented and discussed.

Facilitated by experts, participants elaborated key considerations and requirements for the identification of MRA partner countries, as well as the successful conclusion and implementation of the signed MRAs. The importance of a globally unique TIN based on the WCO Guidelines and greater use of modern technologies including blockchain for an efficient implementation of MRAs were demonstrated with operational flow processes and case studies.

During the discussion, participants were also provided with explanations on regional/plurilateral approaches to the AEO programme and MRAs within the context of economic/Customs unions. In this regard, experts shared the lessons learned and innovative solutions of other regions (e.g. the EU and the East Africa Community).

Belarus has implemented an AEO programme within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Customs Code, and currently has 321 AEOs, mainly importers, exporters, carriers and Customs brokers. In April 2019, Belarus signed its first MRA with China. A need for further alignment of the existing AEO programme with the SAFE AEO programme was discussed for seamless MRAs with other countries that have implemented similar AEO programmes.

Over 15 participants from various divisions of Belarus Customs benefited from this Workshop, leading to their enhanced knowledge and understanding of the finer nuances of various constructs of AEO-MRA processes and the related resource and skill requirements. The workshop led to enhancing Belarus Customs’ capacity with respect to MRA negotiation and implementation in line with international standards and best practices.