India's Authorized Economic Operators Web Application enables Customs administration to identify the safe and compliant business entity in order to provide them a higher degree of assured facilitation
Explained : India's Authorized Economic Operators Web Application
New Delhi (ABC Live India): Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
(CBIC) Chairman Shri M. Ajit Kumar here today launched the
online filing of Authorised
Economic Operators (AEO) T2 and T3
As per the information issued by the ministry of finance, the AEO web
application is accessible at URL www.aeoindia.gov.in. The
new version (V 2.0) of the web application is designed to ensure continuously
real-time and digital monitoring of physically filed AEO T2 and AEO T3
applications for timely intervention and expedience.
Who are Authorised Economic Operators?
An AEO is a business entity
involved in the international movement of goods requiring compliance with
provisions of the national Customs law and is approved by or on behalf of
national administration in compliance with World Customs Organization (WCO) or
equivalent supply chain security standards. The security standards are detailed
in World Customs Organisation Safe framework of standards [WCO SAFE FoS], which
is the basis of the Indian AEO programme.
What is the AEO programme?
The AEO programme enables
Customs administration to identify the safe and compliant business entity in
order to provide them with a higher degree of assured facilitation. This
segmentation approach enables Customs resources to focus on less or
non-compliant or risky businesses for control. Thus, the aim of the AEO programme is
to secure the international supply chain by granting recognition to reliable operators
and encouraging best practices at all levels in the international supply chain.
Through this programme, the Customs shares its responsibility with the
businesses, while at the same time rewarding them with a number of additional
What is the background of
AEO Scheme of the WCO?
The genesis of the AEO scheme
dates back to September 11, 2001 event in the US which made all the governments realise that the supply chain itself could be used for terror activities and a
need was felt to make the supply chain secure. Since the supply chain is
controlled by the trade, the Customs administration is partnering the trade in
order to secure the supply chain. The US started CT-PAT (Customs-Trade –
Partnership against terrorism)
programme. Later WCO adopted
SAFE Framework of Standards in 2005 in order to secure and facilitate the
trade. The SAFE framework
has three pillars comprising of Customs to Customs partnership, Customs to
Business partnership and Customs to other Govt. stakeholders. AEO programme is
the core part of Pillar-II i.e. - Customs to Business partnership.
How has the SAFE framework of
Standards (FoS) been implemented in India?
The SAFE FoS sets forth criteria by which businesses in the supply chain can obtain authorised status as a secure partner. The criteria are
incorporated in CBEC Circular No. 28/2012 dated 16.11.2012. Thereafter a
Revised AEO Program was launched vide Circular No. 33/2016-Customs dated 22.07.2016
as amended by Circular No. 03/2018 dated 17.02.2018, 26/2018 dated10.08.2018
and Circular No. 51/2018 dated 07.12.2018
What is the history of the AEO
programme in India?
The AEO Programme was introduced as a pilot project in 2011 vide Circular No. 37/2011- Customs dated 23rd August 2011. The same was amended and the revised final AEO programme was introduced vide Circular No. 28/2012 dated 16.11.2012. With international developments such as the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on securing and facilitating the International Trade and focus of Government of India on Ease of Doing Business, a comprehensive, unified trade facilitation initiative was launched by merging the existing Accredited Client Programme (ACP) and the ongoing AEO scheme of 2012 in the form of revised AEO Programme vide Circular No. 33/2016-Customs dated 22nd July 2016.
The ACP Scheme was abolished by rescinding Circular No. 42/2005-Customs dated 24.11.2005. Further simplification for financial solvency and decentralisation of AEO application pro<!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><!--[endif]-->cessing was done vide Circular No. 03/2018 dated. 17.01.2018.
The application process for AEO-T1 accreditation
was further simplified to two Annexure forms only by Circular No. 26/2018 dated
10.08.2018 from five Annexure forms as was stipulated in Circular No. 33/2016
dated 22.07.2016. Web-based Online application filing and processing for
AEO-T1 status started from December 2018 vide Circular 51/2018 dated
What is the aim of the
Indian Customs AEO Programme?
The AEO programme has the
To provide business entities
with an internationally recognized certification;
To recognize business
entities as “secure and reliable” trading partners;
To incentivize business
entities through defined benefits that translate into savings in time and cost;
Secure supply chain from point of export to import;
Ability to demonstrate
compliance with security standards when contracting to supply overseas
importers / exporters;
Enhanced border clearance
privileges in Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) partner countries;
Minimal security-related disruption
to the flow of cargo;
Reduction in dwell time and related costs; and
if trade faces unexpected issues with Customs of countries with which India has
Is AEO mandatory for
businesses involved in the supply chain?
No. The AEO scheme is purely
an optional scheme. Applying for AEO status is a business decision depending
on the role of the business entity in the supply chain and its willingness to
acquire the benefit flowing by acquiring AEO status.
What is the structure of
Indian AEO programme?
There is a three-tier
programme for importers and exporters i.e. AEO-T1, AEO-T2 and AEO-T3 in the
increasing degree of benefits accorded and compliance requirements. Furthermore,
there is a single Tier AEO Programme for Logistics Providers, Custodians or
Terminal Operators, Customs Brokers and Warehouse Operators who are granted
What is the validity period
of AEO status?
The validity of the AEO certificate
is three years for AEO-T1 and AEO-T2, and five years for AEO-T3 and AEO LO.
Whether AEO certificate is
valid at all Customs stations across India?
Yes, it is valid at all
Customs stations in India. In other words, an AEO status holder shall get the
AEO benefits at all Customs ports/ airports/ Land Customs Stations.
What are the benefits of AEO
There are a host of benefits
for all three categories of AEOs- T1, T2, T3 and LOs. These are listed in paras
1.5.1 to 1.5.4 for AEO T1, T2, T3 and LO respectively of Circular No.
33/2016-Customs dated 22nd July 2016. Some of the major benefits are listed
a) Recognition worldwide as
safe, secure and compliant business partners in international trade and get
trade facilitation by a foreign Customs administration with whom India enters
into a Mutual Recognition Agreement/Arrangement;
b) Facility of Direct Port
Delivery (DPD) of their import Containers and/ or Direct Port Entry (DPE) of
their Export Containers;
c) Waiver of full or part of
the Bank Guarantee requirements, Waiver of Merchant overtime fees;
d) Deferred payment of
e) Waiver from transactional
PCA. Instead, Onsite PCA has been provided; the selection of the same shall be
based on risk assessment of AEOs;
f) Waiver of solvency certification for
g) A lower risk score in
risk analysis systems when profiling;
h) Faster disbursal of drawback amount through
pro - cess eased out vide Circular 18/2017 Customs dated 29.05.2017;
i) Fast-tracking of refunds and adjudications;
j) Self-certified copies of FTA / PTA origin related or any other certificates required for clearance would be accepted
k) Recognition by Partner Government Agencies
and other Stakeholders as part of the AEO programme
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