What is AEO?  

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) is an international quality mark awarded by customs to businesses that are deemed to be safe operators with regards to controls and procedures for imports and exports and that these are efficient and compliant. 

This will include trade within the EU post Brexit. AEO will likely form the cornerstone of post Brexit seamless trade between the UK and EU in implementing simplification benefits for UK businesses including reducing delays at ports for AEO holders. 

Who can apply

Anyone within the international supply chain can apply for AEO status irrespective of the size of the business.  You therefore need to be in a position to protect yourself as best as possible even though much of the Brexit detail is not known.

Advantages for Importers

There are many advantages of securing AEO status for importers, one of which is the way imports will be handled will be changed and without this accreditation it could be business critical if shipments are delayed.  

Advantages for Exporters

For exporters it demonstrates to your overseas customers that you are operating to a high standard for customs and security purposes.  We are aware that many businesses particularly in North America for example, are insisting upon AEO status being acquired (please refer to the attached link titled ‘explanation of AEO’ for a more detailed explanation)

What should businesses affected do

The first step you should take is to fully understand your import and export process, your relationship with EU trade and, more importantly, how you will be affected by Brexit.  Whilst AEO in itself may not be for you, by taking this first step, you can make an ‘informed decision’ as to how Brexit could affect your supply chain and what considerations you should make in addressing this.

Our expertise

Thomas Westcott are currently working in conjunction with David Miller, specialist consultant, who holds years of experience working for HM Customs and is one of the most experienced professionals within this niche area of expertise.  The application has proved to be laborious and a complicated process with which David has already successfully assisted in obtaining accreditation for many businesses, (please refer to our AEO successes document for examples of these).


If you feel your business needs to prepare for BREXIT and consider AEO application but feel you require further information Thomas Westcott will be hosting a seminar presented by David Miller on 18 December 2018 at The New Continental, Plymouth starting at 7.30am. If you are able to attend, please contact Annette Stone via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Please click on our links below to read further in-depth information on the impact of AEO, the three various accreditations and the application process, together with an article on Brexit written by our expert, David Miller.


Explanation of AEO

AEO Application process

AEO Successes

Brexit Article