The Jamaica Customs Department recently launched its Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, a certification issued by customs authorities that can give companies a competitive edge, enhanced security, and reduced delivery times. Jamaica is the first English speaking Caribbean country to achieve this milestone.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has been actively working on the development of AEO programs in Latin America and the Caribbean since 2009. The AEO certification is available to all economic operators of the international supply chain (exporters, importers, customs brokers, carriers, port authorities, etc.) who have a strong record of compliance and commit to implementing security measures in their processes and facilities according to international standards. After a comprehensive auditing process conducted by Customs, companies receive the AEO certificate that will allow them to enjoy benefits in their international operations and preferential treatment at the border, such as: a reduction in their risk profile, number of inspections, and clearance times, among others.
Panel Discussion: “Challenges of AEO Programmes and Mutual Recognition Agreements”. Moderators – Mr. Steven Krupinsky – Chief International Branch, C-TPAT, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Mr. Paul Hilaire, Permanent Secretary, CCLEC. Panelists: Representative of US Customs – Mr. George Rudy – Supply Chain Security Specialist (SCSS), US Customs, CTPAT/CBP Representative of China Customs – Mr. GAO Xiang – Deputy Director, Bilateral Relations Division, General Customs Administration Representative of International Private Sector – AEO -Mr. Robert Byrne-IBM Corporation
As IDB Country Representative in Jamaica, I joined Major Richard Reese (Retd.), Jamaica’s Commissioner of Customs, in the event and who highlighted, among representatives from the private sector and government, that “the AEO program is a strategic alliance that will improve business competitiveness and the security of the supply chain.” Participants at the launch ceremony also included the Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Sergio Mujica, the Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, and representatives from the government and customs agencies of the United States and China.
More than 20 companies have already applied for the AEO certification in Jamaica and are now working together with Jamaica Customs to be certified.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, there are nine other AEO programs in place: Argentina, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panama, Peru and Uruguay.
The IDB will continue to support the AEO initiative as a way to strengthen the competitiveness of the private sector and boost international trade.
Globally, the AEO program has been implemented in more than 50 countries, including all member states of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan, China and Korea among many others. For a comprehensive list of AEO programs worldwide, please have a look at the AEO Compendium of the World Customs Organization here.