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Customs and APEC held an AEO Workshop in Santiago

Viernes 17 de mayo de 2013

• Chile Customs is committed to designing of the AEO in Chile.

The "Regional Workshop on Authorized Economic Operators (AEO)" was recently held in Chile Customs, jointly organized with the APEC Forum -represented in Chile by the APEC Department of DIRECON- and the USAID. The workshop was aimed at experience exchanging between the Asia-Pacific countries on the implementation of their AEO programs with a highlight on the opportunities that this certification of companies has meant for the 21 APEC Economies.

This workshop, sponsored by DIRECON and the International Development Bank (IDB), was carried out on 14-15 May, in Ritz Carlton Hotel in Santiago, with participation of the APEC Economies of Chile, Canada, People´s Republic of China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, The Philippines, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, USA and Vietnam. Colombia participated as a guest since this country is a candidate member to the APEC Forum.

The AEO certificate --issued by Customs Administrations of different countries and regions-- such as Canada, Korea, and New Zealand, is a confidence certificate which is granted to those economic operators who fulfill recognized standards of customs service in the matters of proceedings, customs clearance and security. This certificate may be granted to individuals or legal entities whose activity is subject to customs rules, such as exporters, importers, manufacturers, customs representatives, and terminal operators, among others.

Chile Customs Director General, Rodolfo Álvarez Rapaport, opened the workshop emphasizing that the balance between safety & security and trade facilitation becomes a particular challenge because it means Customs has to control and protect the borders at the same time, both in a way which would not imply introducing additional costs and times for the logistic chain, using therefore, modernized and more efficient tools and strategies.

After him, Ana Novik , Director of Multilateral Affairs of DIRECON and SOM Chile, explained that "the advantages for a company to hold an AEO Certificate are many, since it allows the access to reduced customs control, as well as having priority status for such controls and the places in which they may be performed. It also allows the companies to be recognized at corporate level for traceability in their foreign trade operations, which makes this certification a true and effective tool for facilitating international trade".

As Álvarez added, "another key for the AEO program is the particular fact of knowing each other; as far as I know who the operator is, I would be able to make a difference in applying each of the strategies at the moment of inspection."

HOW WAS THE AEO PROGRAM BORN

This topic of safety and security of the Logistic Chain, particularly the figure of the Authorized Economic Operator, came to life after the 9-11 attacks to the New York Twin Towers, in 2001, and the subsequent attacks in Spain and the United Kingdom.

These attacks made some countries –mainly those affected by the attacks themselves— adopt a set of security measures to better safe the international movement of goods. In this context, for example, the C-TPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) was born in the US, being the pioneer and one of the largest initiatives so far.

Notwithstanding, it is the World Customs Organization (WCO) which, in 2005, articulates a multilateral framework including the implementation of measures that guarantee a balance between security rules and the facilitation of worldwide trade. This is what we know today as the WCO Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade or SAFE, which came to give the background for the AEO.

APEC, A PERMANENT CAPACITY BUILDER

The Workshop carried out in Santiago was a project suggested by the US APEC Technical Assistance and Training Department, with the aim of providing technical information to the APEC Economies for the implementation of the AEO program.

One of APEC's strengths is the training and capacity building pillar, reason why APEC carries out, once a year, different training activities and workshops on a diversity of topics, for a community of public officers working for a number of government agencies, and also members of private sector from the Economies of the Forum. In fact, over 50 workshops, including over 100 Chilean trainees were held during 2012.

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