Vietnam Customs participates in supporting SACU to implement the AEO Program

VCN - A representative of Vietnam Customs has joined a working group of the World Customs Organization (WCO) to support the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) in training members on implementing the Authorized Economic Operator Program (AEO) and the AEO Mutual Recognition Arrangement (AEO MRA).

The training content attracted more than 220 delegates from 5 countries in the SACU Alliance to attend online and in-person discussion sessions. During the training program, Vietnam Customs actively participated with experts from the East African Community (EAC) and the European Union (EU) to share practical experiences on implementing AEO Programs at regional level such as the EAC and EU AEO Programs as well as the ASEAN AEO MRA. The key goal of this activity was to exchange and share experiences on operational tools during the implementation of AEO MRA and regional AEO Programs.

Vietnam Customs participates in supporting SACU to implement the AEO Program
Ms. Nguyen Thi Khanh Hong (3rd from left), expert, representative of Vietnam Customs joined the WCO working group.

In addition, from April 15 to 19, 2024, representatives of Vietnam Customs participated in a workshop organized by the WCO Trade Facilitation Project led by the UK Revenue and Customs Authority (HMRC) funding, to support the SACU Secretariat and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to continue strengthening the capacity of SACU members to effectively deploy national AEO Programs, implement AEO MRA regional level, expanding program implementation to other economic partners, as well as providing technical assistance related to promoting the effectiveness and efficiency of the AEO Program.

In this activity, the SACU Secretariat clarified the strategic goals of cooperation between Customs agencies to harmonize procedures to effectively facilitate trade and ensure international supply chain security through tools such as AEO MRA.

The representative of the SACU Secretariat emphasized that the SACU Alliance's strategic plans focused on industrialization, trade facilitation and investment promotion. These priority strategies have been approved by the SACU Council of Ministers, underscoring the region's commitment to enhancing trade facilitation through SACU's Regional AEO Programs and AEO MRA.

The above series of activities has transferred practical knowledge on how to build the AEO Program, expanding its application to all economic operators, including small and medium enterprises, operating in the field of e-commerce.

Representatives of Vietnam Customs and WCO experts led discussions on important contents such as the legal basis for data exchange, the development of trader identification numbers, data formats, and systems interoperability, data protection strategy and communication mechanisms to benefit AEOs through the AEO MRA.

Vietnam Customs participates in supporting SACU to implement the AEO Program
Conference scene. Photo: Khanh Hong

Next, representatives of Vietnam Customs and SARS AEO experts supported the SACU Secretariat in proposing a legal framework to allow the expansion of the AEO Program to other economic operators and develop national standard procedures in line with the WCO MRA strategic guidance, and develop operational tools to support MRA implementation, for example MRA implementation and management guidance tools.

At the end of the business trip, representatives of SACU and South African Customs said that the training activities in recent days of the WCO delegation had equipped the attending members with a deep understanding of the approaches AEO program, AEO assessment techniques, global supply chain research, SAFE Standards Framework, and AEO initiatives around the world. In particular, provide members with an in-depth understanding of AEO to clarify SACU members' concerns about the AEO Program and the benefits of the regional AEO MRA. This also helped strengthen SACU members' approach to the AEO security and safety Program, mutual recognition commitments, mutual AEO recognition procedures as well as effective monitoring and evaluation methods of the program.

By Khánh Hồng (Board of Customs Modernization)/Thanh Thuy

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