Customs and AEO Consultancy

Autorised Economic Operator (AEO) Consultancy Programme

The world of international trade is changing significantly. The changes will have a far-reaching effect on how your company as an importer, exporter or both can trade in the future.

We can deliver different support packages to suit the requirements of different organisations in order to keep them trading on a global scale as the new legislation is implemented.

The three principle implications of the new legislation are:

  1. Requirement for companies involved in importing and exporting to become a ‘Trusted Trader’ or Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)
  2. Requirement for companies to use a new import / export declaration system or link up with a customs broker who will act on their behalf.
  3. Possibility for companies to use a ‘Trade Facilitation’ hub if they are unable or do not wish to go through the lengthy application and training processes to become compliant themselves.

Sheffield Chamber have invested heavily in the past 2 years to ensure it has the correct expertise, training, accreditation’s and digital platforms to support companies on any of the above against an objective to keep all business trading internationally through and after the changes.

We can provide a support package to mitigate the effects of Brexit on all business, but is also looking ‘beyond Brexit’ at the requirements of the global SAFE Framework programme being implemented between 2015 and 2025.

Currently AEO is purely optional however, but because of World Customs Organisation objectives it will become a required status for a business to buy and sell worldwide, probably within 5 years. It is already becoming a commercially driven requirement with several examples of customers in European and Non-European countries developing questionnaires to give to suppliers regarding their AEO status.

Our proposal to help companies achieve AEO status

Option 1. Customs Compliance Audit Only

Includes non-compliance risk assessment and correction reports. This normally takes 2 days but can be longer depending on the complexity of the company structure and the number of sites to cover.

At this point the business can decide to end the process there or continue to go through the process on their own but calling for occasional daily help.

Option 2. Full AEO Approval

Use the expertise of our international consultants to take you through the whole compliance and application process. In this case the company will achieve the level of compliance required to become accredited with Registered Exporter Status (REX), Approved Exporter Status (AES) and Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). They will also meet the standard for ISO 28000 approval.

In addition we will look at other operational cost saving and efficiency measures such as IPR, OPR and offshore rules and regulations for suppliers to the shipping and offshore oil and gas fields.

  • Stage 1: Initial audit per option 1 with support in addressing any issues found which will involve working with the finance and operations directors and any staff involved in international trade administration, perhaps including the commercial and sales teams. Application for, and approval to REX and AES status.
  • Stage 2: Application for AEO(c) and approval. Will include a trial application and addressing of issues before support in submitting the actual application. Support with the HMRC audit before approval decision.

The speed of progress is somewhat dependent on the amount of time the company can afford for the project. The quickest process with a company to date from the initial audit to the application for AEO being accepted by HMRC is 4 months however still in need of an HMRC on site audit. Because of the time interval between approval and audit, we will conduct a 3rd compliance audit prior to the HMRC final audit to make sure nothing has slipped and will be present during the actual audit.

Currently there are many significant advantages for AEO registered companies.

For more information on this service call 0114 201 8888 to talk to a Sheffield Chamber Account Manager or a member of our international trade team. Alternatively email


Service included in:


This service is available in all categories, however an additional cost will apply for Charity, Primary and Essential membership.