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Mutual Recognition Agreement Should Benefit Companies Involved in U.S-EU Trade

A recent agreement between the United States and the European Union will facilitate customs and security clearance procedures in trans-Atlantic trade involving "trusted" U.S. and EU importers and traders.  On May 4, 2012, the two formally agreed to a Mutual Recognition Decision on their respective "trusted traders" programs.  Under the agreement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the respective customs and taxation authorities of European Union Member States will recognize participants in each other's supply chain pre-clearance programs, the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and the EU Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) program, respectively. 

These programs allow trusted traders to enjoy lower costs, streamlined import procedures and greater predictability when entering products, but until now have been administered wholly separately from one another, without any official recognition of one by the other.  With this new agreement, C-TPAT's 26,000 members will receive the same beneficial treatment in the EU as the 5,000 AEO members, who will in turn receive the same prioritized treatment in the United States.  Moreover, the Mutual Recognition Decision establishes a single format for compliance, meaning importers will not have to doubly certify their supply chains to receive benefits; clearance in one system will effectively confer the benefits of both.

© 2020 McDermott Will & EmeryNational Law Review, Volume II, Number 145


About this Author


David J. Levine is a partner in the International Trade Practice of the law firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Washington, D.C., office.  David practices before international trade organizations, federal agencies and courts regarding international trade and related regulatory matters. 

Philip Bentley, QC, McDermott WIll Emery law Firm, Antitrust Attorney

Philip Bentley is a partner in the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emery/Stanbrook LLP based in its Brussels office.  He is a member of the Firm’s EU regulatory practice and European Competition and Trade Groups.  His practice focuses on EU anti-dumping, trade defense and customs, EU competition (including State aid and public procurement), EU regulatory matters, notably GMOs, and EU litigation.

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Raymond Paretzky is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm's Washington, D.C., office. He focuses his practice on counseling clients on import relief measures, customs and export controls.

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