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.