World Customs Organization SAFE Framework of Standards Agreement on Customs Facilitation and Security – security prior notification and authorised economic operator (AEO)
Switzerland is highly dependent on international trade regarding its economic development and is exposed to the associated security risks. Illegal international trade undermines Switzerland's economic and social wellbeing. Effective risk management of flows of goods in the international supply chain is of vital importance and absolutely essential for security in the broadest sense. It facilitates legitimate trade and protects Switzerland's financial and economic interests. Risk analysis covers security in the stricter sense of the term such as, for example, illegal trade in explosives, weapons, etc., public health, the environment and consumer protection.
Aforementioned prior notification
Since the events of 11 September 2001 and other terrorist attacks in Europe and around the world, security has been a top priority for customs authorities globally. Based on the SAFE Framework of Standards of the World Customs Organization (WCO), an increasing number of countries have switched to requesting prior notification for importing and exporting goods. A risk analysis and any security checks are carried out based on the data in the prior notification.
The EU, among others, has introduced the aforementioned prior notification. In order to minimise insofar as possible the significant impact of these security provisions on the cross-border movement of goods with EU member states, Switzerland's most important trade partners, the agreement on the simplification of customs formalities and on customs security measures was concluded with the EU. Now Switzerland and the EU form a joint security area in which prior notification is waived. This continues to ensure smooth trade flows with the EU. At the same time, goods traffic between Switzerland and non-EU member states is subject to these security regulations. A similar agreement is to be signed shortly with the EFTA partner Norway.
Authorised Economic Operator - AEO
A further core component of the WCO's SAFE Framework of Standards is the status of authorised economic operator (AEO). AEO status is granted to persons considered reliable in terms of the security and safety of the international supply chain. AEOs are granted facilitations concerning customs security and safety controls (but not in the case of customs controls). Swiss AEO status is recognised by countries with which Switzerland has concluded a corresponding agreement; at the moment by the EU (agreement on the simplification of customs formalities and on customs security measures), shortly Norway and later Japan, United States and China.
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