The Thirty Seventh Council of Ministers meeting adopted a three- year customs and trade facilitation work program (2018 – 2020) which prioritized the development of harmonised criteria for granting the status of Authorised Economic Operator in line with the Customs Management Regulation (CMR) and WCO SAFE Framework and guidelines. The COMESA Member States have agreed in the CMR at 39 (1) (b-d) that Customs authorities in consultation with other competent authorities to grant, subject to the criteria, the status of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) to any economic operator established in the customs territory. Similarly, the CMR regulation 39 (2) (b) stipulates that determining the type and extent of facilitation that may be granted to the AEO in respect of customs controls relating to security and safety, taking into account the customs rules for common risk management.
Twelve (12) Member States Namely; Burundi, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) have implemented the AEOs scheme while other Member States (such as Seychelles, DR Congo, and Malawi) are in the process of implementing the Scheme. Most of the Member States are implementing the AEO Program in a similar way in line with the spirit of the CMR and the international standards including the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the WCO Guidelines.
A desk assessment done in 2018 by the Secretariat indicated that the implementation of AEO programmed varies from country to country on issues such as the names of the simplified programme, selection criteria, the scope of the sectors and the benefits that accruing to the AEO.
COMESA Member States have developed and adopted a COMESA Regional AEO Programme Implementation Guideline. The main objective of the guideline is to provide for regionally harmonised procedures and criteria for granting the status of AEO in line with the CMR, WCO guidelines and WTO TFA, and to facilitate the implementation of harmonised and standardised AEO Programme and Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) throughout the region and facilitate and secure the intra-regional trade. The draft Guideline was adopted by Council in November 2019.
COMESA Member States have also developed a Regional and National Action Plan for the Implementation of the AEO Program which was adopted by Council in November 2019. Under this plan there is a requirement that the Secretariat should develop Standard Operational Manuals for AEO Validators (including risk score rating) and post authorization management and training materials on the implementation of the AEO Scheme.
The broad objective of the consultancy is to provide technical assistance to the COMESA Secretariat and the Regional Working Group on AEO to develop a Standardized Operational Manual (SOM) and Training materials to facilitate implementation of the COMESA regional AEO Scheme.
Click on the link below for more details.
- Consultancy: To Develop a Standardized Operation Manual for the COMESA Regional Authorized Economic Operator Scheme (44 downloads)
Post expires at 3:00pm on Tuesday September 22nd, 2020