Why were half of AEO applications denied and how can your business avoid this pitfall?

There is certainly no denying that the current political situation surrounding Brexit is chaotic. We should have left the EU by now but the extension granted earlier this month gives parliament another six months to come up with a deal that satisfies everyone.

In the meantime, businesses across the UK are trading under exceptionally difficult circumstances and for those who trade across borders into the EU, the uncertainty is crippling.

AEO – the ‘magic’ bullet?

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status streamlines the customs process allowing easier passage of goods imported and exported to and from the UK and across EU countries.

As there is no certainty over Brexit, it is not possible to know how useful AEO status will be post-Brexit. However, there is no denying that it is an accreditation that has value now and will more than likely have value in the future too.

For UK businesses regularly doing business with customs and in significant volumes, the UK Government encouraged them to apply for AEO status.

However, data sourced by BBC’s Newsnight has found that since 2016, only half of the UK firms who applied for AEO or ‘trusted trader’ status have been successful.

What is the explanation for failed AEO applications?

  • Errors

HMRC said they worked with applicants to correct errors in their applications but didn’t go as far as to say this was the main issue. Those who have successfully completed the application process and now have AEO status said the process was ‘involved’, both in terms of time, commitment and financial investment too.

  • Lack of information and clarity

Business leaders are not prepared to allow businesses to take all the blame, saying that the little information they had received was chaotic, confusing and incomplete. Working without a clear structure or guidelines, it’s no wonder that many businesses fell short at the application stage.

Avoiding the pitfall of a failed AEO application

It is a process that takes commitment and understanding, but for those companies and organisation who are successful in their AEO application, they are united in their belief that it was and is the right thing to do for the business and their clients.

Clearly, working with an independent and experienced consultancy is one answer, a route that many organisations have already taken. Working with clients across a range of industries, we have the information and knowledge concerning AEO application that reduces the risk of a failed application.

HMRC is actively encouraging firms to apply for both AEO status and Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) status so that should Brexit happen, UK companies who import and export have the best foundation to continue trading internationally in the interim months.

Start the AEO application with Synergos Consultancy

The process starts by registering for an economic operator registration and identification (EORI) number from HMRC and we can do that for you! With six months until the next Brexit deadline, there is no time to waste.

How can we help you?

If you are in need of assistance with any aspect of AEO compliance, here at Synergos we’d be delighted to help. Whether you have questions about the path to compliance or are looking for advice and support to maintain compliance, call 01484 666160 or Email info@synergosconsultancy.co.uk and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.



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Steve Kilburn
Steve Kilburn
I initially trained as an industrial chemist working in a variety of manufacturing environments eventually moving into quality management which grew to encompass environmental and occupational health and safety management systems. I hold a Masters Degree in Health and Safety law and Environmental Law and a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Waste Management and I am a Graduate Level Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). In my spare time I enjoy reading, my favourite author is Stephen King, and listening to music, generally from the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
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