A regional meeting Strengthening cooperation between customs administrations, inspection authorities and the private sector of CEFTA parties within the framework of the AEO program was held in Banja Luka on May 25 and 26, 2023. The meeting was held within the project Support to Regional Economic Integration, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), with the support of the European Commission and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Republic of Germany (BMZ), in partnership with the USAID/EDGE project.
The aim of the meeting was to raise awareness of the importance of cooperation related to the AEO concept, as well as a future open and constructive discussion on the possibilities of common applicable solutions that would enable a significant simplification of border formalities.
Ognjen Alagić, Head of the Department for Simplified Customs Procedures and Authorised Business Entities, pointed out that the Indirect Taxation Authority appreciates the efforts of all customs administrations of the CEFTA parties and their willingness to contribute to a better trade environment, adding that, considering the AEO program, good cooperation and dialogue with the private sector, the best way to create solutions that will lead to mutual trust and full partnership.
Tanja Bošković, project manager at GIZ, stated that stronger engagement between customs administrations, inspection authorities and the private sector is essential for the further development of the AEO program at the national and regional level, and that simplified procedures are not only within the competence of the customs authority , but also of other agencies that should be involved in AEO activities as soon as possible, to everyone’s satisfaction.
Tijana Stefanović, president of the Regional AEO Association, reminded that, in the region, a lot has already been done to promote the AEO program and that a strong connection has already been created between customs and the private sector.
One of the conclusions from the aforementioned meeting is the formation of working groups at the national level in all CEFTA countries, with the participation of representatives of customs authorities, agencies for plant health, food safety, veterinary agencies, as well as representatives of the private sector/AEO companies, whose shipments may be subjected to examinations of the specified inspection authorities.
By fulfilling certain conditions and criteria, AEO status is acquired by business entities that have achieved a high level of safety and protection standards in the international supply chain, with simplified customs procedures and faster flow of goods within the CEFTA countries.