20 February 2013

CLECAT disappointed by lack of benefits in trade security agreement

CLECAT, the European Association for forwarding, transport, logistic and Customs services, is disappointed by some of the small print concerning the full implementation of mutual recognition for the USA’s and European Union’s trade security programmes.  Details on the implementation recently published by DG TAXUD of the European Commission - “US-EU Mutual Recognition Decision, Frequently Asked Questions” - confirm that freight forwarders and customs brokers which are AEO-accredited will not benefit from the reduced risk scores under the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA).

CLECAT has welcomed the news that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the European Union (EU) have fully implemented mutual recognition of the CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) programme and the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme.

The holder of an AEO or C-TPAT accreditation is recognised as an economic operator who has taken appropriate measures to secure his business, and as a reliable actor in the international supply chain. Both the EU and the US secure trader programmes take secure operator status a secure operator into account, irrespective of that operator’s role in the supply chain.  What is now surprising and disappointing to see is that they do not mutually recognize the secure operator status of freight forwarders and customs agents. Secure freight forwarders can only benefit indirectly from a reduced risk score if the manufacturer or exporter/importer, is a secure operator.

Since the programme started, CLECAT and its national Member Associations have consistently supported the concept of AEO, and encouraged their members to work towards accreditation.  To acquire the accreditation requires considerable efforts in time, money and human resources.

It is therefore extremely disappointing that the efforts of our members to improve supply chain security and customs compliance are not recognised by EU and US regulators, who have overlooked the sector’s efforts to support their trade security ambitions.

Notes to editors

This final phase of the mutual recognition of the CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) programme and the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme provides reciprocal benefits to C-TPAT members when exporting to EU member states.

These benefits, which include a lower risk score and less controls when shipping cargo, were provided to members exporting into the U.S. in Phase I of the agreement, implemented in July 2012. The agreement was first signed in May 2012.

The goal of these arrangements is to link the various international industry partnership programmes, so that together they create a unified and sustainable security posture that can assist in securing and facilitating global cargo trade.

For more information please contact:

Nicolette van der Jagt

CLECAT   – The European Voice of Freight Forwarders and Logistics

Rue du Commerce 77


Tel + 32 2 503 4705