Why are UK businesses so reluctant to apply for AEO? Is it simply because they don’t see any benefit, or maybe they are put off by the negative incentives offered by UK Customs? (i.e. failure to obtain AEO status may result in increased delays at clearance etc.). Could it be that those who have achieved authorisation might be somewhat disillusioned to find that an accreditation which is supposed to demonstrate that they are “trusted” by Customs actually means a much greater level of intrusion by Customs, with audits going to ever deeper levels? Is it perceived that the cost of professional assistance in managing the application process is out of reach for many businesses? Or is there simply no incentive, or pressure, from any direction to persuade a UK business to apply?
AEO has been around for about 6 years now, during which time over 10,000 authorisations have been issued throughout the EU. Of those, almost half have been issued by Germany, yet only 3% have been issued by UK Customs. It does look increasingly like apathy rules UK where AEO is concerned. The Customs Practice understands that UK Customs are receiving only four applications each month, which is a poor reflection of our belief that the UK is a major worldwide trading nation – these statistics suggest we are not even a major European trading nation.
So, back to the question of why are UK businesses so reluctant to apply for AEO? We would like to hear from any businesses which have considered AEO, and then dismissed the idea, for whatever reason. So please send a very brief email, with a summary of the key reasons to firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 01635 521 624.