Authorised Economic Operator AEO

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What is an AEO?

The term authorised economic operator, or AEO for short (the abbreviation ZWB is also used in German), refers to a status granted to persons considered reliablein terms of the security and safety of the international supply chain. AEOs aregranted facilitations concerning customs security and safety checks. AEO statusis recognised by countries with which Switzerland has concluded a correspondingagreement (currently European Union, Norway, China, United Kingdom, soon alsoJapan, later possibly United States, ...).


Discussions concerning the security and safety of international supply chains and the associated statutory provisions governing cross-border freight transport have increased significantly in recent years. Following in the footsteps of the United States, the EU likewise issued provisions on supply chain security and supplemented its Customs Code with a Security Amendment. The security measures affect imports, exports and goods in transit. In this context, the EU also introduced the status of authorised economic operator.

Current status

The security measures mentioned above would have had both economic and transport-related consequences for Switzerland. To prevent this, the EU and Switzerland negotiated a new agreement on customs facilitation and security. It has been in force since 2009. As a result, Switzerland is integrated into the EU's security area.

Drawing on the new agreement, Switzerland also adapted its legal basis and introduced AEO status, among other things. Companies that obtain AEO status are considered to be particularly reliable and trustworthy, and benefit from simplified security-related customs controls in both customs territories thanks to the mutual recognition of AEO status.