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AEO Certification: A tool for accessing new markets?

Those of us who work in the world of international trade know that we operate in a very competitive market where the smallest advantage in the design, manufacture or delivery time of merchandise can be key in influencing a buyer to choose our product.

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  • Large importers in more developed markets are beginning to demand AEO certification from their clients

For many companies, whether they are exporters or importers, the movement of goods from their point of origin to their final destination has been, and quite possibly continues to be, the most unpredictable link in the logistical supply chain. At the moment our products leave the warehouse, they are no longer in our control and we have no choice but to rely on logistical operators and workers who will determine whether or not our shipment complies with the legislation in force. 

However, since several years ago, there is a certification issued by customs authorities that can provide companies with a competitive edge, greater security during the transport process of their goods, and decreased delivery times. This certification, known internationally as the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) certification, creates an alliance between customs authorities and the private sector, in which those companies that voluntarily join the program and comply with a set of requirements receive priority treatment and greater facilities for exporting and importing goods.


The requirements for obtaining and maintaining this certification are fundamentally related to the implementation of both physical and IT security, improvement in the traceability of goods, accounting controls and financial solvency, among other factors. Once the company fulfills all of these requirements, it becomes a strategic partner of the customs authority and can enjoy a number of financial and operational benefits, such as advantages in paying fees, fewer physical inspections and priority dispatch. 

Additionally, large importers in more developed markets are beginning to demand AEO certification from their clients, as they see it as a differentiating element that reflects the company’s degree of professionalization and at the same time provides better guarantees of compliance with delivery timelines. 

A new way of working with Customs

However, obtaining this certification goes beyond fulfilling a set of requirements and conditions. Obtaining and maintaining the certification requires commitment at the highest levels of the company, who must work hand in hand with the customs authorities in an environment of mutual respect, opening doors to personnel and informing them of any incident that may occur. 

Therefore, it is necessary to change the philosophy of working with customs authorities, seeing it not as an obstacle in our logistics chain but as an ally. 

The Authorized Economic Operator certification in the world

More than 50 countries have an AEO program, including the member states of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan, China and Korea. Moreover, countries with AEO programs have the option of recognizing the secure and reliable status of a company that is conferred by another AEO program country, through a mutual recognition process. As a result, certified companies obtain additional benefits in other countries thanks to this recognition. 

In Latin America, nine countries have implemented the AEO program: Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica (where it is called “PROFAC”), Guatemala, Mexico (NEEC), Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay. 

If your company is located in one of these nine countries and you would like more information about this certification, don’t hesitate to contact the customs authority in your country to receive detailed information on the requirements and benefits of this program.


Argentina Ext 10110, 10115
Costa Ricaleivaah@hacienda.go.cr2522-9295
El Salvadorjavier.claros@mh.gob.sv2244-5340, 2244-5283N/A
Guatemalaoea@sat.gob.gt2329-7070 Ext 1326, 1327 y 1337
Peruuac.oeaperu@sunat.gob.pe634-3600 Ext 20609, 20372, 20378
Dominican Ext 2122
Uruguayoeauy@aduanas.gub.uy2915-0007 Ext 119


Obtaining AEO certification requires a considerable investment of time and resources. However, if we take into account the level of competitiveness that rules in markets and the importance of standing out from the competition, the question is – what’s the price of not having the certification? 

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