An important step was made in the trade relationship between the EU and the U.S. Under the agreement the EU and the U.S. will recognize all the companies certified as Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs) in the EU. AEOs in the EU will receive benefits when exporting to the US market, and the EU will reciprocate for certified members of the US Customs-Trade Partnership against terrorism (C-TPAT). Mutual recognition will enable the companies to benefit from faster controls and reduced administration for customs clearance. The agreement will come into force on 1 July 2012.
The European companies can apply for the AEO status to gain easier access to customs simplifications and to get a comparative advantage in international trade. The EU wants its major trading partners to recognize AEOs as reliable traders. Switzerland, Norway and Japan have recognized AEOs and yet there is an agreement under negotiation with China. In the Czech Republic, 101 companies have been given the AEO status so far.