Customs revamps AEO programme to meet global standards
Sheldon Williams, Staff Reporter
THE JAMAICA Customs Agency Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme has been revamped to meet global security standards, following recommendations by the World Customs Organization (WCO).
The WCO SAFE Framework of Standards defines an AEO as a party involved in the international movement of goods in whatever function that has been approved by or on behalf of a national customs administration as complying with WCO or equivalent supply chain security standards.
The programme was represented at the official launch ceremony and symposium at the Jamaica Conference Centre yesterday, five years after its initial introduction.
Director of public relations and information at Jamaica Customs, Dahlia Beckford, outlined that certain key components of the AEO in its first instance were missing, and so the upgrade was inevitable.
"The programme was launched in 2009 under Commissioner Danville Walker. However, in 2011, it was re-evaluated by the World Customs Organization and they gave a number of recommendations for the programme to fit into the sphere on what an AEO is on a global basis," she said.
Beckford added: "Some of the suggestions included a security mechanism that the importers, as well as the brokers, should adhere to and how customs should manage the programme. We implemented those suggestions and now in 2014, with the revamping programme, we are relaunching."
The AEO Programme is an initiative of the World Customs Organization which has been implemented in the Jamaica Customs Agency through collaboration with the WCO and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Major Richard Reese, commissioner of customs, explained that there has been sparked interest from companies in the AEO, evidenced by the number of applications. "I am happy to report that 186 applications for membership in the programme have been received from companies that were a part of the programme prior to the revamp. Twenty-eight companies have undergone validation exercises as at July 23, and the application process will continue following this launch," he shared.