Authorised economic operators from Moldova will now be recognised by all the 27 EU member states – further deepening the economic integration between our country and the Union. This is an important step aimed to boost export capacity of Moldovan products to the EU market and of vital interest to businesses. The adoption of this decision is a historic event, which brings the Republic of Moldova even closer to the European Union, our country now being among the few states with which the Union has such a partnership. The EU mutually recognises the authorised economic operators of only a few more states: the USA, the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Japan and China.
The necessary measures for the adoption of the European Council decision in this regard were possible with the support of the European Union, through the European Union High Level Advisers’ Mission. These included the evaluation of national customs legislation and its approximation with that of the European Union, EU validation missions in Moldova, Romania and Germany, but also the development of a dedicated IT platform – a complex data exchange system for the mutual recognition of AEOs, being the first connection system between the customs authorities of the Republic of Moldova and the EU member states. The mutual recognition of AEO status will allow certain benefits to its holders, first of all priority treatment while crossing the border – a special lane dedicated to them, and a reduced number of controls.
At the launching conference, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Natalia Gavrilita, stated: ‘I am proud that we are the first country in the region to obtain mutual recognition of authorized economic operators with the European Union. It is a status that has so far been achieved by much more developed countries, such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland or Japan. This result represents a strong signal of confidence for the Government I lead, but also for the commitments we have made in the field of fight against corruption. I hope, in this way, to increase the export capacity of Moldovan products on the European Union market – a desire that is even more important in the context of the difficult economic situation in the region.’
In his turn, the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, Jānis Mažeiks, emphasised: ‘Moldovan Authorised Economic Operators will benefit of the same privileges at the border as the EU’s Authorised Economic Operators. This will mean simplified procedures for customs clearance, less time spent at the border and less queues at the border. Moldova is the first country from EU’s neighbourhood with whom the EU concluded such type of agreement and among the very few countries worldwide that have such an agreement with the EU.’
The implementation of the programme will start on 1 November 2022.
NB: The implementation of the EU-Moldova Mutual Recognition programme is a priority and commitment within the EU – Republic of Moldova Association Agreement (art. 197 (j) which provides for “mutual recognition of trade partnership programmes and customs controls, including equivalent trade facilitation measures between the Parties”. The AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) program is based on the partnership between customs and economic operators that voluntarily comply with customs regulations and cooperate with customs authorities, ensure the security of goods in international traffic, and as a result, benefit from customs facilities and simplifications. The AEO programme aims to strengthen the security of the international supply chain and facilitate legitimate commerce. The AEO holders are subject to fewer physical and documentary controls as compared to other economic operators. The AEO status also ensure priority treatment in cases when the means of transport and the goods transported by the AEO are subject to additional customs controls. The holders of the AEO authorisations are also entitled to request deferred payment of import duties. AEO authorisation also provides other indirect benefits with a positive impact on the economic operator’s image. Thus, the AEO status shows that the respective company is a reliable partner, both in relation to customs authorities and to other business partners. Among other indirect benefits of the AEO status are: improved planning and inventory management, enhanced customer service that lead to greater customer loyalty, as well as improved security and communication between supply chain partners. At the same time, the AEO authorisation minimises delays in shipments due to consolidated security and communication between all the actors involved in the supply chain.