AEO Certification for VWS

VWS Export - Import of Flowerbulbs BV is since July 2011 AEO Certified (NLAEOF 0000932)


Since the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, much attention has been focused on international safety and security measures. Concept of  `safety and security` has been included in the European customs legislation. 

Enterprises and their suppliers involved in EU cross-border movements of goods will have to comply with this new legislation. When introducing new legislation the European Union intends to offer the business sector better facilities. These facilities should result in the reduction of logistic delays and administrative burdens. As of September 2007 enterprises may therefore apply for the status of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). An AEO certificate is valid in all EU Member States. 

The introduction of the AEO status is for Dutch Customs an import next step towards cooperation with the business sector. It fits in with the aim to 'horizontalize' supervision. This means that the business sector together with the Customs Department are responsible for a safe and incorruptible goods flow crossing external borders. It offers the prospect of ensuring together a safe logistic chain.

AEO outlines 

Customs will use the following key elements for checking the outlines for AEO status and its issue:

  • The starting point of Customs is based on organized trust which would be ‘horizontal’ supervision with regard to the whole of the logistical chain.

  • Customs will make maximum use of any guarantees that businesses have to offer which will include existing safety systems.

Horizontal supervision, organized trust

The standard method of customs checking is characterized by ‘vertical supervision’ and distrust. Customs carries out its activities by selecting and checking.

The principle of horizontal supervision is based on the notion that Customs operates on the basis of trust rather then distrust. This is a not implicit trust but is  trust based on experiences from the past (what is the reputation of the company at Customs) and the fact that businesses would take their own responsibility.

In  practice this would mean that businesses have the responsibility of checking their guarantees and safety procedures and that businesses do not wait with the implementation of the above until a check by Customs occurs. Customs will assess the existing guarantees, the security systems and certain formal aspects that form part of the EU legislation and this would be used as a basis for putting their trust in a business. This is why the nation of organized trust serves as a starting point.

Customs would clearly like to fit in with the guarantees given by participants in the chain themselves. It concerns internal control measures in a business (AO-IB). Other examples are ISPS-,TAPA- and ISO-certifications as well as C-TPAT standards or SAS 70 accountant statements. In this way the efficiency of Customs checks is increased without increasing burdens on businesses.

In the approach to safety and security practiced by the European Commission the whole of the logistical chain has an important role. That chain has three important moments where checks may be carried out:

-at the beginning of the chain (export)

- at the end of the chain (import)

-at the point of crossing the EU borders.


The AEO outlines are concerned with the guarantees that have been found in the whole of the logistic chain to provide safety and security of the movement of goods. The starting point of the AEO outlines is to assess the guarantees and safety procedures as a whole and no longer check individual transaction of goods.

The AEO outlines consist of a system-based approach. Moreover, Customs takes the security of the entire supply chain as a starting point (chain approach). This is a way of attempting to control the flow of goods from the producer to the buyer, other systems being applicable outside the EU that are comparable the AEO outlines. These systems have become comparable as a result of standards developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).



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VWS Export - Import of
Flowerbulbs B.V.

Westelijke Randweg 3
1721 CH  Broek op Langedijk
The Netherlands
+31(0) 226 331050

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