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Taxation and Customs Union

Mutual Recognition

What is Mutual Recognition of AEOs?

Mutual Recognition of AEOs is a key element of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards to strengthen end-to-end security of supply chains and to multiply benefits for traders.

By mutual recognition of AEOs two customs administrations agree to

  • recognise the AEO authorisation issued under the other programme and
  • provide reciprocal benefits to AEOs of the other programme.

The EU has concluded and implemented Mutual Recognition of AEO programmes with Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Moldova, the US, China and United Kingdom. Further negotiations are currently taking place or will be launched in the near future with the other most important trading partners. In addition, the EU is providing technical assistance to a number of countries to prepare them to set up AEO programmes.

What are the benefits of Mutual Recognition?

The specific benefits are contained in each individual Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), but in general the benefits include the following core elements:

  • Fewer security and safety related controls
  • Recognition of business partners during the application process
  • Priority treatment at customs clearance
  • Business continuity mechanism

How to participate in Mutual Recognition?

Holders of AEO authorisations with the safety and security component (AEOS or AEOC/AEOS) are eligible to participate in Mutual Recognition. They have to provide their written consent to exchange company details with partner countries (e.g. name, address, identifier). The consent can be provided by filling in the respective box in the Annex to the Self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ), but it also can be provided or withdrawn at any time by written request to the competent customs authority of the EU Member State concerned.

How to get the Mutual Recognition benefits?

  • In order to benefit from the “Recognition of business partners during the application process” EU companies applying for AEOC/AEOS status in the EU are requested to indicate the name, address and AEO number of any business partner which is AEO in one of the countries that the EU has an MRA with in the SAQ section 6.10. These business partners are considered safe and secure and generally no additional requirements (security declaration etc.) will be asked from the applicant.
  • In order to benefit from “fewer security and safety related controls and priority treatment at customs clearance” the AEO has to communicate its EORI number to their business partner in the respective MRA partner country. The business partner enters the EORI number in the declaration form for the import process into the MRA partner country. Further details are available in the FAQs referred to under 6.III of the AEO Guidelines.

List of operational mutual recognition agreements/arrangements and further information





  • Agreement (OJ L 232 of 3 of September 2009)




NOTE: The data exchange between Norway, Switzerland and UK is automated therefore no additional actions are needed by the AEOs.