On May 4, 2012 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the European Union (EU) announced the signing of a Mutual Recognition Decision between CBP's Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program and the EU's Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program.
The C-TPAT and AEO programs are voluntary partnerships between members of the trade community and their respective governments in which participants adopt specifc supply chain security standards and receive benefits / incentives in recognition of their low-risk security status. Mutual Recognition indicates that the security requirements of two industry partnership programs are the same or similar to allow each program to recognize the validation findings of the other to extend many of the benefits of membership in one program to members of the other.
In a recent news release issued by CBP, Director General Heinz Zourak of the EU Taxation and Customs Union Directorate stated that, "Today's decision on the mutual recognition of the EU and U.S. trade partnership programs is a win-win achievement: It will save time and money for trusted operators on both sides of the Atlantic while it will allow customs authorities to concentrate their resources on risky consignments and better facilitate legitimate trade"
The details of the Mutual Recognition Decision and an official implementation date are still pending but are expected to be released in the near future. The full text of the CBP news release is available online at:
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