We evaluated the Authorized Economic Operator System in the Transportation Sector Magazine.

We evaluated the Authorized Economic Operator System in the Transportation Sector Magazine.

Could you give brief information about the birth and history of YYS in Turkey?

Mehmet Altay YEGİN (MAY): Foreign traders were introduced to YYS with the Law No. 5911, which included amendments to the Customs Law No. 4458. Although the general provisions were made with the aforementioned amendment, the practice aimed at facilitating international trade was put into effect in Turkey with the "Regulation on Facilitation of Customs Procedures" published in the Official Gazette dated 10.01.2013 under the name of "Authorized Economic Operator Status" (AEO). Shortly after the regulation came into force, Authorized Economic Operator Certificates (AEO) began to be distributed. As of the first half of 2024, the number of companies with AEO has exceeded 700. The number of businesses wishing to obtain this status in Turkey is increasing day by day. In other words, AEO implementation in Turkey has passed its 11th year. I hope that these simplification practices in customs, which are available to foreign traders, will become increasingly widespread and their scope will be expanded.

What would you like to say about the applications of AEO in the world?

Mehmet Altay YEGİN (MAY): Foreign trade and customs regulations have also periodically been under the influence of external factors. After the terrorist incidents called "Twin Tower Attacks" in 2001, customs administrations at the global level enacted a series of new regulations with the understanding of "security first, then trade". These attacks caused trauma not only in the USA but also in the entire western world. As a result of the analyzes conducted in the USA, it was generally accepted that "ease of international travel" and "liberalization of international trade" made a significant contribution to the potential dangers posed to this country. This "new approach" to international trade came into being when the "Safety and Security Measures in International Trade" regulations, which were not previously included in the customs legislation, came into force and traders were obliged to comply with them. All countries have increasingly adopted the concept of "safety first, then trade" when it comes to international goods traffic. Traders at the global level began to face technology-intensive customs controls of states that set out for purposes such as "joint fight against illegal trade" and "prevention of black money". Evaluating the situation together, the members of the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization felt the need to make a new regulation to carry out customs procedures faster, at least for businesses called "reliable traders", without compromising security controls.

The "Authorized Economic Operator" regulation has been put into effect in many countries with this understanding. The AEO concept is based on a «customs-to-business» cooperation initiated by the World Customs Organization (WCO). The legal basis for the EU AEO program was provided in 2008 through «security amendments» to the «European Union Customs Code» (CCC) (Regulation (EC) 648/2005) and its implementing provisions. The program aims to improve international supply chain security and facilitate legitimate trade Currently, the AEO program is operational in 97 countries that are members of the World Customs Organization (WCO). In addition to these, 20 new AEO programs are being developed. There are 87 bilateral and 4 multilateral/regional Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) in this field and 78 agreements are in the negotiation phase.

Are there any new developments regarding AEO in the world? What are the new trends in this field?

Mehmet Altay YEGİN (MAY): Regarding the new trend in the world, at the 21st meeting held by the SAFE Working Group at the World Customs Organization headquarters in Brussels between 16-18 April 2019, we came together to strengthen AEO programs and examine potential opportunities. came. At the meeting, an agreement was reached that the next step in strengthening the system was to reach the AEO 2.0 level. In this regard, it was agreed to prepare a comprehensive concept report on the following issues and continue discussions in future meetings.

On the other hand, the meeting evaluated and approved the draft outlines of the working report on AEO programs and regional realization of mutual recognition agreements, the implementation of smart security devices and the integration of processes. We look forward to member countries harmonizing these recommendations into their own laws and increasing simplification practices.

What important work has the Authorized Economic Operator Association undertaken for the sector in 2023? What important issues are on your agenda for 2024 after the elective General Assembly?

Mehmet Altay YEGİN (MAY): With this vision, the Association, within the expectations and targets of 2024, aims to develop the rights and practices used within the scope of the authorized taxpayer system, prevent cost and time losses arising from foreign trade transactions, reduce formalities, and prepare the relevant legislation in an easily understandable and applicable manner. To continue its work with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union and our subsidiary "International AEO Association" based in Spain, without seeking profit or gain.

How many companies have received YYS in Turkey? How fast is this number increasing?

Mehmet Altay YEGİN (MAY): According to the Ministry of Commerce's February 2024 data, the number of companies with AEO certificate exceeded 700. Companies that are likely to be certified in the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan: The number of 620 units has been exceeded. Currently, there are 60 companies equipped with on-site customs clearance authority in exports, 16 companies equipped with on-site customs clearance authority in imports, and 18 companies equipped with authorized buyer authority. Our wish is that the number of companies with certificates will increase among the top 1,000 exporting companies.

Could you share with us your impressions and topics of the 6th World Customs Organization (WCO) Global AEO Conference in Shenzhen, China, which you attended as an invited guest between 8-10 May 2024?

Mehmet Altay YEGİN (MAY): The theme of the conference we attended with our Secretary General Aysun Yılmaz and our Board Member Elçin Can İnan was: "Leveraging the Power of AEO Programs for Inclusive and Sustainable Global Trade". This three-day global event focused on transforming Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) programs. It brought together key stakeholders from around the world to explore the potential of women in global trade, engaging in risk management and leveraging technology to facilitate trade, and much more. It also provided ample opportunities to gain detailed information about AEO programs and to discuss the unique opportunities to shape the future of AEO programs and their impact on global trade.

To mention the titles of the sessions organized in the form of eight “General Assemblies”:

1st General Assembly Session: AEO Program as a Key Factor of Economic Growth and Security

2nd General Assembly Session: Empowering Women through AEO Programmes, Addressing Gender-Related Barriers to Global Trade,

General Assembly Session: Authorized Economic Operator Programs in Smart Customs: Leveraging Data Analytics and Emerging Technologies for Better Risk Management and Trade Facilitation,

4th Plenary Session: Global Recognition and Harmonization of Authorized Economic Operators Programs: Challenges and Opportunities for Customs and Businesses,

5th General Assembly Session: Assessing the Impact of the Authorized Economic Operator Program and Measuring the Benefits,

6th Plenary Session: The Future of the AEO Program: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Customs, Businesses and Society in the Next Decade,

7th General Assembly Session: AEO and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Addressing Challenges and Encouraging AEO Participation,

8th General Assembly Session: Coordinating Accredited Executive Programs with Other Institutions: Strategies for Improving Compliance and Implementation,

It was handled as such.

The most important topics that we recorded in our post-conference agenda: The necessity of adding new stakeholders to the YYS system, carrying out the reforms in place and on time, redesigning the AEO with different programs, reviewing the application documents, the importance of the mutual recognition agreement, accelerating the interaction with customs administrations and increasing simplification practices. We can list as follows. In this context, we will continue our foreign visits and work without slowing down.

What are the advantages that AEO offers to companies and the country's economy? At this point, what are the demands and needs of the sector?

Mehmet Altay YEGİN (MAY): First of all, we can say that the AEO system contributes to the solution of countries' "security" problems. It is an indisputable fact that the AEO system contributes to the national income and internal security levels of countries that fight more closely against smuggling, thanks to the cooperation envisaged by the system. In addition, YYS provides advanced planning, competitive advantage, time and cost advantages to foreign traders. However, I would like to state with regret that, although the number of companies with AEO certificates has exceeded 700, in a country with high export targets like Turkey, the number of companies equipped with "on-site customs clearance for exports" authority is limited to 60. With this authority, companies are allowed to carry out customs clearance from their own facilities. We hope this simplification practice becomes widespread rapidly. In this field, the duty of encouraging the sector and the Ministry falls on NGOs. We encourage foreign trade professionals to include the system by organizing seminars, information and symposiums to disseminate it. Another important issue is that "Mutual Recognition Agreements", which ensure that authorized operator certificates are valid in other countries, are still very limited for Turkey. This situation is considered as a handicap. I would like to state that we hope that a protocol will be signed quickly with the United Kingdom, with which we have a mutual recognition agreement outside of South Korea, to put the provisions of the Mutual Recognition Agreement into force and that the implementation will be mutually implemented between the two countries.