The Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) regime came into effect from 1st January 2008 as a response to the threat of international terrorism. This is relevant to all companies involved in the international movement of goods which are imported into the EU.
Companies obtaining AEO status will benefit through reduced physical checks and therefore quicker movement of goods. This is being promoted by the EU Commission as a quality mark which will provide a competitive advantage which will be of particular relevance to multinational companies.
Many companies have already indicated that they will only trade with AEO companies.
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Many businesses are now recognising the importance of deciding how and when they wish to proceed with an application. Typically, an application may take between four and six months to be ready for submission, with the tax authorities asking for up to 300 days to review an application.
A new Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) entered into force in the EU on 1 June 2007. It will become operative with effect from 1 June 2008.
Under REACH all chemical substances manufactured or imported in the EU in quantities exceeding 1 ton per year must be registered with a central body, the European Chemicals Agency in Finland. Failure to register a substance will mean that it cannot be manufactured or imported in the EU.