CT Strategies (CTS) has been selected by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to conduct a scoping mission in support of the Customs Administration of Serbia to define the project plan for advancement of the Serbian Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program. As a part of the Alliances for Trade Facilitation program, the project’s goal is to reduce the cost and time of trade for companies and improve the benefits and clearance processes of the Serbian AEO program in line with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
CTS will work with GIZ and Serbian Customs to shape the project plan with inputs from Serbian companies, government officials and experts, and CTS’ extensive experience with global best practices for AEO programs. Following data collection, CTS will work in partnership with project stakeholders to craft a detailed proposal which achieves desired facilitation benefits, increases compliance, improves risk management, and increases revenue collections.
Charting a path forward for Serbia’s AEO program which identifies and implements further simplifications will assist in encouraging membership and growth in the program while increasing benefits for all stakeholders. Since its launch in 2014, Serbia’s AEO program has grown to include 36 companies with AEO status.
Implementing further AEO enhancements supports Serbia’s efforts to effectively implement the WTO TFA, the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), and the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) recently signed with China. In April 2018, Additional Protocol 5 on the Facilitation of Trade to CEFTA entered into force. The objectives of Additional Protocol 5 include simplifying inspections related to all clearance procedures and reducing formalities, exchanging data between authorities, and mutually recognizing the national AEO programs in each CEFTA Party. In 2021, Serbian Customs signed an MRA with China. Under the agreement, companies that obtain the AEO status in the two countries will enjoy expedited customs procedures for their exports, such as reduced examination and prioritized clearance.
In addition to the AEO program, Serbian Customs launched their Simplified Customs Clearance Procedures in 2010. These procedures were recently expanded to include customs brokers, and currently over 400 companies utilize them in various capacities. This significant group of companies utilizing simplified procedures are well-positioned to become members of the AEO program by meeting additional requirements.
As a global leader in AEO with expertise in customs modernization, CT Strategies plays a key role in this initiative. The company’s mission is founded on strengthening integral trade networks that increase efficiency and security for public and private entities. Supporting Serbia’s AEO program expands the team’s global footprint, adding to the growing list of locations in which CTS has successfully supported AEO development including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Australia. The dynamic team of trade experts redefine what it means to be a small business with the unique ability to provide flexible solutions to challenges ranging from large scale trade obstacles to customs workforce development.