AEO, ENS and mutual recognition

The new EU regulatory change (58/2013/EU)  legally defines  the groundwork for potential benefits for AEO-qualified exporters from Japan, and  USA  C-TPAT members  from the US on consignments they export to the EU.  More partner countries may be added in the future.  The change allows for identification of a consignor as an AEO/C-TPAT member on the EU pre-departure message (the so-called Entry Summary Declaration or ENS) through use of a government-approved numerical identifier.  The EU and the partner government will exchange this number (along with other information) on the AEO/C-TPAT members) to allow the other to validate the consignor’s current good standing in the AEO/C-TPAT program.  The US and Japan have already announced their own implementation requirements to enable consignments from EU AEOs to be recognized as “low-risk” in their own national import risk management systems, so this EU amendment is intended to allow reciprocity.

It should be noted that the way the ENS was implemented in the EU (as a carrier requirement, rather than—as in the US 10+2—an importer of record requirement) has led to ongoing difficulties where the carrier claims inability to obtain the information on the true consignor of goods, and has, with varying degrees of resistance in different EU Member States, often been not obligated to do so.  There  can be no risk assessment targeting based on the consignor unless that information is in fact available (and let’s ignore for now the fact that any risk assessment on an ENS today must as a practical matter take place in the national targeting systems—such as they exist—in the individual Member States and not at a consolidated EU level, since no EU-wide system yet exists).   This amendment should hence assist the EU in correcting a deficiency of the ENS—at least for an identified group of AEOs in the US and Japan.  The change will, if the AEOs can ensure that the carriers have access to and file ENS with the appropriate identifiers, lead to a situation where qualified AEO consignments are identified as such with the ENS and (one assumes) granted beneficial treatment in the EU (Member State) risk targeting system.   This should stimulate Japanese and US AEO/C-TPAT members to ensure that their shipments to the EU are identified as such by the carrier.   And could lead to a situation where non-AEO consignment –being, by default, everything which is not identified as consigned by a qualified AEO or C-TPAT member– will be assigned a higher risk rating and be subjected to a higher likelihood of inspection or intervention.