Switzerland: AEO – Authorised Economic Operator

Last Updated: 27 December 2018
Article by Anita Machin and Florian Hanslik

The security of international goods and service supply chains, as well as the associated statutory requi­rements for cross-border freight traffic, is an ongoing point of discussion – especially after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Numerous countries have enacted provisions to secure supply chains and, in parti­cular, introduced the status of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). Many companies are now wondering whether this status is worthwhile for their own businesses.

An ,Authorised Economic Operator' has special status: In an international supply chain, it is considered to be a par­ticularly reliable and trustworthy business partner, because it complies with certain security standards that have been verified by the relevant customs authority. Economic operators may claim certain benefits under customs clearance through AEO certification by the competent customs administration. In return, the efficiency of the sup­ply chain should improve and ultimately the costs should be reduced.

AEO status in the EU

In the EU, the status can be granted in three versions as of January 1, 2008:

  • AEO ,Customs Simplification' (AEOC) certificate
  • AEO ,Security and Safety' (AEOS) certificate
  • AEO ,Customs Simplifications / Security and Safety' (AEOF) certificate

All parties involved in an international supply chain (manufacturer, exporter, freight forwarder, warehouse keeper, customs agent, carrier, importer and others) who are domiciled in the customs territory of the Union can be certi­fied with the AEO status. The criteria are the same for all economic operators. However, the status cannot be given to an entire group, but rather only to a single company.

Is the status recognised internationally?

The mutual recognition of the AEO status beyond the borders of the customs territory is a key element of the

framework standardisation by the World Customs Organization in order to safeguard and facilitate global trade. The EU has concluded agreements on the mutual recognition of AEO status with Norway, Switzerland, Japan,

Andorra, the US and China. Further negotiations with other major trading partners (e.g. Canada) are currently under way or will be established in the near future.

Does the AEO status also exist in Switzerland?

While three types of authorisation are possible in the EU, Switzerland only has one AEO status which is compa­rable to the AEOS certificate (security and safety) of the EU. An AEOC certificate, especially as a basis for further authorisations as required by the EU, is not necessary in Switzerland. This is because there is adherence to specific authorisations (e.g. authorised recipient / sender or authorised exporter).

According to Swiss law, it has been possible to apply for the AEO since June 1, 2011 by companies registered either in the Swiss commercial register or in the Liechtenstein public register, and who are thus domiciled in one of these state territories.

Switzerland also strives to conclude agreements on mutual recognition with countries that provide an equivalent programme. At the moment, there are agreements in place with the EU since January 1, 2011, with Norway since July 1, 2017 and with China since September 1, 2017. Japan, the USA and other countries will be soon to follow.

Outlook: AEO – Quo vadis?

According to the notions of the World Customs Organi­sation, the AEO status should be introduced within each contracting state in the future – currently 182 national customs administrations. The AEO status will become established as the standard in global trade. Sooner or later, it will no longer be possible for international­ly active companies to meet the requirements without an AEO certificate. In the future, there is a real risk that non-AEO-certified companies will be considered by potential business partners as the second, if not the last, choice. Furthermore, the concerns of non-certified companies may also be dealt with as ,lower-level' issues by customs authori­ties. This would be very problematic for the food industry in particular, where time is crucial due to the limited shelf life of the goods. As it seems that AEO status will become increasingly consequential in the future, businesses should already be starting to consider whether the certification is reasonable for them, and if they can and want to go through the elaborate pro­cess. Ultimately, it is the secure, smooth and fast customs clearance at the borders that is the essential factor in an international supply chain.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions