The Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, which will ensure better security and facilitation of global supply chains, is ready for a pilot run, before the scheduled operational launch by the first half of 2016, according to Dubai Customs. A select group of Dubai Customs’ clients was handpicked to take part in the trial implementation, to ensure businesses are well prepared to adopt the program before it officially rolls out across the UAE. Dubai Customs devised an action plan to ensure the pilot runs smoothly, and all essential final checks are done before the actual launch. HE Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said that Dubai Customs was among the first organisations in the Middle East to adopt the Authorized Economic Operator Program, which is expected to boost business growth by expanding the UAE’s global trade network. He added, “The implementation of this program will increase mutual recognition and scale ties with Customs administrations and authorities in the region and the world, which is to be achieved via the Mutual Recognition Agreements, bringing a bundle of benefits to all stakeholders.” Bin Sulayem said that the AEO program was designed to ensure a safer, healthier and more transparent global trade environment. “The program will allow inspection capacity to be better targeted at cargo of unknown and potentially unsafe operators, as goods imported or exported by potential AEOs will go through less or no inspection,” he added. Dubai Customs has been carrying out discussions in respect of the implementation of the AEO scheme with several stakeholders in the global supply chain from both the government and private sectors. It recently received a high level delegation from the Republic of South Korea representing Korea Customs Service, headed by Lee Jong-Woo, Director of Audit and Policy Division, to explore the prospects and anticipated goals of adopting the AEO concept. HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Dubai Customs Director stated, “The AEO program will revolutionise Customs operations, and AEOs will benefit from simplified Customs procedures, including pre-arrival shipment clearance, preferential Customs treatment, and Customs advice upon request.” To attain such benefits, Musabih explained, businesses should first be validated by Dubai Customs as meeting appropriate compliance standards. The respective requirements and technical specifications for the implementation of the AEO program are outlined by the WCO’s SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade, which incorporates detailed provisions on the conditions and requirements of Authorized Economic Operators. Among other measures, the AEO program ensures the integrity of exchanged information as well as of employees involved; a necessity to secure the trade supply chain and facilitate trade.