Approximately 800 World Customs Organization (WCO) delegates are expected to take part in the fourth Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) conference next month in Uganda to discuss mutual recognition of AEOs and secure global trade.
The delegates, according to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), are expected from 169 customs organizations from Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia, on March 14-16.
According to URA acting commissioner general Patrick Mukiibi, recognition of Ugandan economic operators by other global customs authorities will help speed up clearing processes and cut costs for companies in the country.
“Mutual recognition will give our authorized operators the same benefits as are accrued to them here. This means that they can do their own tax assessments, which then saves time and also earns them preferential treatment by other customs organizations across the world,” he said.
AEOs are businesses certified by customs administrations to do self-assessment in relation to compliance with customs rules.
Uganda now has 36 local operators, with another 46 operating at the East Africa regional level under a mutual recognition agreement.
According to Mukiibi, Ugandan AEOs currently contribute to 19 percent of all revenue collections, and nearly 25 percent of all customs cargo annually.
The commissioner for customs, Dickson Kateshumbwa, said the AEO regime is currently being implemented in 77 countries at both national and regional levels, with Uganda operating the most mature program in Africa.
“We were granted the opportunity to host this event on account of having the most mature AEO program in Africa,” he said. “Now we want to push for a bigger and better arrangement in the region for the benefit of our economies.”
Previous AEO global conferences were held in Seoul, South Korea, in 2012, Madrid, Spain, in 2014, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2016.