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Authorized Economic Operator Programme (AEO) is a concept under the World Customs Organization (WCO) SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE Framework). It represents a Customs-to-Business partnership to enhance international supply chain security and facilitate movement of legitimate goods.

Hong Kong AEO Programme

The Hong Kong AEO Programme, with its successful pilot run since 2010, is administered by the Customs and Excise Department under an open and voluntary certification regime. Under the Programme, local companies of different sizes which have met pre-determined security standards will be accredited as AEOs, and enjoy appropriate Customs facilitation. This partnership programme is open to all stakeholders such as manufacturers, importers, exporters, freight forwarders, warehouse operators, carriers, etc. involved in the international supply chain. No accreditation fee will be charged.

A company which has been accredited as an AEO under the Programme will be recognised as a trusted partner of the Department to jointly secure the global supply chain. The company will enjoy appropriate incentives including reduced or prioritised Customs inspection.


All local stakeholders engaging in international supply chain activities, which have met predetermined security standards will be accredited as HKAEOs and enjoy appropriate Customs facilitation.

Hong Kong Authorized Economic Operator Programme

AEO Status and Accreditation

To cater for different stakeholders of the industries under this partnership programme, the Customs and Excise Department will grant AEO status to qualified companies in two tiers. This tiered accreditation will be awarded according to their level of compliance with pre-determined criteria set out as follows:

General Criteria

Tier 1

Tier 2

Customs Compliance

Maintenance of Commercial Records

Financial Soundness

Security and Safety Criteria

Tier 1

Tier 2

Premises Security and Access Control

Personnel Security

Cargo Security

Conveyance Security

Business Partner Security

Security Training and Education

Information Exchange, Access and Confidentiality

Crisis Management and Incident Recovery

Measurement, Analysis and Improvement


  • Safeguarding international supply chain security
  • Fostering Customs-to-Business partnership
  • Facilitating movement of legitimate goods


  • Reduced Customs inspection
  • Prioritised Customs clearance
  • Strengthened competitiveness and marketability
  • Enhanced goodwill as a secure trader
  • Privileged benefits under Mutual Recognition Arrangement

Prioritised Clearance Facilities

Apart from reduced Customs inspection, AEOs can enjoy prioritised Customs clearance. Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department has set up designated “AEO Priority Service Counter” and “AEO Priority Parking Space” facilities at various control points.

Customs officers will give priority on handling the AEO’s consignments and this will shorten the time required for Customs clearance.

Mutual Recognition Arrangement

Hong Kong Customs and Excise Dept has concluded eleven MRAs with: Australia; Canada; Mainland China; India; Israel; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; New Zealand; Singapore; Thailand and Mexico.

MRAs allow AEOs of one economy to enjoy the facilitation provided by the others. HKAEOs are able to enjoy reciprocal clearance facilitation provided by the nine economies.

Seamless customs clearance within the Greater Bay Area

Under the MRA signed with Mainland China in 2013, the average inspection rate for Hong Kong AEO cargo entering or leaving the Mainland, including the Greater Bay Area, has been reduced compared to non-AEO counterparts. A substantially reduced examination rate and prioritised clearance helps companies in reducing operating costs, strengthening competitiveness and marketability. The MRA between the Mainland and Hong Kong reinforces Hong Kong’s advantages as an international logistics hub and confirms its role and function as one of the powerhouses in leading the regional development under the GBA development plan.

More  Information

Office of Supply Chain Security Management
Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department
Room 3219, Customs Headquarters Building, 222 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong Telephone: +852 3759 2153 (Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (except public holidays))

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