5th WCO Global AEO Conference

The World Customs Organization (WCO) is pleased to invite you to the 5th WCO Global AEO Conference, to be held virtually in collaboration with Dubai Customs/ Federal Customs Authority, United Arab Emirates, from 25 to 27 May 2021.


The fifth round of the WCO Global AEO Conference will look at the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) and Mutual Recognition Agreement / Arrangement (MRA) programme a decade after they were founded to enhance security and facilitate global trade supply chains. This will take place in consideration of a transformed economic landscape, with plans to open the scheme to independent operators and small businesses in e-commerce. Now, the time has come to take stock of current AEO and MRA implementations and reflect on the way forward to ensure a sustained, resilient, and improved implementation trajectory. 




 “AEO 2.0: Advancing Towards New Horizons for Sustainable and Secure Trade” 




In line with the WCO’s theme for 2021, “Customs bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for a sustainable supply chain,” and given the exceptional circumstances that the world is still facing, speakers and participants at the Conference are invited to share their experience and ideas on how the WCO’s SAFE Framework of Standards and Members flagship AEO programmes can be enhanced to drive the Recovery process; how digital transformation can be embraced along with other advanced technologies to enable Renewal, and how people can be put at the centre of change for a Resilient and sustainable supply chain.


To this end, the Conference is expected to be a platform for participants to exchange innovative ideas and visions, examine potential opportunities, and explore the steps required to elevate global best practice in trade facilitation to the next level.


The largest city and economic capital of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai, has for over two centuries been a regional trade hub, from the early expeditions of pearl diving to the global trade of the 21st century, with Dubai Customs standing as one of the city’s oldest and most established institutions. In such light, Dubai is a most suitable host for the WCO’s first AEO conference in the region, dedicated to meaningful discussions of trade systems and frameworks in the aftermath of extraordinary global developments.




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Event History


World Customs Organization (WCO) – Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)

The WCO Global AEO Conference is a global conference providing a unique opportunity to customs administrators, governments, business communities, policymakers, experts and other trade stakeholders to discuss and examine topics related to the security and facilitation of the global trade supply chain. The upcoming edition of the conference will be held in partnership with the Federal Customs Authority of the United Arab Emirates and Dubai Customs, supported by Korea Customs Service, with particular focus on extending the Authorized Economic Operator programme to include micro, small and medium enterprises in the digital economy.

At the time of the conference’s inaugural round in 2012, there were 45 AEO programmes and 30 MRAs under negotiation in the world. This number has increased to 97 AEO programmes in 2020, an increase of 115%, with 20 more under development. MRAs have similarly increased to 87 bilateral and 4 regional MRAs, with 78 MRAs under negotiation.

The 5th WCO Global AEO Conference will also address the successes and challenges of customs and the private sector in implementing AEO programmes. The event is expected to enhance cooperation and capacity, in order to foster a more effective and inclusive global public-private dialogue.








About Host City