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Companies without EU ‘Authorised Economic Operator’ status

Will be uncompetitive, More than 50% of companies would fail if they applied for AEO status today

Stokenchurch, UK, 12 September 2007 – RedPrairie, a world leading consumer driven optimisation company, announces that Authorised Economic Operator status will become a commercial necessity for importers, warehouse operators, freight forwarders, agents, carriers and manufacturers, but that only half have the necessary systems in place.

Although a voluntary scheme, AEO accreditation will become a commercial necessity as it will demonstrate that the holder has implemented secure and safe practice in shipping in and out of the EU and compliance with the USA's Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). Companies with AEO status will become preferred trading partners within these regions. Other benefits include the fast-tracking of freight clearance at ports and the possible removal of the need for a customs guarantee.

To secure accreditation, companies need to apply to their national customs authority. Throughout the EU this process has begun, with authorities making application forms available on their web-sites in recent weeks. Companies will be assessed on their financial solvency, compliance record, and safety and security standards. Management and record keeping must also meet standards yet many companies currently fall short on this point.

“With the European Union representing one-fifth of the world's imports and exports the introduction of AEO status will affect a huge number of businesses of all sizes across the 27 member countries. RedPrairie estimates that more than half of those businesses will find that their record-keeping systems fall short of the required standards,” says Martin Hiscox, President & Managing Director International of RedPrairie.

“Given that Customs authorities will begin to process AEO applications from 1 January 2008, we are offering free assessments to companies that feel they may need to upgrade their existing customs package or in-house system. We are also holding a number of seminars to highlight the implications and opportunities that will be presented by the introduction of Authorised Economic Operator status.”

RedPrairie's AEO-compliant Customs and Duty Management solution provides a full audit trail of customs activities and allows authorities access to records. It clearly distinguishes between European Community and non-Community goods, handles relevant licences and authorisations and provides archiving facilities to protect against loss of information. The system has full protection from unauthorised access.

RedPrairie's Customs software is used at 170 customer sites in industries such as retail, third party logistics, fashion and the drinks trade. The solution is the most comprehensive trade and customs compliance suite on the market. Users are reducing their tax bills by up to 40% and ensuring that payment occurs at the latest possible point in the supply chain. The software integrates with existing legacy systems and with RedPrairie's solutions for transportation and warehouse management. With implementation possible in just a few weeks, it provides an easy way to meet customs requirements and achieve AEO status.

For a free assessment or for more information on the AEO seminars (next seminar is on 14 November, Feltham, Middlesex, UK), contact Nick Love on +44 (0) 1904 727150.

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