Consistent steps taken by the government to introduce European standards in regulating foreign economic activities have facilitated access for Ukrainian companies to EU markets, the Information-analytical Bulletin of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine informs.

Bringing the national customs procedures incompliance with EU standards will simplify formalities and contribute to enhancement of international trade. Multiple practical norms are being actually implemented in domestic legislation.

The Ministry of Revenue and Duties of Ukraine has approved the mechanism of granting the status of authorized economic operator (AEO), a norm provided in Customs Code of Ukraine. The associated draft resolution is being discussed by government officials.

Experts say the status will let domestic companies automatically provide the customs services with declared customs value of goods based on a minimum package of documents. Also, these companies will have the right (without involvement of customs services) to implement procedures, such as placement of goods at warehouses, unloading of goods, and removing the seals from shipments.

Prerequisites for obtaining AEO status: a company should have been involved in a foreign economic activity for at least 3 years and meet requirements for reporting, solvency, and safety standards.

"Once the procedures are approved, we will begin a process of concluding the agreements on mutual recognition of national AEO certificates with trading partner countries. We are planning to implement a pilot project with the EU. We try to provide the national producers with competitive advantage to work at the EU markets," Oleksandr Klimenko, Minister of Revenue and Duties of Ukraine, said.

Experts say introduction of the AEO concept into Ukrainian practice is an important step to improve foreign trade operations in Ukraine. The concept of "Authorized Economic Operators" was first registered under the SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate global trade approved on June 23, 2005 by World Customs Organization. In 2005, the AEO concept was established in Customs Code of the EU. The main purpose of the AEO concept is maximum respect of balance between business and government interests in promotion of international trade, as well as to reduce customs procedures during movement of goods. Market participants with the AEO status shall comply with precise criteria on safety and transparency of business.

The support of domestic producers and development of international trade is a common area of business and government interests. This position is clearly documented, in particular, within the five-year strategy of Ministry of Revenue and Duties, which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Klimenko stated: "We took maximum account of European standards in order to introduce simplified customs control for Ukrainian companies with transparent operations and impeccable reputation. The terms of this status are as clear and transparent as possible."

Experts say the much remains to do and will require intensive efforts. According to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, exports from Ukraine totaled approximately 41 billion USD and imports more than 48 billion USD from January to August 2013. Despite the fact that foreign trade balance showed a negative trend in the amount of 7.4 billion USD, this figure was improved by 1.4 times, or by 2.7 billion USD year-on-year.

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