Becoming an Authorized Economic Operator in Costa Rica.

How companies benefit by becoming an Authorized Economic Operator in Costa Rica.

The Authorized Economic Operator in Costa Rica program had its origin in 2005 when the World Customs Organization (WCO) unanimously adopted a regulatory framework that would secure and facilitate the flow of global trade.  The objective of the program is to establish international standards for:

  • The securing of the logistics chain and the facilitation of trade worldwide for the purpose of increasing certainty and predictability.
  • The integral management of the logistics chain in all means of transport (air, sea, and land);
  • The expansion of the role, functions, and capabilities of nations’ customs agencies, so that they can meet the challenges of the 21st century:
  • The strengthening of cooperation between nations’ customs administrations in order to improve their capabilities to detect high-risk shipments;
  • The strengthening of the relationship between customs authorities and private business;
  • The promotion of the smooth movement of goods through secure international logistics chains.

Thirteen companies earned the title of Authorized Economic Operator in Costa Rica during 2017.  At this point in 2018, five additional firms have gained this recognition.

Being an Authorized Economic Operator in Costa Rica means that the “authorized” company has secured its operations and has applied international standards to safeguard its logistics chain.  Being Certified as an Authorized Economic Operator in Costa Rica benefits both the company and the nation’s customs administration organization. 

Among the companies that are certified under the program are Abbott Vascular Limitada, Allergan Costa Rica S.R.L., Anthrocare Costa Rica S.R.L., Boston Scientific Costa Rica S.R.L., Bridgestone Costa Rica S.A., Eaton Electronics S.A., and ICU Medical Costa Rica Limitada.

Companies that hold the designation of an Authorized Economic Operator in Costa Rica have access to simplified and facilitated customs procedures and operations. More specifically, they enjoy a reduction in physical and documentary controls.  They benefit from an extension of Custom’s hours, as well as from preferential treatment that they receive for their shipments at the country’s ports and border crossings.

Companies that have achieved the Authorized Economic Operator in Costa Rica designation receive training in customs procedures and techniques.  Additionally, they benefit from Mutual Recognition Agreements.  These are agreements between national customs organizations that recognize each other’s certification processes and reciprocally provide additional benefits to companies that have gone through the process to be an Authorized Economic Operator.  For instance, Costa Rica and Mexico have a Mutual Recognition Agreement.

How does a company become an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) in Costa Rica?

The AEO program is voluntary, free, and is open to importers, exporters, maritime port and export cargo terminal operators.  Applicant companies must comply with a series of conditions and requirements that have established them as having a satisfactory record of customs, tax, and judicial compliance. The certification process also examines the effectiveness of the applicant’s administrative management, as well as its financial solvency, and security program.  The revision of all of the aforementioned items is usually completed within 80 days of submitting the required documents.   In addition to an initial evaluation to assess eligibility for the program, holders of the Authorized Economic Operator in Costa Rica designation must undergo an external audit every four years.  It is also a requirement that companies perform a self-audit every year.

Is there a cost associated with being an Authorized Economic Operator in Costa Rica?

The process of analysis, evaluation, and verification that is carried out by Costa Rica’s General Directorate of Customs is free of charge. However, as a result of the process, Customs may recommend changes or company improvements that have an associated cost.


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