Israel Tax Authority's General Director, Mr. Moshe Asher and the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Mr. R. Gil Kerlikowske signed an MRA between Israel Custom's "Authorized Economic Operator" (AEO) program and the parallel program in the US Customs and Border Protection, C-TPAT in order to provide Israeli importers with optimal conditions to compete in the world market. C-TPAT is CBP’s voluntary supply-chain security program for importers, brokers, carriers and other eligible entities.
As stated in the agreement, Israeli AEO's (exporters, importers, customs brokers, freight forwarders, sea ports, logistic terminals and other factors involved in the supply chain) – will enjoy facilitations in goods entry and release in the U.S. Israel Customs has launched the Israel AEO program in the end of 2010. Since then above 40 operators were accepted and authorized, based on their meeting of criteria such as financial stability, compliance with the laws of import and export and security criteria. The program is based on the World Customs Organization SAFE Framework of Standards and was adopted by the Israel Customs Directorate in 2005.
It is important to note that this is the second bilateral agreement signed by Israel as part of the AEO program which Israel Customs Directorate operates since 2011, a few years after the adoption of this program by the WCO. The program's main goal is to promote international trade facilitation and efficacy while meeting the supply chain standards, thus reducing the shipping costs. Membership in the program allows companies that are AEOs to enjoy rapid and barrier free foreign trade procedures when trading with the countries Israel Customs has signed an MRA with. These expedite procedures save time and reduce bureaucracy what saves money and other resources for importers and exporters on both sides.