A Regional Workshop for the Americas and Caribbean Region on AEO / MRA was hosted by Costa Rica Customs from 27 November to 1 December 2017 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Workshop was officiated by the Director General of Costa Rica Customs Mr. Wilson Céspedes where 40 participants from 22 countries attended with financial support from the Korea Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF).
The workshop was a first of its kind, and provided a dynamic discussion on different aspects of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programmes and Mutual Recognition Arrangements / Agreements (MRAs). The workshop started with the basics, namely: what is required in an AEO programme, ensuring there is a robust programme, and what are the next steps to achieve an MRA, among others. A day was set aside for ‘mock MRA negotiations’ between the participants. The aim was to provide an opportunity to all participants to obtain expertise in a practical aspect of what an MRA negotiation would be like. In addition, a visit to a Costa Rican AEO company was conducted as another mock exercise of a joint validation. New WCO tools such as the AEO and MRA Packages were also presented.
The participants actively participated in all the discussions and exercises and presented the next steps for their administration following the lessons learned from the workshop.
The region boasts seventeen (17) operational AEO programmes to-date, four (4) programmes being developed, nineteen (19) MRAs signed with fifteen (15) additional MRAs being negotiated. Additionally, three (3) multilateral MRAs are being negotiated within the region; Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru), ANDEAN Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru) and Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama).