This arrangement is expected to reduce costs and time, and thereby to help Israeli manufacturers compete in the global market.
In recent years, Israel Customs and the Customs and Excise Department of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China have been cooperating to create an outline which maps common interests for simplifying trade procedures and strengthening cooperation in customs related matters.
On December 14, The Head of the Israel Customs Directorate, Mr. Avraham Ben Ardete, and the Assistant Commissioner of Customs and Excise (Excise and Strategic Support), Mr. Jimmy Tam, signed an Action Plan for the mutual recognition between the respective Authorized Economic Operator programs of the Israeli and the Hong Kong Customs Administrations. The Signing Ceremony took place during the 131th Council Session of the World Customs Organization (WCO) which was held in Brussels, Belgium.
According to the arrangement, Israeli Authorized Operators – to include exporters, importers, customs agents, international shipping agents, seaports, logistics terminals and other links of the supply chain – will enjoy benefits in the entry and clearance of goods in Hong Kong. In addition, there is a lower chance of their cargo to be inspected what will reduce time and costs. Hong Kong Authorized Operators will of course enjoy similar benefits in the entry and clearance of goods in Israel.
At the end of 2010, Israel Customs launched the AEO program and to date, more than 130 companies were accepted to the program. These companies were selected on the basis of compliance with criteria such as financial viability, compliance with import and export laws, and security criteria.