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What's the Difference between a Schedule B Code and an HS Number?

David Noah | July 8, 2020 | Automated Export System (AES), Export Basics

“All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.”

That idea really confounded me as a child learning geometry. How could one belong to another, yet the inverse not be true? As my teacher explained, the difference lies in specificity.

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Filing through AESDirect: 20 Terms Exporters Need to Know

David Noah | July 6, 2020 | Automated Export System (AES)

Does your company export goods valued at more than $2,500 to anywhere other than Canada? If so, you’re probably no stranger to the U.S. Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) that require your Electronic Export Information (EEI) be filed through AESDirect on the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) server.

The AESDirect filing process can be intimidating. (Just look at all the acronyms in my very first paragraph.) And the penalties for misfiling—or failing to file—can be tens of thousands of dollars. That's why many exporters pay a third party, typically their freight forwarder, to file on their behalf.

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USMCA Certificate of Origin Filling Software and How to Complete It

David Noah | July 1, 2020 | Export Forms, Free Trade Agreements

If you spend any time on the web (and who doesn't), I think you can relate to one of my pet peeves. It seems like every website I visit wants a unique password and username—one I have to either memorize or write down, so I can refer to it each time I log in.

If you don’t have that information handy, or you’re working on a different computer (say, a laptop vs. your desktop), you have to reset your password.

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5 Reasons You Need a Shipper’s Letter of Instruction for Your Exports

Catherine J. Petersen | June 29, 2020 | Automated Export System (AES), Export Forms

When it comes to preparing export paperwork, the Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) is one document that many exporters are inexplicably reluctant to prepare. They shouldn’t be.

By completing an SLI and sending it to the freight forwarder, you are establishing a best practice for your firm. You have a written record of who received the shipping documents, who to contact for questions, who to contact for proof of export, and who issued the export control documentation that supports the decision to send your products to your foreign customer.

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An Introduction to Incoterms

David Noah | June 24, 2020 | Export Basics, Incoterms

If you ship goods domestically, you may wonder why you need to know Incoterms too. FOB is FOB, isn't it?

Well, actually, no—it's not!

While the vast majority of companies in the United States use the shipping terms identified under the U.S. Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) when shipping domestically, these shipping terms aren't appropriate to use when exporting.

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Here's What's New in the USMCA

Helen Mann | June 22, 2020 | Free Trade Agreements

On July 1, 2020, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, expired, and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) took its place. NAFTA had a good run. It went into effect in 1994 and created the world’s largest free trade zone between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The goal of NAFTA was to bolster trade by reducing or eliminating most trade barriers (primarily in the form of tariffs), which it did. Between 1993 and 2017, trade between the three countries rose from $290 billion to more than $1.3 trillion.

Now, the USMCA takes its place. The new agreement modernizes NAFTA and addresses topics that were less relevant in 1994, such as e-commerce and the flow of international data.

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Understanding International Sales Contracts

David Noah | June 17, 2020 | Export Basics

Understanding and creating international sales contracts is a necessary and important part of a successful exporter’s toolkit. Differences in exporters’ and importers’ traditions and backgrounds, as well as laws and regulations governing international sales, can cause complications you may not have thought about, which is why written contracts are crucial.

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BIS Eliminates License Exception CIV

Arnesh Roy | June 15, 2020 | Export Compliance

The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has announced that license exception CIV (Civil End-Users) has been eliminated effective June 29, 2020. BIS also announced a related expansion of military end-use and end-user controls.

An export license exception allows you to export certain items that may be controlled by the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR) without first obtaining an export license from the Commerce Department. For a more detailed explanation of export license exceptions, read my article: A Beginner's Guide to Export License Exceptions.

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USMCA Certificate of Origin Now Available in Shipping Solutions Versions 9.16 and 8.16

Lisa Nemer | June 15, 2020 | Shipping Solutions News & Tips

You may have heard the news that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) effective July 1, 2020.

At Shipping Solutions, we are ready to help you with the transition from NAFTA to USMCA with four new USMCA Certificates of Origin in Shipping Solutions Professional 9.16 and Classic 8.16. If you are an active Annual Maintenance Program (AMP) subscriber, you can download the update from the AMP website.

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Preparing for USMCA: 6 Steps for Importers and Exporters

David Noah | June 10, 2020 | Free Trade Agreements

On April 24, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will enter into force and replace NAFTA on July 1, 2020. In this announcement, the Trade Representative said this new free trade agreement will provide "significant improvements and modernized approaches to rules of origin, agricultural market access, intellectual property, digital trade, financial services, labor, and numerous other sectors."

While the new agreement is no surprise, the timing of its implementation caught many companies off guard coming in the midst of a pandemic and economic turmoil. These companies are now rushing to prepare for July 1.

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