If your company exports, there is a good chance that you need to file the electronic export information (EEI) with the U.S. Census Bureau through the Automated Export System (AES). The Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR), 15 CFR 30, specifies when data needs to be submitted, what information must be included, and who must do the filing.
The regulations for mandatory AES were issued in 2008 and updated in 2013. The 2013 update included two additional data elements that must be reported in an EEI: the ultimate consignee type and the value designated on the export license that corresponds to the commodity being exported, if relevant.
While exporters should read and act based on the minutiae of the regulations, companies must achieve the most cost effective method of meeting the regulation's requirements. How can you be practical, compliant and protect your company when it comes to AES filing?
The Census Bureau seems to understand this need, and they have published the Automated Export System Best Practices Guide based on the procedures used by some of the most successful export companies that file through AES. As a pragmatic AES user, I have used the guide to create a checklist for ensuring success when filing through AES.
The Automated Export System Checklist
- Download and review the AES Best Practices Guide.
- Screen all the parties to all export transactions against the U.S. government's restricted party lists (15 CFR Part 30.70-74, FTR, 15 CFR Part 764).
- Twice a year review and update the Schedule B or Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (HTSUS) codes for your products.
- Create and maintain an efficient method of itemizing Schedule B or HTSUS codes with an accurate value per code. Accurately report the information.
- Create and maintain an efficient method of identifying whether your products are domestic (D) or foreign (F). Accurately report the information.
- For routed shipments (when the buyer selects the agent or freight forwarder), provide a Shipper's Letter of Instruction with the required details without a written authorization or power of attorney, unless certain conditions have been met. These conditions are described in the FTR.
- For routed shipments, the U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI), which is typically the seller, must provide the buyer's agent or forwarder the following data:
a. Name and address of the USPPI;
b. USPPI's Employer Identification Number (EIN);
c. State of Origin;
d. Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) if applicable;
e. Commercial description of commodities;
f. Origin of goods indicator: D or F;
g. Schedule B or HTSUS classification commodity code;
h. Quantities/units of measure;
j. Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) or sufficient technical information to determine the ECCN;
k. All licensing information necessary to file the EEI for commodities where the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, or other U.S. government agency issues a license for the commodities being exported, or the merchandise is being exported under a license exemption or license exception; and
l. Any information that it knows will affect the determination of license authorization.
- Utilize EEI filing exemptions when allowed. For example, do not file an EEI for shipments destined for Canada, unless required (shipments of used self-propelled vehicles or transactions subject to an export license). An exemption statement must be noted on the bill of lading when an EEI is not required; for Canadian shipments it is NOEEI § 30.36.
- Audit AES records for accuracy and timely submissions.
- Request an annual data report from Census and audit AES records.
- Confirm an International Transaction Number (ITN) is received for each shipment submitted.
- Review AES Administrator requirements.
This tactical checklist is often a starting point for a company's AES administrator or the trade compliance professional to develop a procedure or policy to assist its team in a response to the export transactions for which they are responsible. For additional help with filing through the AES, download the free white paper, Filing Through the Automated Export System, by clicking the link below.