Automated Export System
The Automated Export System (AES) is the system used by U.S. exporters to electronically declare their international exports, known as Electronic Export Information (EEI), to the Census Bureau to help compile U.S. export and trade statistics. This information is also shared with the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, and other federal agencies involved in monitoring and validating U.S. exports. Formerly, this declaration was only made on paper on the Shipper's Export Declaration form.
Currently, an exporter can file the EEI electronically to the AES using the AESDirect website, the AESPCLink software, or other AES-compatible applications. After an EEI/SED is successfully filed and processed, the shipper receives an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) to put on the shipping documents, as a confirmation to any government agent inspecting the cargo prior to departure.
An EEI/SED is generally required when any one commodity on a given shipment exceeds $2,500 in value. There are four conditions that necessitate filing an EEI/SED regardless of value: a) if the export destination is Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria; b) if the shipment requires an export license or permit; c) if it is subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations; or d) if it contains rough diamonds. Incidentally, a shipment from the United States to Canada that exceeds $2,500 in value does not require an EEI/SED unless it falls under conditions b) through d) above.
Shipments to and from Puerto Rico must be treated like any other "international export" under the EEI/SED requirements. On the other hand, cargo headed to American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and most of the other U.S. territories are treated as domestic shipments and do not need an EEI/SED. The U.S. Virgin Islands is a special case: shipments from that territory to either the U.S. mainland or Puerto Rico are treated as "domestic", but cargo headed in the other direction is treated as "international".
Among the data that is required to file an EEI/SED includes the following:
- The U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI): the name and address of the principle seller or party based in the U.S. that is receiving the benefits from the shipment.
- The Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of the USPPI.
- The ultimate consignee: the name and address of the party that is ultimately receiving the shipment.
- Whether the USPPI and the ultimate consignee are "related" companies: if one party owns directly or indirectly at least 10 percent of the other.
- The country of destination
- The departure date: the date of the export out of the country
- The origin state: the primary U.S. state from which the shipment is originates. If commodities originating from different warehouses are being consolidated into one shipment, then it is either the state whose warehouse has the commodity of greatest value, or the state where all the consolidation is being performed.
- The mode of transportation: whether by air, vessel, rail, or by truck.
- The port of export: the airport, seaport, or port of entry where the shipment will actually be taken out of the United States. This is represented by a 4-digit "Port Code". This does not mean the closet port from the originating warehouse. For example, if cargo from Denver would have to be put on a direct international flight from San Francisco to Tokyo, the port of export would then be the San Francisco Airport instead of the Denver Airport.
- Whether it is a "Routed Transaction": if a U.S. Freight Forwarder or another U.S. agent is authorized to facilitate the export of items, prepare, and file the EEI on the parties' behalf.
- Whether the shipment contains hazardous materials.
- A description of each of the commodities being shipped, including their Harmonized Tariff Schedule code, weight, customs value, quantity, and if any require an export license or permit.
AES in practice
In most cases, a shipper can also authorize its freight forwarder, courier company, or other third-party logistics agent to file the EEI on its behalf. It’s also popular nowadays to use an ERP software to file EEI automatically, which address companies’ requirement to many export regulations home and abroad. Usually it is difficult to prepare piles and piles of data which have to meet strict standards of electronic communication with national customs agencies’ systems. Things are getting even worse when those regulations keep changing in a regular basis, let alone some errors happening and shipping goods having to be delayed which has a bad effect on customers. Thus, the ERP software, to some extent, help exporters mitigate the risk of non-compliance, drive operational efficiency and business performance, and reduce overall costs of cross-border trade.
- "About AES". U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Retrieved 2011-11-23. "The Automated Export System (AES) is a joint venture between CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection], the Foreign Trade Division of the Bureau of the Census (Commerce), the Bureau of Industry and Security (Commerce), the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (State), other Federal agencies, and the export trade community. It is the central point through which export shipment data required by multiple agencies is filed electronically to Customs"