American businesses or individuals that export merchandise are likely familiar with the Automated Export System (AES). The U.S. government depends on the AES to collect export trade data, which is used by the Census Bureau for statistics purposes. Official export statistics are an important component of economic indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Other government agencies also use export trade data from AES to prevent merchandise from ending up in unauthorized destinations or with high-risk uses.
AES for Export: Relevant Definitions
It’s important to understand some definitions before filing Electronic Export Information (EEI) in AES. These definitions are related to the shipment, the parties involved in the shipment, the commodity being exported, and the mode of transport.
U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) – The person or entity in the U.S. that benefits the most from the export transaction. The USPPI is usually the seller in the U.S.
Ultimate Consignee – The person or entity abroad that actually receives the exported merchandise. This may be the end user or the Foreign Principal Party in Interest (FPPI).
Foreign Principal Party in Interest (FPPI) – The person or entity abroad that purchases the exported goods or receives the final delivery. The FPPI may also be the ultimate consignee.
Intermediate Consignee – The person or entity abroad that acts as an agent for the principal party in interest to facilitate delivery to the ultimate consignee.
Freight Forwarder – Person or entity in the U.S. who is authorized by the principal party in interest to facilitate the export of cargo from the U.S. to a foreign destination.
Schedule B Code or Harmonized Tariff Schedule – Every item in the shipment must have the proper classification code.
Commodity Description – A description of the goods that will verify the Schedule B or HTSUSA code and the export license, if required.
Unit of Measure – Exporters commonly have issues because the unit of measure on their invoice is different from the unit of measure required based on the Schedule B classification. The quantity and value of the goods should be calculated using the correct unit of measure.
Origin – The AES system wants to know whether the goods were made or manufactured in the U.S. or another country. Indicate “D” for domestic and “F” for foreign.
Export Control Classification Number (ECCN)
The ECCN is an alpha-numeric classification that determines whether the goods being exported require an Export License.
Export License Number, License Type and License Value
Certain products require an export license from the U.S. Department of Commerce, State Department or other agencies. If the merchandise requires an export license, the license number, and the value of the goods should be included. Regardless of license requirement, all shipments must include the license type or license exception.
Export Information Code
The export information code identifies the type of shipment or conditions of the export; for example, household goods, goods donated to a charity, etc. According to the Census Bureau, the majority of exports use the code “OS: All Other Exports.”
Shipment Reference Number
This is the unique identification number associated with a shipment. The shipment reference number cannot be reused.
Routed Export Transaction
A routed export transaction is a transaction where the buyer of the goods requests to have the shipment delivered to a U.S. location. The goods are transported by a freight forwarder or authorized agent hired by the FPPI.
Internal Transaction Number (ITN)
The ITN is proof of confirmation that the EEI filing has been accepted by the AES. The ITN also serves a proof of filing, so it must be included in the bills of lading and Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) to inform the freight forwarder and CBP that you have filed the EEI.
Certain shipments do not require an EEI filing. These include shipments going to Canada and shipments valued under $2,500. If you don’t need to file the EEI, you must use the proper AES exemption statement to show why the shipment is exempt.
Certain shipment types have additional requirements.
Routed Export Transactions – Routed export transactions are transactions in which the Foreign Principal Party in Interest (FPPI) hires an authorized U.S. agent to prepare and file export documentation on its behalf.
Shipments to Puerto Rico – For shipments going to Puerto Rico, the following data elements are required: port of unlading for vessel and air shipments, and addresses in the proper format. Addresses should include the city (municipality in Puerto Rico), state (PR), country (U.S.), and postal code (valid postal code in Puerto Rico).
Shipments from Puerto Rico – For shipments from Puerto Rico, the following data elements are required: port of unlading for vessel and air shipments, and addresses in the proper format. Include the city of destination and the country of destination.
Transshipments through Mexico, Canada or another foreign country – The mode of transportation is the mode of the carrier moving the goods from the U.S.
Sold en Route – “Sold en route” applies to shipments without an Ultimate Consignee because the shipment will be sold in transit or at sea. The exporter must update all consignee information within four days of export. Indicate the Ultimate Consignee Company Name (Sold en Route), address 1 (Sea), city (city of first port of call), and country (country of first port of call).
Mail – If the carrier moving the shipment is the United States Postal Service (USPS), select “Mail” as the mode of transportation. The Carrier Standard Carrier Alpha Codes (SCAC)/International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Conveyance Name/Carrier Name fields should be left blank.
Filing AES for Export
There are multiple filing options for exporters who are submitting EEI to Census and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The cost of filing depends on the size of your business or how frequently you move goods out of the country.
Some businesses use software from a third-party vendor that has completed testing with CBP systems. Other options include the use of a Value-Added Network (VAN) electronic mailbox or the facilities of a service center, port authority or freight forwarder.
Regardless of the filing method used, all EEI filings must be done in the refactored AES in ACE. Exporters must have an ACE exporter account to be able to access AES or AESDirect. Once you have an exporter account, you can log in and go to AESDirect or use third-party software to file the EEI.
1. Log into your ACE exporter account or the ACE Secure Data Portal.
2. Select the “Accounts” tab at the top of the page.
3. Select “Exporter” from the drop-down menu next to “View.”
4. Select “Submit AESDirect Filings.”
5. Provide required information in the Shipment, Parties, Commodities, and Transportation sections. You can preview the shipment information by clicking “Print Preview” at the bottom of the page.
6. Select “Submit Filing.”
7. You will see a notification that the filing was submitted to AES. If the filing is accepted, you will receive an ITN. If not, you must correct any errors or complete missing fields.
GeTS AES Solutions
Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is a CBP-approved provider of best-in-class trade facilitation solutions. The GeTS AES service allows exporters to save time and streamline EEI filing with an easy-to-use web-based application. GeTS AES XML Integrated Enterprise is another option that can be integrated with in-house systems to achieve higher efficiency.
GeTS eManifest solutions feature a secure corporate account for enterprise users, 24/7 customer support (including expert assistance on customs compliance issues), streamlined and easy-to-use application that reduces data entry, multiple plans, and connectivity options. There are no extra charges for the set-up and no hidden fees. Visit our website to learn more about AES.