Exporters or their authorized agents are required to submit Electronic Export Information (EEI), including applicable licenses, permits and exceptions, to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Census Bureau for trade control and statistics purposes. Most commercial goods valued at $2,500 or more exiting the U.S. and going to countries other than Canada require an EEI filing. If the shipment does not require EEI, the exporter must explain why in the export documentation using the appropriate exception code.
Before CBP introduced electronic export processing, exporters were required to complete and submit the Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) form, the paper counterpart of the EEI. Paper-based export clearance is not only error-prone and time consuming; it is also costly and labor intensive. To streamline export processing and enhance compliance, CBP and the Census Bureau developed the Automated Export System.
The Automated Export System (AES) is the central access point through which government agencies and the export trading community exchange information. Exporters, authorized agents, service centers and service providers submit EEI and other export data to CBP via AES.
AES Features and Benefits
The AES was designed to streamline export processing, improve regulatory compliance, and improve data quality.
EEI filing: The main feature of the AES is the ability to file EEI from the web or via EDI. Exporters, authorized agents, and other trade participants with an ACE Exporter account can immediately start preparing and submitting EEI filings in AESDirect or self-developed/third party AES software service provider. Automation of export processes saves time and money.
- Shipment status notifications: The AES informs filers about the status of their shipments via email and the Shipment Manager. The filer will receive the ITN and the shipment status will show “Accepted” when the EEI filing is accepted by the system. The filer will receive a rejection message, Fatal Error code or similar response message if corrections need to be made to the EEI filing.
- Statistical reporting: AES is the main platform through which regulatory agencies receive export information. The Census Bureau uses EEI to compile and publish export statistics, while CBP and other agencies uses EEI to ensure that exported merchandise does not end up in the hands of dangerous parties or parties that pose a threat to national security. With auto-validation capabilities, the AES ensures that export data is complete, accurate and reliable.
- Shipment checks against licenses: Certain products require licenses or permits before they can be exported. AES checks dual-use shipments against licenses approved by the Bureau of Industry and Security and transmits the information to the agency. The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls also uses AES to check outbound munitions shipments against previously approved licenses.
- Multiple connectivity options: AES features flexible connectivity options for businesses of all types and sizes. There are many ways to transmit EEI to customs and other agencies via AES: web-based AESDirect, AES EDI/VPN for large businesses, the facilities of a service center or port authority, AES software developed in-house, or AES software purchased from a third party.
- Multiple communication formats: Exporters can communicate with AES using ANSI X.12 and CBP proprietary formats. Exporters that participate in the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) and Automated Manifest System (AMS) may use their existing mainframe connections for AES.
Compared to paper-based export processing, AES has the following benefits for trade participants:
- Improve compliance: The AES features a sophisticated validation system that informs filers what data they need to provide and correct, if any. AES checks submitted data against editing standards and customs requirement files to ensure export compliance. Filers that submit complete and accurate EEI receive an ITN as proof of confirmation of acceptance.
- Reduce costs: The management, archiving, conversion, and transport of paper export documents can be very expensive. According to CBP, there is potential for large savings when moving from paper-based processing to electronic, automated processing. The use of AES reduces the cost of paper processing and the cost of errors associated with error-prone processes and poor pre-validation systems. AES also eliminates the costs of duplicate reporting.
- Improve data analytics and market insight: AES is an effective tool to evaluate and measure potential markets. Accurate and complete export data means accurate export statistics that helps businesses improve their competitive advantage.
- Correct errors easily: AES marks mandatory fields with an asterisk to alert filers. If any information is missing or incorrect, AES provides immediate feedback so the filer can correct the error, move on and submit the filing.
- Simplify international trade: AES is in line with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) agreements as well as the global movement to EDI processing. For global companies, AES export certification makes it easier to do business in multiple countries.
- Eliminate manual review of licenses against shipments: AES is connected with the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security and the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. This allows validation of EEI against approved licenses and transmission to the appropriate regulatory agency.
Refactored AES in ACE
The AES has been hosted on the Census Bureau’s server since it was implemented, but trade modernization under the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Single Window initiative has moved AES functionalities to the new system. Starting 2016, exporters and agents are required to file EEI and other export data to CBP and Census in AES or AESDirect in ACE. The legacy AES was retired to make way for a more modern, streamlined and easier to maintain platform.
Most large exporters send EEI to CBP in AES via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) connection. Another filing option for low-volume exporters is the web-based AESDirect in the ACE Secure Data Portal. In addition to AES EDI and AESDirect, exporters may file EEI through AESWebLink and AESDirect VPN (Virtual Private Network), a form of EDI connection.
GeTS AES Service
Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is a CBP-approved provider of leading customs compliance solutions, including GeTS AES eManifest service. GeTS AES Web-Based and AES Integrated Enterprise are two options for exporters. Both feature a secure corporate account, 24/7 customer support, multiple plans and connectivity options, report generation, and advanced integration.
Visit our AES page to learn more about Automated Export System (AES) Features and Benefits.