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20-03-2020

A Complete Guide to the Automated Export System 2020

You may be familiar with the Automated Export System (AES) and its importance but do you know why it is necessary? According to the U.S. Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) any international shipment may require you to file all export data electronically through the AES. While the process may seem daunting, filing is actually very simple and reporting your exports can be very beneficial to not only your business but the entire nation as a whole. Whether you are just brushing up on your knowledge or have no idea how to file a report, this article will act as your guide for a comprehensive understanding of AES.

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What is AES?

This is used by the U.S. Census Bureau to collect data on U.S. exports. This data is then used to compile statistics about the U.S. position on merchandise trade. If your business discloses your exports to AES, your data is included in the economic indicators and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the American economy. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also compare the data with U.S. export regulations to not only ensure compliance but also so that the exports coming into the U.S. do not fall into the wrong hands, harm citizens or diminish the image of the nation overall.

The Importance of Filing to the AES

Companies must file electronically using a system called AESDirect, which is accessed through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). Any information you report is called Electronic Export Information (EEI). According to the Census Bureau, filing your export information improves the government’s ability to oversee and prevent the overuse of scarce products. Reporting to the AES helps improve export statistics with quality and up-to-date data.

When Do I Need to File with AES?

There are several factors that will necessitate an AES filing. You must file your report transaction if it includes any of the following shipments:

  • Commodities valued over $2,500 per Schedule B number
  • If an export license is required, regardless of value or destination
  • Subject to the ITAR even if they are exempt from export licensing requirements regardless of value or destination
  • If it falls under “600 series” of the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) for items enumerated in paragraphs “a to x”
  • A required license exception-Strategic Trade Authorization (STA)
  • Commodities destined for Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria (regardless of value)
  • Rough diamonds, regardless of value (HTS 7102.10, 7102.21 and 7102.31) and destination
  • Self-propelled vehicles
  • Shipments to Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands (with the same requirements as shipping to foreign countries.)

If you are exporting goods from the U.S. to Canada then it is not required to report to the AES regardless of the value of the merchandise unless the item is a self-propelled vehicle.

Failing to file through AES or filing incorrect information can result in a $10,000 fine per violation. It is the job of the Office of Export Enforcement within the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Customs and Border Protection within the Department of Homeland Security to investigate and enforce these rules.

Who Does the AES Filing?

An AES filing is often submitted by the U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI), which is usually the U.S. exporter. It can also be submitted by an authorized agent of the USPPI, such as a freight forwarder. A U.S. agent of the Foreign Principal Party in Interest (FPPI), can also submit the EEI, such as when the buyer hires a U.S.-based freight forwarder to arrange the export. The address reported for the USPPI in the AES filing must be the original destination of the product to the port of export. It is essential to request proof of filing if your freight forwarder does it for you.

How Do I File to the AES?

Image by Prachi Mehra @ DU beat

The ACE portal can be accessed directly at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. Once you have logged in you will have to type all your shipment information directly on the AESDirect screens.

In order to create an AESDirect filing, follow the steps below:

  1. Create an ACE username and password.
  2. Login to your account and accept the certification statements. You must use Internet Explorer and turn off any AdBlockers. You may also be required to verify your account.
  3. Once you have access to your account choose the ‘Accounts’ tab, then ‘Exporter’ and ‘Go’.
  4. Submit the AESDirect Filings task, then read and accept each statement.
  5. After accepting you will be taken to the AESDirect Shipment Manager. You can simply close the browser to exit.

All exporters are required to access AESDirect via the ACE portal. You can log in directly from the CBP website, or you can use export documentation and compliance software.

Uploading Your Data to AESDirect

Access the ‘Submit AESDirect Filings’ task then click the ‘Create Export Filing’ button. Now you must enter your shipment information on the ‘Shipment’, ‘Parties’, ‘Commodities’ and ‘Transportation’ screens.

Once you are confident your data is complete, click the green ‘Submit Filing button’. If there are any issues you will get a ‘Filing Contains Errors’ screen with small red boxes indicating each error. Rectify any issues and submit them again until your shipment is accepted.

When your filing is accepted you can close your shipment and you will then see an ITN number listed next to your shipment. You can copy and paste this number to the ‘EZ Start-EEI’ screen in Shipping Solutions or click the ‘Get ITN’ number button, which will copy the ITN number for you. It will then print the appropriate export documents and send them to you.

Once you close a shipment it will let you know if your filing was accepted or rejected. If your filing was accepted, you will also see the ITN number.

Managing Shipments

If you upload or enter a shipment but close it before submitting it to AESDirect, it will be saved as a draft. You can delete the draft or wait for it to be deleted after 30 days. If you want to search for a previous shipment, type your search criteria in the search box, such as Shipment Reference Number, Last Updated Date, or Destination. If you wish to change a previously submitted shipment, locate the shipment and click ‘Amend’. To delete the shipment click ‘Cancel EEI’.

How to Access Your Company’s Previous Reports

From the ACE Portal, it is possible to run reports of the EEI that have been submitted by your company or submitted by someone else on your company’s behalf from the last five years. These reports provide easier access to your export data and can be created any time at no charge.

There are three available reports which are:

  • The 201 Filer Report – This report shows all shipments submitted by the filer who is requesting the report for a given date range.
  • The 202 USPPI Report – This report shows all shipments submitted on behalf of the USPPI who is requesting the report for a given date range. This option will include shipments filed by the USPPI and shipments filed by others, such as a freight forwarder.
  • The 203 Routed Report – This report provides a subset of data elements for five previous years plus the current year for shipments marked as routed export transactions.

To access these reports you must have an ACE exporter account and be authorized to run the reports. You can check if your account has already been authorized by clicking ‘Accounts’ and then ‘Exporter’. Under ‘Accounts’ select the name of your company, and look for the ‘Authorization for Reports’ account status. If you are not authorized, click the button on the right side of the screen that says ‘Request EIN Reports Authorization’. You will see a message that says you need to provide additional information to get access to the report features.

Once you have the authorization, you can access the reports by logging into ACE and clicking ‘Accounts’ then ‘Exporter’. From the ‘Select Task’ list click ‘Reports’ and then ‘Launch Reports’.

GoFreight can help

GoFreight offers an easy online solution for you to file AES without keying in tons of information again and again. If you’d like to learn how to manage routine tasks like filing AES in the most efficient way, let us know.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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