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Nov 21 -- The Census Bureau invites comments by January 20, 2023 regarding the extension of the Automated Export System Program.

Title 13, United States Code (U.S.C.), Chapter 9, Section 301 authorizes the U.S. Census Bureau (Census Bureau) to collect, compile and publish trade data. Title 15, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 30, known as the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR), contains the regulatory provisions for preparing and filing Electronic Export Information (EEI) in the Automated Export System (AES). The Census Bureau uses the AES or successor system as the instrument for collecting export trade data from parties exporting commodities from the United States. In addition to the collection of data, the Census Bureau compiles these export data from the AES. These data, along with import data function as the basis for the official U.S. trade statistics. The Census Bureau publishes import and export statistics that are used to determine the balance of international trade and are designated for use as a principal economic indicator. The Census Bureau releases these statistics monthly according to the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Press Release Schedule.

These data are used in the development of U.S. government economic and foreign trade policies, including export control purposes under Title 50, U.S.C. The Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and other enforcement agencies use these data to detect and prevent the export of certain items by unauthorized parties to unauthorized destinations or end users. The published export data enables U.S. businesses to develop practical marketing strategies as well as provide a means to assess the impact of exports on the domestic economy.

Recently, the Census Bureau published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on December 15, 2021. The NPRM proposed to add a conditional data element, country of origin, in the AES. In addition to the new reporting requirement, the Census Bureau is making remedial changes to the FTR to improve clarity of the reporting requirements and to correct errors. It is critical for the Census Bureau to ensure that any revisions made to the FTR will allow for the continued collection and compilation of complete, accurate and timely trade statistics. This proposed rule would require an exporter to report the country of origin only when foreign origin goods are exported.

EEI is required for all export shipments of goods valued over $2,500 per Schedule B or Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States commodity classification number from the United States, including Foreign Trade Zones located therein, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to foreign countries; for exports between the United States and Puerto Rico; and for exports to the U.S. Virgin Islands from the United States or Puerto Rico. The AES program is unique among Census Bureau statistical collections since it is not sent to respondents to solicit responses, as is the case with surveys. Filing EEI via the AES is a mandatory process under the statutory authority of Title 13 U.S.C., Chapter 9, Section 301. The statutory requirement is implemented by Title 15, CFR, Part 30, also referred to as the FTR. The export trade community can access the AES via a free internet-based system, called AES Direct, or they can use software that connects directly with the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). In most instances, the United States Principal Party in Interest or authorized agent must file EEI via the AES and annotate the commercial loading documents with the proof of filing citation prior to the export of a shipment.
 
The AES enables the U.S. Government to significantly improve the quality, timeliness, and coverage of export statistics. Since July 1995, the Census Bureau and the CBP have utilized the AES to improve the reporting of export trade information, customer service, increase compliance with and enforcement of export laws, and to provide paperless reports of export information. The AES also enables the U.S. Government to increase its ability to prevent the export of certain items by unauthorized parties to unauthorized destinations and end users through electronic filing.

In addition to the AES, CBP continues to explore the ability to receive advance export manifest data, which may improve the accuracy of transportation data elements in the EEI filing and reduce updates to shipment information. CBP has extended and renewed its tests of the ACE Export Manifest for air, rail, and ocean cargo. These tests assess the electronic export manifest message specifications from the pilot participants to the ACE. These pilots are focused on CBP receiving electronic data and returning specific status messages back to the pilot participants. Since August 2021, the Census Bureau has been evaluating the collection of data from the electronic export rail manifest for goods moving from Port Huron, MI and departing on one rail carrier. The evaluation has proven that transportation data provided by the carrier is more accurate than transportation data estimated by the U.S. Principal Party in Interest and authorized agent. The Census Bureau's evaluation of the data quality from the electronic export rail manifest included the data elements: method of transportation, date of export, port of export, carrier identification and carrier name and foreign port of unlading.

AES (Census): https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/aes/index.html
AES (CBP): https://www.cbp.gov/trade/aes/introduction
Draft AES data collection instruments and technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/0j0wwdk0ts35naldvo0kj/h?dl=0&rlkey=oiiv2ibdvasi1oqlmtedfafkv
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-25316

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