Welcome to Export Regulations

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By: Omari Wooden

In the world of exporting, it’s important to be proactive, instead of reactive. Not knowing is not an excuse! Whether you are a small business, first time exporter, or a large multinational corporation, you are in control of your company’s compliance as it pertains to exporting laws and requirements.

As the Trade Ombudsman for the U.S. Census Bureau, I travel the nation and work with all types of companies involved in the exporting process. I offer advice and clarifications on the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR), solutions to problems regarding the Automated Export System (AES) and assist with a wide range of other topics. However, one of the most important messages I convey is that the Foreign Trade Division (FTD) of the U.S. Census Bureau is available to assist you with your exporting questions and concerns. Our goal is to provide you with tools and resources to maintain export compliance. We reach out to the trade community through various methods to provide a better understanding of your roles and responsibilities in the export transaction. Our outreach efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • AES compliance seminars – dynamic full-day seminars where we discuss the AES, FTR, commodity classifications, enforcement, and other topics. Excellent place to meet face to face with experts who are able to answer your exporting questions
  • Webinars – online training, if you can’t make it to one of our compliance seminars
  • Best Practices Manual – document that provides a lot of helpful resources and recommendations to help improve your exporting business and maintain compliance
  • Call Center – helpful FTD staff that can assist with the AES, commodity classification and regulatory questions. Call us at 800-549-0595 and select menu option 1 for AES, option 2 for commodity classification, and option 3 for regulatory assistance.

With the FTR, penalties have increased, and can be up to $10,000 per violation. Our goal is to help you get it right the first time to avoid delays, seizures, and penalties. As I share with forwarders, manufacturers, carriers, big and small, new and experienced, I encourage them to take control and be proactive. Be sure to tap into these resources to get it right the first time.


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11 Responses to Welcome to Export Regulations


    As I read your posting, my thoughts went directly to consultants who would present themselves to your probable clients for the purpose of assisting them for a fee. Is that something you would encourage or discourage as the Ombudsman for the Bureau?

  2. Roy says:

    As Omari mentioned fines and penalties are becoming Draconian. So why does the AES site use the windows critical error beep when you push the send button. I don’t know about everyone else but it really unerves me. Even though I know it is comeing it always makes me jump. Why don’t they have a nice voice thst says “Thanks for your imput, we will get back to you shortly”

  3. Roy says:

    Now that it is 2010 my blood pressure has spiked. If I file an AES and put in a ship date of say 01/06/09, it will (or did) put me on a probation list and clasify the entry as a late filling. I didn’t mess up last year so I guess I’m off probation but I sure hope there is something in the program now that will reject bad dates caused by mental inertia.

  4. Gayleen George says:

    Thank you for keeping everyone up to date. Will this replace the current emails received from aes-broadcast or is this an additional resource?

  5. Ron Hodge says:

    How long is probation??

  6. Mr. Wooden,
    You raise a very good question. I recommend that anyone involved in the exporting process tap into all types of resources available. In some cases, those resources may come at a cost. Some companies may need more specialized assistance and guidance, which may require a fee from a consultant or an adviser. As the Trade Ombudsman, I consider myself a resource that the trade can use, but there are many other resources available.

  7. Gayleen,
    the Global Reach Blog will be an additional resource and it won’t replace the current aes-broadcast.

  8. Roy,
    At the beginning of the year, we realize that companies make the mistake of reporting 2009, instead of 2010. This type of error falls into the arena of a keying mistakes that many filers make versus a systematic problem such as misclassification or invalid license information. You mentioned “probation list”, but that “list” doesn’t exist. We follow up with companies that have low compliance rates to offer assistance to improve their reporting, to avoid penalties, fines, or seizures.

  9. Ron,
    You asked how long is the probation period? Let me clarify to make sure we on the same page… If you receive an error message in the AES, you are not automatically placed on a probation list. However, if there are certain mistakes that you make on a continually basis or there are certain Customs or licensing violations, you may be contacted to resolve these issues. Our goal is to make sure you avoid systematic reporting errors that can lead to possible fines.

  10. Kim says:

    Most if the Export Management and Compliance Programs that I have reviewed and/or attended by BIS are geared towards exporters directly, I am curious to know if you have in place any programs designed for Freight Forwarders to assist with their EMCP?

  11. Global Reach Omari says:

    Yes, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) also offers guidance to Freight Forwarders and Authorized U.S. Agents. Here is a link for the Freight Forwarder Guidance under the BIS Export Management and Compliance Program.

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