Welcome to Electronic Export Filing

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By: Rosanna Torres

As the use of the Internet increases throughout the world, the way we process information is evolving. Government agencies and the private sector are transitioning to automated processes and electronic documents.

Electronic processing means less paper. Less paper reduces keying errors, labor costs, and missing information, while simultaneously generating faster responses. The idea struck FTD in 1995 when management realized export information would be less expensive to process if provided electronically before arriving to the port of export. This idea became Electronic Export Information, or EEI as we know it today. In fact, did you know that before EEI, each paper Shipper’s Export Declaration cost about $1.80 to process? Now, this same information can be submitted electronically for a processing cost of about $0.20.

Considering this significant cost reduction, the government allocated funds which allowed anyone in the U.S. to file their EEI to the designated Automated Export System, or AES, via two free filing applications: AESDirect and AESPcLink. Yes, you read right: FREE.

The benefits of collecting electronic data are so extensive that paper submissions are now obsolete, and electronic filing is mandatory. The AESDirect program applications are an example of the government’s aim to improve your filing experience. By streamlining the way export data is collected we improve the efficiency of filing for the user and improve data quality.

This blog is also another tool to improve your experience as a member of the trade community. Subscribe to Global Reach and watch for more information regarding these two applications. In future posts I’ll provide assistance in troubleshooting common errors and share tips designed to help you file your EEI correctly in less than 15 minutes! Updates regarding new features of the applications can also be found here, and I’ll describe how they work.

What questions do you have regarding the AESDirect and AESPcLink applications?


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4 Responses to Welcome to Electronic Export Filing

  1. Lee Weil says:

    For the most part, I like the AES Direct system and applaud the paperless efforts of everyone. However, there have been some quirks using the system that I have experienced since the beginning. In order to have more control over compliance for my company, I try to complete the AES before the shipment ever leaves my dock. However, there are things that are out of my control like Departure date, port of Export or unlading, that I have no clue what the carrier is going to use for these fields. Sure, I can have the carrier file the AES on my behalf, but then I lose control and have no idea if a fatal error or other problem exists. There have also been times when I use a certain HTS number (that I know is still current because I check my numbers frequently all year) and the database comes back as an invalid number. Other than that, I think the changes that have been made to the program over the last couple of years have improved (like who thought of a search field where you type in a question mark and hit the tab key). Keep making positive changes and making it more user friendly and I bet there will be less compliance issues. I want to be in compliance and the easier it is, the better I will be. (I bet others as well).

  2. Mr. Weil,
    We appreciate your feedback! The best way to make enhancements and improve the AESDirect filing system is from the comments we receive from you, the end user.
    In response to your question regarding what to do if you don’t know what to provide in a mandatory field, such as departure date, in the Shipment Information section, there is no avoiding the completion of that information. Without this information the ITN will not be generated. The carrier must provide you shipping details prior to the estimated shipment departure. Several express carriers have a tool on their website that help USPPI’s determine the Port of Export and Unlading based on the pick-up zone and Country of Ultimate Destination. We encourage this sort of communication between you and your carrier.
    If any of the information changes after you have filed the shipment, you can always make corrections to the information entered. In fact, the Foreign Trade Regulations state in 30.9(a): “The USPPI or the authorized filing agent is responsible for electronically transmitting accurate EEI as known at the time of filing in the AES and transmitting any changes to that information as soon as they are known.” If an authorized agent is filing on your behalf, as the USPPI, you are entitled to receive the information submitted to AES and a valid ITN number.
    HTS codes and Schedule B numbers are updated twice a year in AESDirect to reflect commodity code classification changes. One thing you might want to double check is the departure date reported. If for example, you mistakenly used reported year 2009 instead of 2010 on a shipment exported Jan 2, 2010, an error message “Schedule B Code Outdated” can be generated. If you are certain that a code used is accurate, but not accepted in AESDirect, you may need to contact one of our representatives for further assistance.
    Hope this helps-

  3. Tony Becker | MyExportDocs.com says:

    I agree using AESDirect to file your EEI is a major improvement over filing the paper forms.
    One of the problems I think most filers face when working with a freight forwarder, especially if it’s a routed shipment. Is not having the particular vessel information to properly file your EEI.
    One way is to create your shipment and supply as much information as you can. For the departure date, simply provide a approximate future sailing date.
    Have the freight forwarder send you the booking and vessel information so you can update the EEI information using AESDirect.
    Also keep in mind that when using Import commodity codes they will not show up when searing export commodity codes. Remember you are allowed to use import and export commodity codes for exports.
    When shipping with companies like FedEx or UPS they provide a portal where you can self file your EEI and receive your ITN. This will save you about $10 filling fee from the carrier.
    Tip: Don’t forget to use templates when using AESDirect, they will save you time when filing your EEI.
    I hope this information is helpful.

  4. Claire Murphy says:

    My company is a USPPI, and prefers to file it’s own EEIs, as it offers more control. Then if there are any errors, at least they are ours. I prefer to do the filing and have the ITN # before the freight leaves my dock. I have had several freight forwarders question this practice. I called AESDirect, and they assured me this is the correct way to proceed. Do you have any thoughts?

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