P.O. Box Numbers

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By: Ryan Coleman

Harold is sitting in his office filling out his electronic export information. He’s going through all the steps of the electronic filing process in order to get his shipment moving; steps which include product classification, country of destination, value, method of transportation, etc. Eventually he gets to the section requiring the U.S. Principal Party in Interest’s address (FTR 30.6(a)(ii)) which will be used in our data to designate the origin of movement of the goods. Harold knows that he’s going to ship it from the post office and so he uses a P.O. box as his address. He certainly isn’t the first person to do this while filing an export shipment and probably won’t be the last.

While Harold won’t see the “Fatal Error” message when he tries to submit his shipment he is still required to use the address of the location from which the goods begin their journey to the port of export, such as his house or his business.   

Using the physical address from which his shipment began the journey, as opposed to a P.O. box address, will allow us here in Foreign Trade to create more accurate data products. These more accurate export data could be used to create better products such as exports by metropolitan areas. In addition to this, the possibility for geo-coded export data could be explored at some point in the future.

Lastly, if Harold continues to use a P.O. box address as the true physical address he is shipping from then he will eventually receive a “Fatal Error” message when he submits his shipment. As of January 1, 2011 an export shipment submitted to the Automated Export System with a P.O. box address will receive a fatal error.

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One Response to P.O. Box Numbers

  1. Claudia H says:

    At this point in time, why would anyone need/would want to use a PO Box to file an export dec?? First of all because I consider the filing federal business (would you use a PO Box on your IRS filing?) and second because even when the shipping location is the post office, it’s not the USPPI. I think the export administration is very clear on requirements and definitions, not that sure with imports, though.

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