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Who is the USPPI Anyway?

Posted By rosannatorres On October 13, 2010 @ 8:52 am In Foreign Trade Regulations | 62 Comments

By: Sean Kline

Determining who the USPPI is in an export transaction can be challenging at times. There are five different parties that can be the USPPI. Those parties include:

  • U.S. Seller
  • U.S. Manufacturer
  • U.S. Order Party
  • U.S. Customs Broker
  • Foreign Entity

We receive numerous scenarios from the trade community who are trying to determine who the USPPI is in their transaction. Most cases are straightforward and easy to determine. However, there are some that make you think and maybe even have to draw a diagram. Below are some of those not so easy scenarios.

Scenario 1:

Boston Auto is a U.S. seller of vehicles and Car Traders is an online auctioneer, that auctions used automobiles. Car Traders directly negotiates the sale of an automobile between the foreign buyer and Boston Auto. Who is the USPPI?

Car Traders, the online auctioneer, would be the USPPI because they are acting in the capacity of an order party. However, if Boston Auto only posts the vehicle on Car Traders website, and Boston Auto negotiates directly with the buyer, Boston Auto is the USPPI.

Scenario 2:

An Italian company sells and sends goods to a U.S. company. The U.S. company refuses to take possession of the goods and the goods need to be returned to the Italian company. Who is the USPPI?

If the U.S. company is the importer of record, they are the USPPI. However, if the importer of record is a foreign entity, the USPPI will be the Customs Broker who cleared the goods on their behalf. Refer to the CF-7501 to determine who cleared the goods at the port of entry.

Scenario 3:

A tourist from Africa visits the U.S. and buys a necklace valued over $2,500 from Jewelry Depot. Who is the USPPI?

The tourist would be the USPPI because they were in the U.S. at the time the goods were purchased. They would provide their foreign passport number to a U.S. authorized agent in order for the agent to complete the AES filing.

For more information about the responsibilities of the USSPI please consult section 30.3 of the Foreign Trade Regulations [1].


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62 Comments To "Who is the USPPI Anyway?"

#1 Comment By Manuela On January 31, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

Scenario 3:

What if a person from another country (Africa, Europe, etc…) buys an item in the US valued over $2,500 via the internet. He then asks to have that item shipped to a Freight Forwarder in the US. The Forwarder would fill out the AES (after obtaining a POA from his client – the foreigner). Who would be the USPPI?

#2 Comment By Global Reach Daniel On February 1, 2013 @ 9:39 am

Thank you for your question Manuela. When determining who the USPPI is, it is important to know who is receiving the monetary or primary benefit from the export transaction. My understanding is that the freight forwarder in this case is completing the AES on behalf of the seller (after they give the freight forwarder a power of attorney). The U.S. seller is still the person or company who is receiving money from abroad to export the item. If that is the case, they are the USPPI.

#3 Comment By Ryan On February 19, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

Great blog and information on USPPI

Ryan, V.P.

#4 Comment By Raja On February 26, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

If my company buy goods from US manufacture to supply a customer in UK who is the USPPI ?

#5 Comment By Global Reach Sean On February 28, 2013 @ 7:54 am

If your company is located in the US it would be the USPPI since it is selling the goods to a foreign buyer. The transaction between your company and the US manufacturer is a domestic transaction that is outside the scope of the Foreign Trade Regulations.

#6 Comment By Mr. Kena On March 4, 2013 @ 11:28 am

We are a US manufacturer and have billed and shipped product to a US Distributor. They are consolidating these products in the US and are reshipping them to their sister company overseas. They are asking us to fill out the EEI-USPPI form for our products. Should we be the one to fill out this form?

#7 Comment By Global Reach Sean On March 5, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

It is considered a domestic transaction when you sell your goods to a US Distributor. As a result, you are not the USPPI and do not need to complete Electronic Export Information (EEI). It is the Distributor that sells the goods to a foreign buyer that would be listed as the USPPI and would be responsible for complying with the Foreign Trade Regulations.

#8 Comment By Tim Kroetsch On March 12, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

We are a Canadian resident company. We do a trade show in the US, and write a number of orders for Central and South America. Most of these customers have their orders consolidated in the US, and are then exported to them. Who would be the USPPI? Neither the buyer or seller are residents of the US. Since the order was done in the US, could I as the seller be deemed the USPPI? I recognize shipping in bond, is the best way to go, but is not always feasible.

#9 Comment By josefina.hicho On March 15, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

Great question! Because the buyer is physically here purchasing the order they would be considered the USPPI. They would use their foreign passport information when filing in AES. You can check out section 30.3(b)(2) of our regulations for more detailed information regarding the USPPI.

#10 Comment By Ike On April 11, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

Our company manufactures products for an OEM. We drop ship our products directly to a company in France for inclusion into that company’s product. Who is the USPPI? Us as the manufacturer or the OEM as the company ordering the product for the french company?

#11 Comment By Jennifer On June 12, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

My customer states that they are a non-US entity and that all purchases are for export for use in Africa . Their account bill to address is a PO Box in San Antonio, Texas. Payment is received from a US bank. Their parent company is in Houston, Texas – a US entity. Our order terms are ex works and we make arrangements for delivery to their freight forwarder. The PO handler/receiptor is in their parent company in Houston. They state we should be the USPPI and their freight forwarder has sent us their “Shippers Letter of Instructions” – POA. Is this a US transaction? Who should be the USPPI?

#12 Comment By Global Reach Daniel On June 13, 2013 @ 8:36 am

@ Jennifer,
The Foreign Trade Regulations were not written to accommodate incoterms, such as “ex works.” To determine who the USPPI is, you must determine the party who is receiving the monetary benefit from the export transaction. Therefore, was the non-U.S. entity customer in the United States at the time the goods were purchased for export? If the non-U.S. entity made the purchase and they were physically here at the time of purchase, then they would be considered the USPPI. If that is not the case, we would need to know who the foreign party purchased the goods from in order to determine who the USPPI is.

#13 Comment By Paul Quimson On July 15, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

What if a customer purchases the items online but never came to the USA, and the items purchased are from an individual who does not have a tax ID#? How would this be reported in AES? Is it ok to use the FPPIs passport number? Of course POA will need to be filled out by FPPI as well.

#14 Comment By Global Reach Sean On July 16, 2013 @ 8:22 am

If the transaction is completed online then the USPPI would be the U.S. seller. If they do not have an Employer Identification Number they can quickly obtain one by calling 1-800-829-4933 and registering as a sole proprietorship.

#15 Comment By Paul Quimson On July 24, 2013 @ 11:41 am

What if the USPPI is not willing to obtain a tax id# because the transaction was only a 1 time deal?

#16 Comment By Global Reach Sean On July 31, 2013 @ 11:22 am

The USPPI is required to obtain this information.

#17 Comment By Sam On August 6, 2013 @ 1:52 am

Hi, can a foreign entity purchase goods from a US manufacturer and deliver(sell) to another foreign entity in US soil (i.e execute a FOB transaction delivering to a foreign entity’s freight forwarder? who is the USPPI?


#18 Comment By Global Reach Sean On August 8, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

The USPPI would be the U.S. manufacturer because they sold the goods to a foreign entity and the goods were subsequently exported. It would be considered a routed transaction because the foreign buyer is controlling the movement of the goods out of the country.

#19 Comment By arnette basey On August 19, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

we are a US based company selling to a company in Mexico; but only shipping to the border in Laredo. The buyers freight forwarder will assume the goods at the border, cross and clear into Mexico on behalf of the customer. Who is responsible for completing the USPPI form?

#20 Comment By Paul Harvey On August 19, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

I’m not so sure that the FPPI’s passport number will be required…

Did you check their website?

Paul Harvey

#21 Comment By Global Reach Daniel On August 26, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

If a foreign entity purchased goods while in the United States and subsequently exported those goods, they can use their foreign passport number in place of an Employer Identification Number (EIN). However, this does not apply to dual citizens or individuals legally issued a Taxpayer Identification Number (which can be used to apply for an EIN).

#22 Comment By Global Reach Daniel On August 26, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

@ Arnette,
Thank you for your question. Identifying the USPPI can be rather tricky, especially in your situation. I suggest contacting the Regulations, Outreach and Education Branch to speak with a regulatory specialist directly. They can be reached at 1-800-549-0595, option 3.

#23 Comment By Marcie Nelson On September 3, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

I work for a company that is like a “job shop”. If a company in the U.S. places an order with us (also in the U.S.) to make 10 parts for them and then ship them to their customer in France, who is the USPPI? Us or the U.S. company? We provide all the export documents in our name.

#24 Comment By Global Reach Rosanna On September 4, 2013 @ 7:07 am

@Marcie – Making sure you are listing the correct USPPI is a must, but sometimes identifying the correct party is difficult. In your case, I would suggest contacting the Regulations, Outreach and Education Branch to discuss your particular scenario. They can be reached at 1-800-549-0595, option 3 or at [3]

#25 Comment By Luke Rodrigue On September 20, 2013 @ 9:36 am

A company in the USA sells goods to a customer in China. The customer in China will arrange the freight forwarder and delivery details (DHL in this case). Who is the USPPI?

#26 Comment By Global Reach Daniel On September 24, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

@Luke, The U.S. Principal Party in Interest is the primary benefactor of the export transaction in the United States. Based on my understanding of your scenario, the US company is selling their goods to a customer in China and is in turn paying the US seller for the goods. Therefore, the USPPI is the U.S. company who sold the goods to the customer in China.

#27 Comment By Lily On October 24, 2013 @ 4:45 am

I work in a company in Japan. We used to buy from a US company but they have been acquired by a Singaporian company and now, we order (and pay) to Singapore but goods are exported from US.
The US company was acquired but company remains with its original name
(I.E., different company name from Singapore). They say that the US company cannot be the USPPI because we do not pay to them nor Singapore neither can be USPPI because they are not located in US.
I believe intermediary trade is not a rare case.
Who would be the USPPI in this case?

#28 Comment By Global Reach Stephen On November 6, 2013 @ 8:24 am

@Lily – The U.S. company would be the USPPI because they are receiving the primary benefit of the export transaction. If they are not charging their parent company in Singapore for the goods then they would simply report the cost of producing the goods in the value field.

#29 Comment By Tamara Zacarias On December 17, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

hello, we are locating in Peru and we are buying in EXW terms to a company located in the US, they refuse to be the USPPI, they said that the forwarder should assume this responsibility. Is it correct?

#30 Comment By Global Reach Sean On December 26, 2013 @ 11:29 am

@Tamara – The U.S. seller would be listed as the USPPI since they are receiving the primary benefit of the export transaction. If you, as the foreign buyer, are selecting the exporting carrier then it would be considered a routed export transaction and you would need to authorize a U.S. agent (either the USPPI or freight fowarder) to file the Electronic Export Information (EEI). Regardless of who files, however, the U.S. seller would still be listed as the USPPI.

#31 Comment By Leon On March 17, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

My client is South Africa’s main telecom company. About 8 years ago they placed equipment in US in a rented facility to service one of their clients. The equipment is no longer requires and they want it moved back to SA. They have no presence in the USA. Who is the USPPI?

#32 Comment By Eve On March 20, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

We are International freight forwarders and have multiple clients overseas; all them buy their products online and have no presence in the US during transaction. We usually offer them to serve as an agent to fill the AES before exporting. Happen that sometimes US sellers do not want to sign us the authorization letter stating the buyer should be the USPPI. What to do if the US seller does not want to give us the authorization neither fill themselves the AES? Should we use the buyer as the USPPI? Also if merchandise is coming from Canada to be exported do we need to fill AES or only shipment in transit declaration? If so, in that case who will be the USPPI? Thanks!

#33 Comment By Osvaldo On April 23, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

Good Afternoon!
If a forwarder receives a commercial invoice that shows a Canadian company as the supplier/seller, this shipment is going to Mexico, who will be the USPPI?

#34 Comment By Global Reach Daniel On April 23, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

The USPPI is a the U.S. party that receives the primary benefit of the export transaction. However, we need additional details to assist you in determining who the USPPI is in this transaction. For assistance, contact the Regulations, Outreach and Education Branch at 1-800-549-0595, option 3.

#35 Comment By Rick On May 6, 2014 @ 9:07 am

We are a fulfillment company and are shipping products for another company.
The other company owns the product we just store it and ship it for them.
Who is the USPPI?

#36 Comment By Global Reach Daniel On May 7, 2014 @ 9:58 am


The USPPI, is the US party who is the primary benefactor of the export transaction. In your scenario, the company who owns the products and stores them in your warehouse is the USPPI.

#37 Comment By John On May 19, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

Company “A” in Hong Kong buys goods from us in the U.S. They ask us to ship these goods to Company “B” in New York. Our EUC states that the goods are going to India. Company “B” and the company on the EUC are the same. Is this a domestic transaction, or should we try to get AES data from company “B” when they export?

#38 Comment By Adnan On June 25, 2014 @ 9:38 am

If someone came to USA and purchased an item from local supplier, upon returned he/she ask their forwarder to bring that item for them and they only have a invoice as a record.

Their forwarder contacted with the local supplier and asked for Commercial Invoice, Packing list and USPPI but the supplier has refused to provide any other documentation except invoice. Forwarder is saying we cannot move the shipment till the supplier provide all these documents.

Then how would they brought purchased item to their home land.


#39 Comment By josefina.hicho On July 1, 2014 @ 6:58 pm

The supplier is not the USPPI. If a foreign person is physically here in the U.S. at the time of sale or export, they are considered the USPPI. However because they can not file in AES they will need to provide written authorization for a U.S. authorized agent to file, which sounds like they choose the forwarder to do so. In these types of scenario’s the filer would report the foreigner’s information in the USPPI section and report the foreigner’s passport number in the EIN field.

#40 Comment By Alan R On July 31, 2014 @ 9:23 am

We are a US company providing product to a foreign company with offices in the US who will in turn obtain the export license and export it to their main location. Who is the USPPI?

#41 Comment By Kristina Ankerhjerte On July 31, 2014 @ 10:56 am

Dear Sirs,
Our Danish company is a client by an american company and responsable for import of american produts to Europe.

Is it possible to get an Exporter of Record status as a foreign company?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

#42 Comment By Global Reach Daniel On August 4, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

@Alan, The USPPI, is the US party who receives the primary benefit of the export transaction. If your company received payment for the products from the foreign principal party in interest, then you are the USPPI.

#43 Comment By Global Reach Daniel On August 6, 2014 @ 11:39 am

We do not refer to the “Exporter of Record” but rather the US Principal Party in Interest (USPPI). A foreign entity can be considered the USPPI if they are in the US when the goods were purchased or obtained for export.

#44 Comment By Michele Blackmore On August 6, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

My client in Germany has asked us to ship vehicles for him. He has hired a person in the US to facilitate the purchase of his vehicles.

The person on the title isn’t the USPPI it would be the facilitator, he refuses to obtain an EIN number. How are we suppose to ship these vehicles without the USPPI getting an EIN Number? Or do we refuse the shipment. He advises he has shipped 30 vehicles in the last year with other forwarders who do not ask him for his EIN.

#45 Comment By Global Reach Sean On August 11, 2014 @ 11:09 am

If a U.S. person is buying vehicles and then shipping them to a foreign individual, the U.S. buyer would be the USPPI. In this scenario, the USPPI must obtain an EIN in order to properly file the Electronic Export Information (EEI).

#46 Comment By Ben On August 14, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

If a seller in Canada wants to send his goods to US for export to Fiji using a freight forwarder, who is the USPPI and how would it work once goods are in US for export?

#47 Comment By Marcelo Rocha On September 22, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

Let say a foreing company byus items from several suppliers in the US and ships it to Brazil. I understand that the foreign company is the USPPI . Right? is it possible to consolidate all the items under the same shipment under a single AWB? Are there limitations to consolidate (value, tax regime. etc) ? Foreign company is located in Grand Cayman Islands.

#48 Comment By Jim Curran On September 24, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

I have a question.

If my company collects “ocean plastic” from the beaches in Hawaii, sends it to the US mainland to have it scrubbed and pelletized, then ships it to Taiwan to have bottles made, who is the USPPI?

Once the bottles are made from the ocean plastic they are shipped back to the US where they are filled with hand soap and sold in the US.

#49 Comment By Global Reach Sean On September 25, 2014 @ 10:19 am

If the foreign buyer is not in the U.S. at the time the goods are purchased or obtained for export they would not be the USPPI. Instead, the USPPIs would be the individual U.S. sellers and a separate AES filing would be required for each of these USPPIs.

#50 Comment By Global Reach Sean On September 25, 2014 @ 1:38 pm

@ Jim
Your company would be the USPPI assuming it maintains ownership through the process in which the plastic is scrubbed and pelletized.

#51 Comment By Jim Curran On September 25, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

Thanks that is what I thought.

#52 Comment By Roger Yu On October 13, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

FPPI asks authorized freight forwarder agent to pick up metal from US factory A, bring metal to US factory B for heat processing, then pick up from US factory B and export the processed metal. There is only one B/L because there is only one metal although two companies are involved.

is US factory A or B the USPPI in this transaction ? or both ?


#53 Comment By Global Reach Daniel On October 15, 2014 @ 6:28 pm

The USPPI is the US party that primarily benefits from the export transaction (monetary or otherwise). In this case, I recommend you ask the FPPI which party was paid for the exported goods.

#54 Comment By Tim On October 17, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

I did not see a response to Bens question regarding company in Canada. Can anyone give a answer to this?

#55 Comment By Jill On October 22, 2014 @ 11:39 am

Is USPPI and exporter of record the same?

#56 Comment By josefina.hicho On October 23, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

@ Jill, Yes you are correct.

#57 Comment By josefina.hicho On October 23, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

The answer varies depending on a number of factors. To ensure you get the correct answer call 1-800-549-0595 option 3 and a Foreign Trade Regulations Specialist will assist you.

#58 Comment By josefina.hicho On October 23, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

The answer is subject to the details of the scenario. We suggest for you to call 1-800-549-0595 option 3 and have one of our Foreign Trade Regulations Specialist assist you with your specific scenario.

#59 Comment By Jerry Aguirre On November 25, 2014 @ 8:36 pm

My inquiry is for confirmation of the USPPI “Address” to be reported for a DSP-5 License shipment. Previous email information obtained from Census was that the address to be reported in AES for DSP license shipments was the USPPI address shown on the DSP-5 License under license applicant, can you confirm?

#60 Comment By Global Reach Shannon On November 26, 2014 @ 10:44 am

Great question! The Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) were revised in March 2014, and as of October 3, 2014 the new rule requires filing of used self-propelled vehicles to Canada in the Automated Export System (AES). As a Canadian citizen, you will not be able to file in this system on your own and will need a U.S. authorized agent to file on your behalf. The authorized agent will need information such as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), title number/state, the port where it will be crossing, address of where the vehicle is coming from and where it is going to. Once the authorized agent files this information in the AES they will receive an Internal Transaction Number (ITN), which must be provided to the Customs and Border Protection port of export 72 hours departure.

#61 Comment By Ram On December 11, 2014 @ 10:10 pm

I am a US Citizen re-locating to India for work. I’m using International Movers to move my household items like TV and furniture. Who is USPPI in this case and should i get a person EIN from IRS?

#62 Comment By Global Reach Sean On December 15, 2014 @ 9:18 am

@Ram, You will be the USPPI and a personal EIN will be required when moving your household goods abroad. To make things easier, however, you can use the Export Information Code “HH” rather than classifying all your household items. Please be sure to check back soon as we plan on publishing a blog specifically on household goods in the near future.

Article printed from Global Reach Blog: http://globalreach.blogs.census.gov

URL to article: http://globalreach.blogs.census.gov/2010/10/13/who-is-the-usppi-anyway/

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