Why are Export Statistics and the Foreign Trade Regulations Important To You?

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By: Sean Kline

Why are export statistics important to the average person?

The average person in America may not find export statistics relevant. What they may not realize is that the balance of trade (as presented in the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Report), has a significant impact on our economy and is an integral part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These data can provide insight into the health of the economy. As you can see from the graph below, exports slowed from 2008 to 2009 but then began to rise annually after the “great recession” ended in 2009. Since these statistics are such important measures of the economy, the Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis have implemented an accelerated release program in which the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Report is available almost a week earlier than before. Here at the Census Bureau, our goal is to provide the most timely and accurate statistics possible so that you have access to the information when you need it.6-6-2013 4-34-27B PMWhy are the Foreign Trade Regulations important to the average person?

The Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) regulate all exports of goods out of the United States. Even if you may not consider yourself an exporter, a simple trip to the Post Office can change your responsibilities. Every day I receive calls from people sending packages to foreign countries. Although typically most packages don’t require an AES filing, you do need to know the exemption that applies your shipment.

For example, when I sent care packages to my brother in Afghanistan, I used exemption NOEEI 30.37(a) because the items were valued under $2,500 and did not require a license. This is just one example of the many instances in which the average American can become an exporter and fall within the scope of the FTR.

For more information about the FTR, please visit our website at www.census.gov/trade.

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3 Responses to Why are Export Statistics and the Foreign Trade Regulations Important To You?

  1. Bernadette Njoku says:

    Interesting. Can importers not do the same? I wonder what the overall impact would be?

  2. Bernadette Njoku says:

    Using your example it would seem that anytime anyone from another country ships to the US, that may count towards import, therefore affecting trade data. However, export/import deals with goods/services for sale. Your product was purchased to be used by your family member for personal consumption. What was actually exported it appears is the shipment, shipping/distribution service. Can you clarify?

    • Sean Kline says:

      @Bernadette Njoku
      The shipment in this particular scenario is exempt because the value is below $2,500 per Schedule B number. Exemption 30.37(a), like all other exemptions, is designed to reduce the filing burden on the trade community whenever possible. With that being said, goods exported for personal consumption still require filing if the value is over $2,500 per Schedule B.

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