Watch our FREE Webinar: Classifying your Product

6-26-2014 2-17-15 PMOn June 24, we held our second webinar in The Basics of Export Compliance Summer Webinar Series, which focused on Classifying your Product. If you missed our exciting new webinar, click here to watch the recording for free!

Our classification expert reviewed the following items:

  • What are the Harmonized Tariff Schedule and Schedule B?
  • How to use the General Rules of Interpretation to determine the correct Schedule B for your commodity
  • How to use the Schedule B search engine
  • Where to find additional resources for commodity classification

If you have questions regarding classification, please contact the Commodity Analysis Branch at 1-800-549-0595, option 2.

Posted in Webinars | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Commodity Spotlight: Cotton

By: Mayumi Escalante

Cotton swabs, blue jeans, sewing thread, t-shirts, bed sheets. What do these products have in common? They all are made from cotton.

The U.S. Census Bureau is the source of detailed export and import statistics on finished goods (like those listed above). We also publish trade data on the very materials and inputs that are transformed into items you and I wear or use every day.

Just how much cotton does the U.S. export, you ask?

In 2013, the U.S. exported more than $5.5 billion of raw cotton (classified under Schedule B heading 5201). That’s a lot of fluff! Here is a list of the top five countries that imported American cotton during that year:

data tablepie - final2

Source: USA Trade Online

Want to know more about U.S. exports of cotton? Check out USA Trade Online for detailed statistics. First time users are eligible for a one-week (7-day) free trial. For additional information, contact the Data Dissemination Branch at 1-800-549-0595, Option #4.

Posted in Foreign Trade Data | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Basics of Export Compliance – Summer Webinar Series begins June 10th

By: Josefina Hicho

We are pleased to announce that we are hosting free webinars on the basics of export compliance from June 10 through August 26. We collaborated with other government agencies to bring you the latest information on exporting, such as classifying your product, filing requirements and licensing determination. If you are looking to improve your compliance knowledge, this is a great opportunity you don’t want to miss.

The webinars are hosted by international trade experts and allow you the opportunity to ask questions along the way. All six sessions begin at 2pm EST. Visit our Outreach page to register and to find out more information on each session.


Understanding the Foreign Trade Regulations

Presented by: U.S. Census Bureau • June 10, 2014

Classifying Your Product

Presented by: U.S. Census Bureau • June 24, 2014


Learn more about the Export Administration Regulations

Presented by: Bureau of Industry and Security • July 8, 2014

Complying with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations

Presented by: State Department • July 22, 2014


Sanctions and Embargoes: What it means to you?

Presented by: Office of Foreign Assets Control • August 5, 2014

Utilizing the Features in the AES

Presented by: U.S. Census Bureau • August 26, 2014

Posted in Webinars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

U.S. International Trade Deficit Increases in April

By: Henock Kebede

The trade deficit in goods and services increased $3 billion to $47.2 billion in April.  This reflects a decrease in exports by $0.3 billion to $193.3 billion, and an increase in imports of $2.7 billion to a $240.6 billion.  Among the contributors for this record import number are record imports for four goods categories (in billions of dollars): capital goods ($48.6), consumer goods ($47.5), Automotive ($27.2), foods, feeds and beverages ($10.8).  Check out our “Trade Highlights” page for more information.

Staying with the import theme, did you know that so far in 2014, China alone accounted for over 72% of U.S. imports of computers? More information on this can be found in our “Graph of the Month” page.

Lastly, as explained in last month’s blog, the following changes took effect this month:

  • New Exhibit (Exhibit 20) – it has quarterly seasonally adjusted trade in goods and services on a balance of payments basis for select major trading partners.
  • Reclassification of goods to a BOP basis – net exports of goods under merchanting are reclassified as goods through a new balance of payments adjustment.
  • Changes to services – The number of service categories in Exhibits 3 and 4 will change and increase from seven to nine.
  • Revision to goods and services – the annual revision for 2013 includes corrections and adjustments to trade in goods on a Census basis beginning with 2011, and statistics calculated on a balance of payments basis beginning with 1999.

More information on these changes can be found here.

Posted in Foreign Trade Data | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kilograms? Dozens? Gallons? What to Report as the Unit of Measure

By: Clara Santiago-Bello

Reporting the correct unit of measure in the Automated Export System (AES) is important for producing quality data. According to the Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States (Schedule B), the AES requires specific quantity descriptions. Keep in mind that some commodities require two quantities to report in the AES.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

  1. If you export a laptop with the Schedule B code 8471.30.0100, report the unit of quantity as Number (No).
  2. If you export “knit or crocheted cotton blouses” with the Schedule B code 6106.10.0000, report both Quantity 1 and Quantity 2 (two units of quantity). The unit of measure for Quantity 1 is dozens (Doz) and the unit of measure for Quantity 2 is kilograms (kg). See diagram below:

5-20-2014 2-34-41 PM

Make Sure to Use the Correct Unit of Measure!

If you use your invoice or packing list as a reference to report Electronic Export Information (EEI), the unit of measure in your documents may be different from what the Schedule B code requires. Be sure to report the unit of measure specified for your commodity in the Schedule B book.

Avoid this pitfall

A common mistake made by filers is reporting pounds (lb.) instead of kilograms (kg). AES requires metric weight and measurements for commodities. So, if your invoice shows the weight of your commodity in pounds, you must convert to kilograms.

To find the correct Schedule B code and required unit(s) of quantity, check out our easy to use search engine: For classification assistance, call the Commodity Analysis Branch on 1-800-549-0595, option #2.

Posted in Classification | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exporting Vehicles to Canada


By: Autumn Banks

canadian carAre you exporting a used self-propelled vehicle to Canada? Did you know that you are now required to file export information on your vehicle to the Automated Export System (AES)?

Do you need help understanding this new requirement? Well, we are here to HELP!

Wait! I thought most shipments to Canada were exempt from filing?

It all started March 14, 2013, when we published a new requirement that you must file used self-propelled vehicles in the AES 72 hours prior to export, no matter the value or country of ultimate destination (including Canada). This requirement went into effect April 5, 2014.

Note: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) considers a vehicle to be “used” if the legal title of the vehicle is transferred by the manufacturer, distributor or dealership to the purchaser of the vehicle.

Ok… So what am I required to do?

U.S. Citizens, U.S. Residents or U.S. Companies

If you are a U.S. resident or U.S. company exporting a used self-propelled vehicle to Canada, you have TWO filing options:

Option 1*

  1. Register for AESDirect (if you do not have your own AES software)
  2. File export information on your vehicle
  3. Receive your Internal Transaction Number (ITN)

Option 2*

  1. Select and authorize a U.S. Agent (i.e. Freight Forwarder, Broker, etc.) to file export information to the AES on your behalf
  2. Obtain the ITN from the authorized agent

*For vehicle shipments, be sure to submit your export information to the AES and provide CBP with your ITN 72 hours prior to export.

Nonresidents or Foreign Companies

Follow Option 2 listed above.                                                                                                             Foreign persons visiting the U.S. cannot register to file through AES or AESDirect.

REMEMBER, we implemented an informed compliance period to allow you to prepare for this new requirement. Between now and October 2, 2014, no penalties will apply if you fail to comply with the new filing requirements.

If you have questions regarding the new requirement, please contact the Regulations, Outreach, and Education Branch at 1-800-549-0595, option #3 or e-mail

Posted in Foreign Trade Regulations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

State Export Data

By: Caribert Irazi

Our monthly report on U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services is called the FT-900. The report includes import and export data on trade between the United States and foreign countries. While the data in the report are primarily at the national level, did you know you can get export data at the state level?

Business Data Graph USA

We release export data on a quarterly and annual basis for each state, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. State export data refer to the state where merchandise originated and are grouped by industrial categories, which are classified by the North American Industry Classification and the Harmonized Tarriff System.

How is state export data collected?

State export data is collected through the Automated Export System (AES). When a filer submits Electronic Export Information (EEI) to the AES, the shipment is connected with the “State” selected in the “EEI: USPPI” section. Additionally, the foreign country is connected with the “Country of Destination” selected in the “EEI: Shipment Information” section.

For example, let’s say a manufacturer in Washington sold airplane parts to a buyer in China. The manufacturer then ships the parts to a port in California, where they will load on a vessel to transport to China. Which state will be selected for this shipment?

  • Answer: Washington

How can you use state export data?

State export data are useful in a couple of ways:

  • Documenting trends of export trade by state;
  • Helping businesses realize the potential for growth opportunities.

Where can you access state export data?

If you are interested in obtaining state export data, check out “State Trade by Commodity and Country” on the FTD’s website. For more detailed data, check out USATrade Online.

If you need assistance, please contact the Data Dissemination Branch at 1-800-549-0595, option 4.

Posted in Foreign Trade Data | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. International Trade deficit decreased in March 2014

By: Jason Jindrich

In March, the Nation’s international trade deficit in goods and services decreased $1.5 billion to $40.4 billion as exports increased more than imports, led by increases in exports of capital goods ($2.1 billion). Among the highlights, March was a record month for exports of services ($58.8 billion) and of non-petroleum exports ($122.7 billion). In addition, March saw record exports to Canada ($27.2 billion), South Korea ($4.4 billion), and to the CAFTA-DR ($2.9 billion). Increases in imports led to a record month for foods, feeds, and beverages ($10.6 billion) and non-petroleum imports ($163.3 billion).

Changes Coming Next Month

Exhibit 20: The “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services: April 2014” will be the first to include a new tabulation (Exhibit 20) presenting quarterly seasonally adjusted trade in goods and services on a balance of payments basis for select major trading partners. An example of the Exhibit 20 template is available here.

Reclassification of Goods to a BOP Basis: Net exports of goods under merchanting (net exports that reflect goods purchased and sold abroad without entering the United States and so are not accounted for by U.S. Customs), which are currently included as trade in services under other private services, will be reclassified as goods through a new balance of payments adjustment.

Changes to Services: The number of service categories in Exhibits 3 and 4 will change and increase from seven to nine. The new categories will be: maintenance and repair services; transport; travel (for all purposes including education); insurance services; financial services; charges for the use of intellectual property; telecommunications, computer, and information services; other business services; government goods and services.

Revisions to Goods and Services: On June 4, 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis will release “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services: Annual Revision for 2013”, reflecting corrections and adjustments to trade in goods on a Census basis beginning with 2011, and statistics calculated on a balance of payments basis beginning with 1999.

More detailed information about these last three changes is available here.

Posted in Foreign Trade Data | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What does the “AES Rehost” mean to you?

By: Omari Wooden

Global Business Network BackgroundOver the last few months, there have been numerous discussions about the changes to the Automated Export System (AES) and how it relates to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). More importantly, how do any of these changes affect you?

What is Changing with the AES?
The AES was developed back in 1994 and the system’s technology and platform needed to be updated and refreshed. This migration of the AES to ACE is called the rehost. The purpose of the rehost is to make the technology more modern in order to develop a transition to the ACE. The ACE will become the “single window”, the primary system through which the international trade community will submit import and export data and documentation required by all Federal agencies.

How will the Rehost Affect You?
You will continue to transmit your export shipments through AESDirect as you have in the past. For companies that use software vendors, service centers or self-developed software, continue to transmit in the same fashion.The changes to the AES are best defined as an internal upgrade.

The AES and ACE-Export are the same system, however, it may also be referred to as part of the International Trade Data System or ITDS.

The AES Rehost and migration to ACE helps us move export processing into the 21st century. If you want more information, please visit

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking for new data categories?

By: Janet Freas

Have you ever searched for data on a specific commodity and couldn’t find any?

A goal of the HTS and Schedule B is to provide quantity and value data for businesses, policy makers, and researchers. Good data helps both the public and private sectors make informed decisions. There are times when a new data category (10-digit number) is needed in order to obtain more detailed statistics.

Apple Graph

For example, interest in organic foods resulted in a change to the classification schedules to identify how much of the fresh apples exported from the U.S. were certified organic. After the “break-out” (creation of a new classification number), one could see how the percentage of certified organic apples grew from 5% in 2011 to 13% in 2013. This information could make a big impact on business decisions!

Petitioning the 484(f) Committee to Create New Classification Number
If you feel the schedules are not meeting your data needs, you may suggest changes by submitting a petition to the Chairman of the 484(f) Committee to the following:

The Committee for Statistical Annotation of Tariff Schedules
United States International Trade Commission (USITC)
Washington, D.C. 20436
Or electronic mail to

What do I include in my petition?
……1.   Indicate if the change relates to only HTS or Schedule B, or both.
……2.   Indicate the precise nature of each desired change.
……3.   Provide exact proposed language to be inserted or deleted.

Requests for changes should be submitted no later than:
……•   April 1 – Spring meeting
……•   August 1 – Fall meeting

For more information about the 484(f) Committee and the petition process, please see the “Preface” section of the ITC’s website.

Please note: The 484(f) committee can not change any duty rate or tariff lines.  The purpose of the 484(f) committee is to assess category change only for statistical purposes.

Posted in Classification | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment