Let me check my Calendar…

By: Global Reach Managers

How many times have we heard or said this famous phrase? I know for me, it is hard to count the number of calendars I have to look at on a daily basis. Between personal calendars, pay schedule calendars, staff calendars, processing calendars and e-mail calendars, we all know it can be a bit overwhelming keeping track of schedules.  Well, I do not mean to bother you with another but I think you will want to add this one to your list!

Our Events calendar is a quick snapshot that shows you our upcoming events such as:

  • Webinars
  • AES Seminars
  • Workshops

This calendar makes it easy for you to stay informed and schedule time to join us for training.  Another great benefit to know is that each of these entries provides you a link for easy registration to the event.


You can always find training and resources on our ITMD Outreach, Education and Training page at http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/outreach/ 

Posted in Webinars | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

AES Filing: Plan for the Unexpected

By: Keith M Jones

backup plan 10 23 2014If your commercial software or in-house programmed software becomes inoperative, you must find another way to report your EEI to stay in compliance with the Foreign Trade Regulations. Remember, the AES Downtime Policy applies only when either the AES or AESDirect is not operational.

Many companies that use commercial or in-house programmed software to file their EEI also establish AESDirect accounts as backup if their primary systems are not available.

If your primary means of reporting is through commercial software or in-house programming, you can use the same Employer Identification Number (EIN) to register forAESDirect. As a certified AESDirect filer, you can also download the AESPcLink software and use the same filer id and password.

In other words, you have the ability to access more than one account per EIN:

  1. Your commercial software or in-house programming account
  2. Your AESDirect/AESPcLink account

To use commercial or in-house programmed software, you must file a Letter of Intent.
To register for AESDirect, please visit our website @ AESDirect.census.gov

Posted in Export Filing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get the most out of Shipment Manager!

By: Eric Gauthier

Have you heard about Shipment Manager on AESDirect? Shipment Manager allows you to quickly view previously reported shipments, as well as keep track of all of the shipment responses you have received. Let’s take a look at how you can utilize this feature to keep track of your export reporting.

Shipment Manager 1

How do I access Shipment Manager?

  1. Log in to the website with your AESDirect username and password information
  2. Select the Shipment Manager link from the Main Menu.

NOTE: If you use AESPcLink, you may access Shipment Manager by selecting the Shipment Manager link on the left hand navigation bar or by visiting the AESDirect website. Your username and password provide access to both AESDirect and AESPcLink.

Shipment Manager 2How to use Shipment Manager

  • To search for a specific shipment by Shipment Reference Number (SRN) or Internal Transaction Number (ITN), click on the Retrieve a Shipment tab.
  • If you don’t have an SRN or ITN, or you want to conduct a broader search, click on ‘Search for shipments by’ and select one of the predetermined searches. You can search for Today’s Activity, Yesterday’s Activity, and Last 7 Days for either the date of filing or date of export.

NOTE: Your AESDirect account allows you to view only the Electronic Export Information for shipments filed under your account. If you want to see all shipments filed on your behalf, submit a Data Request to our Trade Outreach Branch.

How do I narrow my search results?

Sometimes your search may generate too many shipment results. Select Filter your Search to limit results by country of ultimate destination, USPPI ID, Port of Export or License Type, to name a few. The search results will show on screen with detailed information.

How can I use my search results?

  • Retrieve, delete, print or use a specific shipment as a template for future shipments.
  • View shipments which have generated Fatal Errors, Verify Messages or Compliance alerts, and use the on screen help to learn how to resolve these issues.
  • Use the Download option to export the results as a spreadsheet file.
  • Select Save Search to keep the search criteria you want to reuse in the future. When you return to Shipment Manager, click on Saved Searches and choose the one you want to use.

Shipment Manager 3For more information on Shipment Manager, check out our video guide or refer to our AESDirect User Guide. We encourage you to use Shipment Manager to help you comply with the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR). If you have questions, please contact us at 1-800-549-0595, option 1 or askaes@census.gov.


Posted in Export Filing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Commodity Spotlight: Diamonds

200526550-001By: Christine Higgins

We all know that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but did you know that the United States imports billions (yes, billions with a B!) of dollars worth of diamonds every year? How many diamonds? The United States imported $23.4 billion worth of diamonds in 2013, which is an increase of 59% since 2004. That’s a lot of sparkle!

chart 2


chart 4

You might be wondering where the U.S. gets all of these diamonds. The U.S. imports most of its diamonds (87% in 2013) from just three countries: Belgium, Israel, and India. These three countries are major hubs for polishing and refining diamonds. Even though they are major diamond refining hubs, Belgium and Israel don’t mine diamonds. Because of this, rough diamonds typically don’t have Israel or Belgium as their country of origin.chart 3

If you are importing or exporting diamonds, review the requirements of a Kimberley Process Certificate (KPC). For more information, check out this blog.

For other informative diamond blogs, check these out:

If you are interested in import and export data related to diamonds, check out USA Trade Online. 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

August 2014, Trade Deficit Decreases

By: Henock Kebede

The trade deficit in goods and services decreased by $0.2 billion to $40.1 billion in August. A slightly larger increase in exports of $0.4 billion (to $198.5 billion) than imports of $0.2 billion (to $238.6 billion) drove the August decrease. August exports of goods and services, at $198.5 billion, and August exports of goods, at $138.8 billion, were the highest on record.

Today being Manufacturing Day, we have featured exports of manufactured goods by continent in our Graph of the Month. American manufacturing is currently growing twice the rate of GDP, and American companies ship manufactured goods around the world.

Lastly, we want to inform you of our name change. We are no longer the Data Dissemination Branch of the Foreign Trade Division. Our new name is the International Trade Indicator Macro Analysis Branch of the Economic Indicators Division. Our role has not changed and we will continue to be your main point of contact for international trade data. For now, our email address will remain ftd.data.dissemination@census.gov and our phone number will remain 1-800-549-0595, option 4. For more information on the organizational change of the new International Trade Management Division, please check out the latest blog post by Dale Kelly.

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

Introducing the International Trade Management Division

improve efficiencyBy:Dale Kelly

We are changing
… but we’re also staying the same. On September 22nd, the Foreign Trade Division officially became the International Trade Management Division (ITMD). Bill Bostic, Associate Director of Economic Programs, and other leaders at the Census Bureau looked at ways to streamline and consolidate our processes within the economic area. As a result, we have completed the first phase of this multi-phase approach by realigning our organizational structure. Subsequent changes will focus on re-engineering our processes.

So what does this mean to you? The ITMD will continue to support the trade community in using the Automated Export System and understanding the Foreign Trade Regulations. We will also be taking on new responsibilities including data stewardship and management.

Here are a few changes to areas you may work with:

  • AES Branch will now be known as the Data Collection Branch
  • Regulations, Outreach and Education Branch has become the Trade Regulations Branch
  • Trade Outreach Branch is a newly formed branch supporting training and education for the trade community

The ITMD will continue providing support for trade related data, but the Commodity Analysis Branch and the Data Dissemination Branch have moved to another area named the Economic Indicators Division and are now known as the Micro-Analysis and Macro-Analysis Branch, respectively.

In summary, yes we have implemented a new organization structure, however you can continue to expect us to support the trade community through our training, seminars, webinars, call center, etc.   Our name may have changed but I can guarantee you that our goal continues to be providing you with a high level of quality customer service. You can continue to reach us at 1-800-549-0595 with any questions. Dale C. Kelly, International Trade Management Division.

itmd chart jan 30 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

End of Informed Compliance Webinar

time to learnBy: Anna Owens

Time is ticking away. It may seem like just yesterday when the Final Rule was published. However, in about a week, informed compliance will be over. My question for you…Are you ready for the big day?

Here’s what’s happening on October 3…

  • Customs and Border Protection may begin issuing penalties for non-compliance
  • AESDirect will begin issuing fatal errors related to the new data elements

AESDirect will begin issuing fatal errors related to the new data elements

Are you ready for the complete enforcement of the revised FTR? Do you have any last minute questions? Do you need a refresher of the changes?

Check out the FREE town hall webinar on the changes to the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) here!

If you have questions, please contact us at (800) 549-0595.


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

Trade Term: SCAC & IATA

By: Kenny Mayo

The Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) code are used to identify the carrier that transports the goods out of the United States. Before selecting a carrier code it is important to be aware of which company is actually moving the goods out of the country. This is important to note because the carrier that transports the goods to the port of export may not be the same as the carrier that transports the goods out of the country.

What is the difference between the SCAC IATASCAC and IATA?

The SCAC is the carrier identification for vessel, rail, and truck shipments. These codes are issued and maintained by the National Motor Freight Association (NMFTA). In contrast, the IATA is responsible for issuing carrier identification codes for air shipments.

Why is the carrier code important?

It is essential that you accurately report the SCAC or IATA code so that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) knows exactly which carrier is transporting the goods out of the country and has the opportunity to inspect the goods prior to export. Failure to provide accurate information can lead to shipment delays and penalties up to $10,000 per violation. As part of our continuous efforts to help you maintain compliance, however, the Census Bureau has created edits in AESDirect and AESPcLink which require the appropriate type of carrier code to be selected for each mode of transportation.

Is this required for all shipments?

No. The carrier identification is not required for the following modes of transportation: mail, passenger hand carried, and fixed transport (pipeline).

For more information about SCACs, please use the following link: http://www.nmfta.org/pages/scac

For more information about IATA codes, please use the following link:

Posted in Trade Terms | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 FTD Customer Service Survey

By: Vecoya Greene

It’s that time again! Time for you to tell us how to improve our customer service. The 2014 Foreign Trade Division Customer Service Survey is now available and we would like you to participate.

If you used the Automated Export System (AES) and it’s associated services in the past two years, your feedback helps us better assist you.customer satisfaction

This year’s survey is a little different. It’s all about your opinions and finding new innovative ways to improve our services. For example, if you have utilized our shipment manager, watched a webinar or browsed our website, this is your chance to share that experience with us!

Come one, come all, you’re invited to participate in this survey.


Remember, your feedback will inspire action! The last day to complete the survey is September 19, 2014, so don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity.

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

July 2014, Trade Deficit Decreases

By: Carlann Unger

Balance of Payments Basis

The trade deficit in goods and services continued to decrease for the third month, dropping $0.3 billion to $40.5 billion. A slightly larger increase in exports of $1.8 billion (to $198.0 billion) than imports of $1.6 billion (to $238.6 billion) drove the July decrease. July exports of goods, at $138.6 billion, were the highest on record.

Goods on a Census Basis

July exports of goods increased to $137.6 billion. Exports of Automotive Vehicles, Parts, and Engines drove the increase with gains of $1.7 billion, followed by Industrial Supplies and Materials with gains of $1.3 billion. July imports of goods increased to $196.8 billion. The main drivers for this increase were Automotive Vehicles, Parts, and Engines with gains of $1.4 billion and Other Goods with gains of $0.5 billion. July imports of Foods, Feeds, and Beverages also had a record month with total imports of $10.9 billion.

July Automotive Vehicles, Parts, and Engines increased to record levels for both exports and imports. In July, this category made up 11% of all U.S. goods exported, with Passenger Cars making up 40% of the exports in this category. July imports of Automotive Vehicles, Parts, and Engines made up 15% of all goods imported, with Passenger Cars making up 45% of the imports in this category. Take a look at our Graph of the Month to see how the values of exports and imports of Automotive Vehicles, Parts, and Engines have changed since 2008.

Posted in Foreign Trade Data | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments