October 2014, Trade Deficit Decrease

By: Jason Jindrich

The October trade deficit in goods and services decreased by $0.2 billion from September, to $43.4 billion. The decrease in the deficit reflects a $2.3 billion increase in exports to $197.5 billion. This increase in exports was greater than the $2.1 billion increase in imports to $241.0 billion. Both exports and imports of capital goods reached a new record this month, with exports at $47.7 billion, and imports at $51.0 billion. Similarly, October marked records in both exports ($22.3 billion) and imports ($27.4 billion) with Mexico.

October was also a record month for imports from China. This leads to our Graph of the Month, featuring imports of cellphones. Imports of cellphones into the United States have trended upward since 1997, with China an important source.

October 2014 Trade Graph

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Turkey Time!

By: Stephen Jackson

Turkeys are closer than you think!

TurkeyThe tradition of Thanksgiving dates back to the early 1600’s and is most notably remembered for 1621 when early Plymouth Colony settlers hosted a three-day feast. On Oct. 3rd 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving, later clarified by President Franklin Roosevelt to be the fourth Thursday of the month. Today we still celebrate Thanksgiving as a time with family and friends, giving thanks for all that we have. This celebration is typically done sitting around a table with that perfectly roasted, deep fried or however-you-make-it turkey.

One of the most iconic symbols of Thanksgiving is the turkey, and it got me thinking about our trade data. What does it show about these symbols of Thanksgiving? Much to my surprise, for the last several years we have only imported turkeys from one place – Canada. It all makes sense when you think about it, turkeys can typically only fly about 100 yards at a time so they can’t come from too far away! That was supposed to be funny.

Let’s take a look at turkey imports as classified in Schedule B 020724 and 020725; Turkeys, Not Cut in Pieces, Fresh or Chilled and Turkeys, Not Cut in Pieces, Frozen. We will look at 2009-2013 and 2014 thru September Import data showing the world value and the total value from Canada. If you are familiar with our USATrade Online Data, you should recognize the format below! If not, feel free to jump on USA Trade Online, where first time users get 1 week free, and start exploring your interest in trade data!

Turkey Data

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Reporting Gold Dore in the Automated Export System (AES)

By: Byron Raney

All that glitters is not necessarily 100% pure gold.  Gold dore is a semi-pure alloy, which is a mixture of different kinds of metals.  How you report gold dore in the Automated Export System (AES) depends on the purity of gold.

Classifying Gold Dore

Using our Schedule B Search Engine, the chart below shows Schedule B number 7108.12.1020 as the classification for gold dore.  In the Description column, you will see Dore (gold content).  In the Unit of Quantity column you will notice Au g.  Au is the symbol for gold.  This means that filers should only report the amount of gold grams (Au g) exported.

Gold Dore Blog Graph 1

Reporting Gold Dore in the AES

How would you report gold dore in the AES based on the breakdown of metals on the commercial invoice below?  Based on the information provided, report the gold content quantity (1,230,000 Au g) and total value of the shipment ($52 million).  To figure out the unit price of the gold, you divide the value by the quantity of the gold.  In this case, the unit price is $42 per Au g.

Gold Dore blog Graph 2

However, if you had reported the gold content as all of the metal quantities combined (1,500,000 grams), the unit price would appear to be about $35 per Au g, much less than the actual price of the gold per gram.  As you can see, a small filing error can make a big difference and impact the data that we publish.

Interested in exploring imports and exports of gold dore? Check out our trade data portal, USA Trade Online. First time users get free access for one week! For Schedule B classification, check out our easy to use search engine: https://uscensus.prod.3ceonline.com/. If you have additional classification questions, call 1(800) 549-0595, option #2.

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September 2014, Trade Deficit Increase

By: Ariel Sedeño

After decreasing for four consecutive months, the trade deficit in goods and services increased by $3.0 billion to $43.0 billion in the month of September. The increase in the deficit was driven by exports decreasing by $3.0 billion to $195.6 billion, while imports increased by $0.1 billion to $238.6 billion. Goods accounted for most of the decrease in exports, down $2.6 billion to $136.1 billion. In addition, imports of consumer goods and non-petroleum imports were both the highest on record at $47.7 billion and $170.2 billion respectively.

In the previous two years, imports of pumpkins from Canada increased significantly in the month of September and through October. In September 2012, imports of pumpkins from Canada were recorded at 3.5 million kilograms and then 3.2 million in September 2013. Outside of this range of time, Canada, who is our largest trading partner for pumpkins, transforms into the primary country that the U.S. exports pumpkins, squash and gourds to. Please be sure to visit our “Graph of the Month” page for a visual representation of the export and import trends of pumpkins with Canada.

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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/ 

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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

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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.


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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.



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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.

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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

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