Introduction Awards Kids Corner Staff Your Guide to Government Services Links Contact Us What Others Are Saying Access America E-Gov E-Zine
DisAbility Workers Business FirstGov TradeNet Seniors Students Archives Search Government Benefits Government Processes Home International Trade Index Intergovernmental Criminal Justice Business Tax Filing Training Tools to Operate Technology Acquistion Information Technology Worldwide Environment ExportingFederal PaymentsPrivacy & Security Government Services Business ServicesPublic Safety Email Me InfrastructureProductivity The Job Page    

Exporters Can Declare Their Goods Free Online

When American exporters export their goods, the United States Government no longer requires "paperwork."

What Customers Are Saying

"AESDirect makes it easy to satisfy U.S. Government reporting requirements." --
Alan W. Black, FedEx

Not to mislead you, exporters or their agents must still complete and deliver a "Shipper's Export Declaration," commonly called "SED," for every commodity valued over $2500. In 1995, the U.S. Customs Service and the Foreign Trade Division of the Census Bureau introduced a new voluntary, paperless export information reporting program called AES, or Automated Export System. No paper, no messengers, no cargo tie-ups and very little cost, except for the purchase or development of special software.

This year — as of October 4, 1999, to be exact — it’s all on the Internet. It’s even easier, and it doesn’t cost anything. It requires only an Internet connection. It’s AESDirect.

And it’s still voluntary. So if exporters or their agents really want to fill out paper and deliver it by messenger to the cargo carrier and then to the U.S. Customs Service, they still can. And, believe it or not, in this age of computers -- on the eve of a new Millennium -- most still do, just as they did a century ago.

The U.S. Customs Service and the Foreign Trade Division of the Census Bureau hope that most exporters will prefer AESDirect in the 21st Century, whether you figure that as beginning in the year 2000 or the year 2001.

Paperwork Is Expensive

Paper-pushing is expensive. A study by the National Council on International Trade Development revealed that processing paper SEDs costs businesses between $15 and $75 or more apiece. With 500,000 paper SEDs being filed every month (and processed by the U.S. Census Bureau), that adds up to a lot of money that could be reallocated towards revitalizing American industry.

The arguments for electronic filing are compelling. The new system — a combination of AESDirect and AES -- saves companies time and money. It reduces the paperwork burden on the trade community. It eliminates duplicate reporting of data to multiple agencies.

"AESDirect makes it easy to satisfy U.S. Government reporting requirements," said Alan W. Black, of FedEx.

It helps government, too. Agencies don’t have to process all that paper and they get better quality exporting data because the system does up front editing if it detects errors or inconsistencies.

How It Works

AESDirect provides pre-departure and post departure filing of the SED information. To participate in AESDirect, exporters register on-line; receive an E-mail providing a username and password to permit logging onto the tutorial and certification quiz; take the tutorial and quiz; pass the quiz and receive an E-mail notification that the account is setup for operation. And all this can be accomplished in one short business day.

Once they are registered, filers logon, create a shipment using the self-contained instructions; submit the shipment to AESDirect. The system edits the form and returns the message to the filer. The filer can then submit it to the AES, and get a confirmation.

AESDirect provides for both interactive and batch filing. Vendors are certifying software to provide for batch submission.

How Many Companies Are On Board?

"We have 133 companies registered for AESDirect, " said Dorothy Lee Brown, a liaison at the Census Bureau for the program. Thirty-seven of these are transmitting accounting for 1,380 SEDs. Forty-three of the companies are participants in an older system, the Automated Export Reporting Program (AERP). As of December 31 the AERP will cease to exist leaving the AES as the only electronic system for reporting export data, Brown said.

If Exporters Need Help

The online program operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Census Bureau offers a 12-hour help desk, 7am - 7pm EST.

For more information, log onto AESDirect , call 800-549-0595 or contact the Automated Export System Branch, Foreign Trade Division, Bureau of the Census, Washington, DC 20233.

Related Resources

Exporting to the 21st Century

Other Exporting Stories