Customers Are Saying About the Automated Export System
do I think of AES? I love it! I no longer have to transmit
SEDs via fax or use costly messenger services at $9 per package.
It even saves me costs on phone calls and... toner for printing
--Marguerite Larsen, Owner, Global International Forwarders,
"I've been in this business for 30 years and am very pleased
with the new Automated Export System for processing SEDs...
The system is completely paperless. It eliminates having to
send... original SEDs to the carrier via messenger. This is
a real time and cost-saver to us... It's great! Everyone should
be using AES"
--Carol Orr, VP, Peter Wittwer, NA, Chicago, IL
Exporting to the
October 25, 1998
by George Selby
billions of dollars worth of American manufacturers' exports pass
through more than 430 Customs ports, port authorities and weigh
stations on their way to foreign markets around the world. In so
doing, it is the job of the U.S. Customs Service, to capture relevant
information about these shipments and cargo transports, including
destination, quantities being shipped, declared dollar value, method
of shipment and more.
It is the
responsibility of the U.S. Census Bureau's Foreign Trade Division
to collect, compile and publish statistics on U.S. merchandise exports
(as well as imports and the balance of trade), and make them available
to government officials -- from the White House to the Federal Reserve
Board on down -- and the media, as well as to promote the availability
of this information to businesses and researchers in need of such
American exporters must complete a Shipper's Export Declaration
(SED for short) for almost every commodity valued over $2500 being
exported (there are more than 8,000). Believe it or not, in this
computer-driven age, most SED's are still completed by hand! In
fact, in most cases, it's not the exporter, but their authorized
forwarding agents who complete the SED. Once completed, an SED is
hand-carried by messenger to the point of cargo departure and turned
over to a carrier, who in turn confirms the information and turns
it over with a complete manifest to the U.S. Customs Service. Customs
separates the SEDs from the manifest and mails a copy to the Census
Bureau. Literally, a lot of paper-pushing!
If the paperwork
is incorrectly prepared, or required information is omitted or inaccurate,
a costly delay in the release of cargo for export may take place.
As you can imagine, errors and omissions are rampant. 50% of all
paper SED's filed with Customs contain errors or omissions.
Bureau also estimates that 3 to 7 percent of all export shipments
go unreported. That comes to as much as $48 billion worth of cargo
a year. This affects the quality of the data produced by the Census
Bureau and utilized by the White House and Federal Reserve Board
in protecting and projecting the Nation's economic health.
All this paper-pushing
is expensive. A recent 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 — money that could be reallocated towards
revitalizing American industry.
Export System (AES)
is a new paperless, export information reporting program
from the U.S. Customs Service and the Foreign Trade Division of
the Census Bureau, called AES, or the Automated Export System. The
AES is the outgrowth of the program, AERP, or the Automated Export
AES is a voluntary
program designed to facilitate the delivery of information on the
exporting of goods and services from the U.S. to foreign countries.
There is no charge to join the program. No significant investment
is required to take part. Exporters simply need access to a computer
and a modem, or to a freight forwarder or service provider who is
automatic feedback to online filers, so that if any information
is inaccurate or missing, the system delivers appropriate prompts
immediately. No delays, no waiting! And, with one click of a computer
key, the SED is G-O-N-E. In the hands of the U.S. Customs Service.
No paper, no messengers, no cargo tie-ups and very little cost.
Census will continue to work with more than 40 different Federal
government agencies required by law to gather export information
so that SED's reported through AES will offer one-stop data collection
and dissemination. This will not only dramatically reduce the cost
of filing these reports with the respective agencies, but eliminate
repetitive efforts collecting the same information over and over.
or not, of all the trading partners doing business with the U.S.,
the United States is the only country that does not require its
SED's to be filed online. Both Mexico and Canada (the top two U.S.
trading partners) have automated systems as an example.
participation in AES is voluntary, and paper SEDs will still be
accepted for the foreseeable future. However, thanks to outreach
and education efforts by the Foreign Trade Division of the Bureau
of Census and the U.S. Customs Service, more and more exporters
and their authorized forwarding agents are expected to sign up once
they learn the benefits of electronic filing.
in AES each business must submit a Letter of Intent to the Census
Bureau, containing a variety of information ranging from the obvious,
such as company name and address, to "U.S. Ports of Export Currently
Utilized, Average Monthly Volume and Value of Export Shipments,
Modes of Transportation Used," and more. Once this is done Customs
and Census assign AES representatives to the company to complete
to develop and deliver data products to meet America's business
needs, and as the millennium approaches, make every effort to provide
American businesses with the most timely and accurate trade data
available," said C. Harvey Monk, Jr., Chief of the Foreign Trade
Division at the Census Bureau. "AES is an important part of that
questions about AES or enrollment in AES may call the Census Bureau's
Foreign Trade Division Toll-Free number, 800-549-0595.
a member of the Federal Communicators Network, is a Supervisory
Marketing Specialist in the Marketing Services Office of the U.S.
Census Bureau in Suitland, Maryland. You may reach him at 301-457-3110