AES filing made easy.


A free internet application supported by the U.S. Census Bureau that allows U.S. Principal Parties of Interest (USPPIs), their authorized agents, or the authorized agents of the Foreign Principal Parties of Interest (FPPI) to transmit electronic export information (EEI) through AES via the internet at

AESDirect Web Automation Services

An internet based way to automate communications with AESDirect and AES. The AESDirect Web Automation Services allow companies to establish a secure (encrypted) internet connection to AESDirect when submitting electronic export information.


AESPcLink is downloadable software that lets users manage AES filings locally from a home computer. AESPcLink automatically links to an exporter’s AESDirect filing account on the internet. It is primarily beneficial to exporters to file in batches with sporadic internet connectivity or for those who utilize its Spanish translation.


Enables internet application developers and providers to allow their users to pass data from their own third party applications into AESDirect. This makes it easier for end-users to enter data into AESDirect, thereby eliminating the need to enter the same data into both the third party application and AESDirect.

Authorized Agent

An individual or legal entity physically located in or otherwise under the jurisdiction of the United States that has obtained power of attorney or written authorization from a USPPI to act on its behalf, and for purposes of this part, to complete and file the electronic export information.

Automated Export System (AES)

The system, including AESDirect, for collecting electronic export information from persons exporting goods from the United States, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands; between Puerto Rico and the United States; and to the U.S. Virgin Islands from the United States or Puerto Rico.

Automated Export System Trade Interface Requirements (AESTIR)

The document that describes the technical and operational requirements of AES. The AESTIR presents record formats and other reference information used in the AES.

Bill of Lading (BL)

A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company under which freight is to be moved between specified points for a specified charge. Usually prepared by the authorized agent on forms issued by the carrier, it serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage, and a receipt for goods.

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)

This bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce is concerned with the advancement of U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic interests. The BIS is responsible for regulating the export of sensitive goods and technologies; enforcing export control, anti-boycott, and public safety laws; cooperating with and assisting other countries on export control and strategic trade issues; and assisting U.S. industry to comply with international arms control agreements.


An international customs document that allows the carnet holder to import into the United States or export to foreign countries certain goods on a temporary basis without the payment of duties.


An individual or legal entity in the business of transporting passengers or goods. Airlines, trucking companies, railroad companies, shipping lines, pipeline companies, and slot charterers are all examples of carriers.


A systematic grouping of commodities, such as the Harmonized System (HS), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTS), Schedule B, Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), or End-Use. The U.S. Census Bureau collects import data by HTS numbers and export data by Schedule B numbers. These are recoded to SITC, NAICS, and End-Use codes for publication in the monthly balance of trade press release.

Commerce Control List (CCL)

A list of items found in Supplement No. 1 to Part 774 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Supplement No. 2 to Part 774 of the EAR contains the General Technology and Software Notes relevant to entries contained in the CCL.

Commercial Loading Document

A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company under which freight is to be moved between points for a specific charge. It is usually prepared by the shipper or the shipper’s agent or the carrier and serves as a contract of carriage. Examples of commercial loading documents include the air waybill, ocean bill of lading, truck bill and rail bill of lading.


The person or entity named in a freight contract, a contract of carriage that designates to whom goods have been consigned, and that has the legal right to claim the goods at the destination.


Delivery of goods from a USPPI (the consignor) to an agent (consignee) under agreement that the agent sells the goods for the account of the USPPI.

Controlling Agency

The agency responsible for the license determination on specified goods exported from the United States.

Country of Destination

Country of destination for exports is the country where the goods are to be consumed, further processed, or manufactured, as known to the USPPI at the time of exportation.


An agent who sells directly for a supplier and maintains an inventory of the supplier’s products.

Domestic-Origin Exports

(See below for foreign-origin exports.) Domestic goods are those that are grown, produced, or manufactured in the United States, and commodities of foreign origin that have been changed in the United States — including changes made in a U.S. foreign trade zone — from the form in which they were imported, or that have been enhanced in value or improved in condition by further processing or manufacturing in the United States. Generally, if merchandise has entered the United States and was altered enough prior to export that its Schedule B or Harmonized Tariff classification has changed, it would be considered of domestic origin.

Drop Shipment

A shipment of goods from a manufacturer directly to the ultimate consignee, avoiding shipment to the foreign buyer.


Materials placed around cargo to prevent shifting or damage while in transit.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

An electronic communication system that provides standards for exchanging data via electronic means. It is a method to submit electronic export information to AES. The two formats accepted by AES are X12-601 and Customs Proprietary Format.

Electronic Export Information (EEI)

The electronic export data as filed in AES. This is the electronic equivalent of the export data formerly collected as Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) information and now mandated to be filed in AES.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

The USPPI‘s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) EIN is the nine-digit numerical code as reported on the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, Treasury Form 941.

End User

The person abroad that receives and ultimately uses the exported or re-exported items. The end user is not an authorized agent or intermediary, but may be the Foreign Principal Party of Interest or ultimate consignee.

Exclusion Legend

A notation placed on the bill of lading, air waybill, export shipping instructions, or other commercial loading document that describes the basis for not filing electronic export information for an export transaction. The exclusion legend shall reference the number of the section or provision in the Foreign Trade Regulations where the particular exclusion is provided.

Export Administration Regulations (EAR)

Regulations administered by the BIS that, among other things, provide specific instructions on the use and types of export licenses required for certain commodities, software, and technology.

Export Control Classification Number (ECCN)

The number used to identify items on the Commerce Control List. The ECCN consists of a set of digits and a letter. Items that are not classified under an ECCN are designated “EAR99.”

Export License

A controlling agency’s document authorizing export of particular goods in specific quantities or values to a particular destination. Issuing agencies include, but are not limited to, the U.S. State Department, the BIS, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Fatal Error Message

An electronic response sent to the filer by AES when the system encounters invalid or missing data. A fatal error message indicates that the export submission was rejected, and that the information is not on file with AES. The filer is required to correct the shipment and retransmit the electronic export information.


Those USPPIs or authorized agents who file electronic export information directly in AES.

Filer ID

The Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Dun & Bradstreet Number of the company or individual filing the export information in the Automated Export System.

Foreign-Origin Exports (Re-exports)

For statistical purposes: These are exports of foreign-origin goods that have previously entered the United States, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands for consumption — or into a CBP bonded warehouse or U.S. foreign trade zone — and at the time of exportation, have undergone no change in form or condition or enhancement in value by further manufacturing in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or U.S. foreign trade zone. Generally, if merchandise has entered the United States and was not altered in such a way prior to export that its Schedule B or Harmonized Tariff classification has changed, it would be considered of foreign origin. (See here for domestic-origin exports.)

Foreign Port of Unlading

The port in a foreign country where the goods are removed from the exporting carrier. The foreign port does not have to be located in the country of destination. The foreign port of unlading shall be reported in terms of its five-digit Schedule K, “Classification of CBP Foreign Ports by Geographic Trade Area and Country.”

Foreign Principal Party in Interest (FPPI)

The party abroad who purchases the goods for export or to whom final delivery or end-use of the goods will be made. This party may be the ultimate consignee.

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)

Specially licensed commercial and industrial areas in or near ports of entry where foreign and domestic goods, including raw materials, components, and finished goods, may be brought in without being subject to payment of customs duties. Goods brought into these zones may be stored, sold, exhibited, repacked, assembled, sorted, graded, cleaned, manufactured, or otherwise manipulated prior to re-export or entry into the country’s customs territory.

Forwarding Agent

The person in the United States who is authorized by the principal party in interest to facilitate the movement of the cargo from the United States to the foreign destination and/or prepare and file the required documentation.

Free Along Ship (F.A.S.) Export Value

The value of exports at the U.S. seaport, airport, or border port of export, based on the transaction price, including inland freight, insurance, and other charges incurred in placing the merchandise alongside the carrier at the U.S. port of exportation. The value, as defined, excludes the cost of loading the merchandise aboard the exporting carrier and also excludes freight, insurance, and any charges or transportation costs beyond the port of exportation. This is the value to report when filing an export.

Freight Forwarder

An independent business which handles export shipments for compensation.

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)

A framework under which certain developing countries are given preferential tariff treatment to their manufactured goods.

Harmonized System (HS)

The Harmonized System (HS) is an international classification system administered by the World Customs Organization. The two-, four- and six-digit HS headings and subheadings are the basis for the ten-digit statistical classification systems used in the United States. The HS is revised approximately every five years.

In the United States, the import classification system is called the “Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSA)” while the export system is called the “Schedule B“.

Household Goods

Usual and reasonable kinds and quantities of personal property necessary and appropriate for use by the USPPI in the USPPI’s dwelling in a foreign country that are shipped under a bill of lading or an air waybill and are not intended for sale. Filers can only use the export code for household goods (HH) when the USPPI is also the ultimate consignee.


A procedure administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under which goods are transported or warehoused under CBP supervision until the goods are either formally entered into the customs territory of the United States and duties are paid, or until they are exported from the United States. The procedure is so named because the cargo moves under a bond (financial liability assured by the principal on the bond) from the gateway seaport, airport, or land border port and remains “inbond” until CBP releases the cargo at the inland customs point or at the port of export.

Inland Freight

The cost to ship goods between points inland and the seaport, airport or land border port of export, other than baggage, express mail or regular mail.

Intermediate Consignee

The person or entity in the foreign country who acts as an agent for the principal party in interest with the purpose of effecting delivery of items to the ultimate consignee. The intermediate consignee may be a bank, forwarding agent, or other person who acts as an agent for a principal party in interest.

Internal Transaction Number (ITN)

The AES generated number assigned to a shipment confirming that an electronic export transaction was accepted and is on file in AES. The ITN must appear on the bill of lading, air waybill, export shipping instructions, or on other commercial loading documents.

International Standards Organization (ISO) Country Codes

The two-character code used to identify countries for which shipments are reportable. While U.S. international trade data are collected using the ISO code, they are published using the four-digit Schedule C Country Code.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

Regulations administered by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) within the U.S. State Department that provide for the control of the export and temporary import of defense articles and defense services.

In-transit Shipments

Goods shipped through the United States, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands from one foreign country or area to another foreign country or area without entering the consumption channels of the United States. In-transit shipments are not counted in U.S. international trade data.

License Exception

An authorization that allows a USPPI or other appropriate party to export or re-export under stated conditions, items subject to the Export Administration Regulations that would otherwise require a license.


A collection of documents, including forms, such as the cargo declaration and annotated bill of lading, that lists and describes the cargo contents of a carrier, container, or warehouse. Carriers required to file manifests with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection port director must include an AES filing citation, exemption legend or exclusion legend for all cargo being transported. In general, the shipping manifest is a document in the public domain and can be viewed by anyone.

Mass-Market Software

Software that is generally available to the public by being sold at retail selling points, or directly from the software developer or supplier, by means of over-the-counter transactions, mail-order transactions, telephone transactions, or electronic mail-order transactions, and designed for installation by the user without further substantial technical support by the developer or supplier.

Method of Transportation (MOT)

The method by which goods arrive in or are exported from the United States by way of seaports, airports or land border crossing points. Methods of transportation include vessel, air, truck, rail or other. For statistical purposes, methods of transportation are classified as vessel, air or other.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The formal agreement, or treaty, among Canada, Mexico and the United States to promote trade among the three countries. It includes measures for the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade, as well as numerous specific provisions concerning the conduct of trade and investment.


Not elsewhere specified or included.


Not specifically provided for.

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)

A freight forwarder that acts as common carrier but does not operate the vessels by which ocean transportation is provided, and is a shipper in relation to the involved ocean common carrier.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

Replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system in 1997 as the industry classification system used by the statistical agencies of the United States. Under NAICS, economic units that use like processes to produce goods or services are grouped together, creating a “production-oriented” system. NAICS codes are assigned by the Economic Classification Policy Committee at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)

An agency within the U.S. Department of the Treasury that administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. OFAC acts under presidential wartime and national emergency powers, as well as authority granted by specific legislation, to impose controls on transactions and freeze foreign assets under U.S. jurisdiction.

Option 2 Export Filing

All required information is filed prior to the goods leaving the country. This is the most common way to submit information to the Automated Export System.

Option 4 Export Filing

Allows an exporter to send a shipment without pre-departure notification to AES. Full post-departure information must be reported within five working days from the date of exportation. This option is only available to exporters approved to do so by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Origin of Goods (Cargo Origin)

In all EEI filings, the USPPI shall report the address or location (no post office box number) from which the goods actually begin the journey to the port of export. For example, a shipment where goods are put on a truck at a warehouse in Georgia, then transported to Florida for loading onto a vessel for export to a foreign country shall show the address of the warehouse in Georgia. For shipments with multiple origins, report the address from which the commodity with the greatest value begins its export journey. If such information is not known, report the address in state in which the commodities are consolidated for export.

Packing List

A list showing the number and kinds of items being shipped, as well as other information needed for transportation purposes.

Port of Export

The port of export is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seaport or airport where the goods are loaded onto the aircraft or vessel that is taking the goods out of the United States, or the CBP port where exports by overland transportation cross the U.S. border into Canada or Mexico. When filing export information in AES, for goods loaded aboard an aircraft or for a vessel that stops at several ports before clearing to the foreign country, the port of export is the first CBP port where the goods were loaded. For goods off-loaded from the original conveyance to another conveyance (even if the aircraft or vessel belongs to the same carrier) at any of the ports, the port of export is where the goods were loaded on the last conveyance before going foreign. The port of export is reported in terms of its four-digit Schedule D, “Classification of CBP Districts and Ports.” Use port code 8000 for shipments by mail.

If exiting the United States from a military base, the port of export should be the nearest official U.S. Customs and Border Protection port. For example, if exiting from Dover, Delaware, report Baltimore Washington National Airport (BWI) as the port of export, using port code 1305.

Power of Attorney

A legal authorization, in writing, from a USPPI or FPPI stating that an agent has authority to act as the principal party’s true and lawful agent for purposes of preparing and filing the export in accordance with the laws and regulations of the United States.

Proof of Filing Citation

A notation — often the 14-digit ITN — placed on the bill of lading, air waybill, export shipping instructions, or other commercial loading document, usually for carrier use, that provides evidence that the electronic export information has been filed and accepted in AES.


Units of quantity shown are published in terms of the units specified in the Harmonized Tariff System or Schedule B for each classification. Some classifications require two units of quantity. Quantity is only used at the 10-digit HS level. Any higher aggregation may result in multiple units of quantity being included.

Related Party Indicator

Used to indicate when a transaction involving trade between a USPPI and an ultimate consignee where either party owns directly or indirectly ten percent or more of the other party.

Schedule B

The export statistics are initially collected and compiled in terms of approximately 9,000 ten-digit commodity codes in the Schedule B, Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States. The Schedule B is maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau and is based on the four- and six-digit headings and subheadings of the international Harmonized System (HS). The Schedule B is revised once annually.

Schedule D

The classification of U.S. Customs and Border Protection districts and ports. The Schedule D provides a list of CBP districts and ports and the corresponding numeric codes used in compiling U.S. foreign trade statistics.

Schedule K

The Classification of Foreign Ports by Geographic Trade Area and Country. The Schedule K lists the major seaports of the world that directly handle waterborne shipments in the foreign trade of the United States, and includes numeric codes to identify these ports. This schedule is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


All goods being sent from one USPPI to one consignee located in a single country of destination on a single conveyance and on the same day. In general, electronic export information must be filed when the value of the goods is over $2,500 per Schedule B or Harmonized Tariff System commodity classification code.

Shipment Reference Number

A unique identification number assigned to the shipment by the filer for reference purposes. Reuse of the shipment reference number is prohibited.

Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED)

The Department of Commerce paper form used under the erstwhile Foreign Trade Statistics Regulations to collect information from an entity exporting from the United States. This form was used for compiling the official U.S. export statistics for the United States and for export control purposes. The SED became obsolete on October 1, 2008, with the implementation of the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) and has been superseded by electronic export information filed through AES.

Shipping Weight (or Gross Weight)

The shipping weight is the weight in kilograms, which includes the weight of the commodity, as well as the weight of normal packaging, such as boxes, crates, barrels, etc. The shipping weight is required for exports by air, vessel, rail, and truck, and required for exports of household goods transported by all methods. For exports (except household goods) by mail, fixed transport (pipeline), or other valid methods, the shipping weight is not required. For containerized cargo in lift vans, cargo vans, or similar substantial outer containers, the weight of such containers is not included in the shipping weight. If the shipping weight is not available for each Schedule B or HTS item included in one or more containers, the approximate shipping weight for each item is estimated and reported. The total of these estimated weights equals the actual shipping weight of the entire container or containers.

Split Shipment

A shipment covered by a single AES transmission booked for export on one conveyance, but divided prior to export where the exporting carrier at the port of export will file the manifest indicating that the cargo was sent on two or more of the same conveyances leaving from the same port of export of the same carrier within 24 hours by vessel or seven days by air, truck, or rail. For the succeeding parts of the shipment that are not exported within time frame specified above, a new shipment must be filed in AES with amendments made to the original AES record.

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)

Commodity classification system defined by the United Nations.


Customs duties on merchandise imports, levied either on an ad valorem basis (as a percentage of value) or on a specific basis (e.g. $10 per 100 kilograms). Tariffs give price advantage to similar locally-produced goods and raise revenues for the government.


The transfer of merchandise from the country of origin to an intermediary country prior to shipment to the country of ultimate destination.

Transportation Reference Number

A reservation number assigned by the carrier to hold space on the carrier for cargo being shipped. It is the booking number for vessel shipments, the master air waybill number for air shipments, the bill of lading number for rail shipments and the freight or pro bill for truck shipments.

Ultimate Consignee

The person, party, or designee that is located abroad and actually receives the export shipment. This party may be the end user or the FPPI.

United States Munitions List (USML)

Articles and services designated for defense purposes under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

Unit of Quantity

The unit of measure that merchandise is counted either in numbers or weight such as yards, meters, pieces or numbers. The Harmonized System (HS) collects information based on the metric standard.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

The border agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charged with the management, control and protection of U.S. borders at and between the official ports of entry of the United States.

U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI)

The person or legal entity in the United States that receives the primary benefit, monetary or otherwise, from the export transaction. Generally, that person or entity is the U.S. seller, manufacturer, or order party, or the foreign entity while in the United States when purchasing or obtaining the goods for export.

U.S. State of Origin

The U.S. state of origin is the two-character postal code for the state in which the goods begin their journey to the port of export. For example, a shipment covering goods laden aboard a truck at a warehouse in Georgia for transport to Florida for loading onto a vessel for export to a foreign country shall show Georgia as the state of origin. The U.S. state of origin may be different from the U.S. state where the goods were produced, mined, or grown. For shipments of multi-state origin, reported as a single shipment, report the U.S. state of the commodity with the greatest value. If such information is not known, report the state in which the commodities are consolidated for export.

USA Trade Online

USA Trade Online is a service provided by the Foreign Trade Division of the U.S. Census Bureau. The database holds current and cumulative U.S. export and import data for over 9,000 export commodities and 17,000 import commodities. USA Trade Online provides trade statistics using the Harmonized System (HS) up to the ten-digit level and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) commodity classification codes up to the six-digit level.


In general, the value to report when filing an export is the value of the goods at the U.S. port of export in U.S. dollars. It is the selling price (or the cost, if the goods are not sold), plus inland or domestic freight, insurance, and other charges to the U.S. seaport, airport, or land border port of export. Cost of goods is the sum of expenses incurred in the USPPI’s acquisition or production of the goods. Report the value to the nearest dollar; omit cents. Fractions of a dollar less than 50 cents should be ignored, and fractions of 50 cents or more should be rounded up to the next dollar.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

A number issued by the manufacturer and used for the identification of a self-propelled vehicle.

Verify Message

An electronic response sent to the filer by AES when an unlikely condition is found.

Voluntary Self-Disclosure

A narrative account with supporting documentation that sufficiently describes suspected violations of the Foreign Trade Regulations. A VSD reflects due diligence in detecting, and correcting potential violation(s) when required information was not reported or when incorrect information was provided that violates regulations.

Warning Message

An electronic response sent to the filer by AES when certain incomplete and conflicting data reporting conditions are encountered.