AES filing made easy.

Background to the Automated Export System Filing (AES)

Prior to the introduction of the Automated Export System (AES), the export system relied on paper-bound systems which tended to be error-prone, labor-intensive, and very expensive. AES makes use of proven technologies to address the many problems in the export process thus reengineering the entire U.S. export system.

What is the  Automated Export System (AES)

The AES is a joint venture by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, The Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), The Bureau of Industry and Security, the Foreign Trade Division of the Bureau of the Census, the Automated Export System, associated federal agencies and the export trade community.

The AES is the main way through which multiple federal agencies get access to data on exports which are filed electronically to the CBP. Through the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), agencies across the commerce, security, and industry sectors get access to a lot of pertinent data. 

Since the AES works with all methods of transportation and in all ports across the United States, it is designed to ensure enforcement and compliance with laws relating to improving trade statistics, exporting, reducing multiple reporting, and improving customer service.

When Should You File an AES

An AES filing is expected for any shipments that include the following elements:

  • Valued over $2500 according to Schedule B number which are sent from the same exporter to the same buyer on a given day.
  • Any goods that require an export license regardless of destination or value.
  • Goods that are subject to ITAR but are exempted from export licensing requirements regardless of destination or value.
  • Any goods classified under the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) “600 series”
  • Items that require license exception - Strategic Trade Authorization.
  • Goods that are exported to Syria, Cuba, Sudan, Iran, and North Korea regardless of their value.
  • Rough diamonds regardless of destination or value.
  • Goods shipped to the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico that have the same requirements as shipping to foreign nations.
  • Self-propelled vehicles.

It is important to note that there is no need for an AES filing for exports from the United States to Canada regardless of the merchandise value unless a license exception or an export license is required or the item is a self-propelled vehicle.

In most instances, AES filings need to be done at least 24 hours before the actual export of the consignment but shippers may have to file earlier for items on the U.S. Munitions list. 

Who is Responsible for Filing the AES

There are several parties that are allowed to file AES including the USPPI, authorized agents, AES Certified Service Centers, and AES Certified Software Developers/Vendors.

United States Principal Party USPPI

An AES filing is primarily submitted by the U.S. Principal Party in Interest usually abbreviated as (USPPI). This is usually the exporter in the United States even though AES can also be submitted by the USSPI’s authorized agent such as a freight forwarder.

It has to be noted that even in the instance of routed export transactions, the USPPI remains responsible for ensuring the agent has critical data elements through the AES. The address submitted for the exporter needs to be the port of export where the goods begin their journey. 

In most instances of a routed transaction, the seller and buyer can agree that it is the seller who will be responsible for filing the AES to ensure it is filled out correctly.

Authorized Agents

Authorized agents are allowed to submit AES filings on behalf of the Foreign Principal Party of Interest (FPPI) or USPPI under a narrow set of conditions that include:

  • Being in possession of a written authorization OR properly executed power of attorney from the FPPI or USPPI.
  • Having a physical location in the United States.
  • An account on the ACE Exporter portal where they can file the AES via EDI Bulk Upload, AESWebLink, or ACE AESDirect portal.

AES Certified Service Centers

Service Centers may file AES on behalf of the Authorized Agent or USPPI to the AES after they complete the AES software certification process.

AES Certified Software Developers/Vendors

Software developers or vendors may develop software that may be used in AES filing after completing the AES software certification process.

It is important to note that even if an FPPI or USPPI may outsource their AES filings to authorized agents, the responsibility for ensuring that the data and information submitted remains cannot be equally transferred. 

How to File an AES

There are several ways to file an AES but the most common are through the ACE portal on the CBP website, accessing AESDirect through customs software solutions providers, or through in-house software programs.

ACE AESDirect Portal

This is a free web application provided by the ACE through the US CBP website. Once logged in the shipper will log all their shipment information directly onto the AESDirect screens as long as they have an account registered in the system.

EDI Bulk Upload

Users can upload a file to the ACE AESDirect portal in either the X12 601 or AESTIR format which makes it possible to submit multiple shipments at once. The AES usually provides Internal Transaction Numbers (ITNs) through an email response and directly on the portal following the submission of the AES filing to confirm receipt of the filing. 

AES Weblink

This is an application that interfaces with an organization's internet application to pull as much data as possible which is then submitted to ACE AESDirect to submit an AES shipment filing.

All that is required to submit AES through AES Weblink is a registered account and logins and an implementation of the Weblink submission API. Just like with EDI bulk upload, the AES will provide ITNs following the submission of the AES filing. 

Third-Party Software

It is possible to have a direct connection to AES and make AES submissions through self-developed in-house or third-party software from certified vendors.

What are the Fees for an AES Filing

The fees for filing AES usually depend on which method of filing a shopper decides to use. For the most part, you will only have to pay a fee when using freight forwarders, agents, or software vendors to file AES on the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system. 

For the convenience of ensuring that AES filing is done the right way, freight forwarders and export agents usually charge a nominal fee of between $50 and $100.

Benefits of AES

Regardless of whatever aspect of the export community you come from - consolidator, exporter, non-vessel operating common carrier, freight forwarder, service center, or port authority, you stand to gain a lot from using AES filing. 

Some of these benefits include:

  • Ensuring Export Compliance - With sophisticated editing, AES ensures that you are in compliance with current exporting requirements from the CBP and other Partner Government agencies. 
  • Ability to Correct Errors on the Spot - Filers get immediate feedback if any data is incorrect or omitted so that they can immediately correct errors or edit files as errors occur.
  • Lower Costs - Shippers eliminate the need for costly corrections with upfront data edits. Shippers and PGAs also eliminate duplicate reporting and costly delays in paper handling.
  • Eliminate Paper Review of Shipments Against Licenses - AES interfaces with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls at the State Department and the Bureau of IUndustry and Security at the Commerce Department. This means that data on export shipments is electronically validated against previously approved licenses making the release of shipments more efficient.
  • A Tool for Measuring and Evaluating Potential Markets - Timely and accurate export statistics from trade data helps businesses stay ahead in the global market trade.

Learn More About AES

More and more successful exporters have been shifting to custom and in-house software solutions and services for their AES filings which makes it possible to stay compliant with export regulations from the CBP and other Partner Government agencies. 

Read more here on how we can help your company through our modern and customized AES filing solutions.