AES filing made easy.
AES stands for the Automated Export System. It is a computer-based network that electronically collects information on U.S. exports. AES’ two main objectives are 1) to collect accurate statistics on U.S. exports and 2) enforce the laws in place that ban certain items from leaving the country. As such, the two government agencies that oversee AES are the U.S. Census Bureau and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The most visible outcome of this collection of export data occurs once per month with the release of the U.S. balance of trade statistics.

Other U.S. government agencies that track relevant shipments in the Automated Export System include

  • Bureau of Industry and Security —controlled items
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • State Department — defense items
  • Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control — sanctioned countries and banned parties
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Agriculture

Development of AES began in 1995 with the input of exporters, carriers, freight forwarders, port authorities, non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCC) and software vendors. The first five ports to participate were Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Houston and Los Angeles/Long Beach, which collected export information for vessel shipments. Then in mid-1997, CBP expanded AES to accommodate air and overland commodity data, as well vessel shipments from all ports. AESDirect, a public application supported by the Census Bureau, came on-line in 1999.

Paper documentation for export shipments coexisted with AES until 2008, when the regulations changed to require that all export information be submitted electronically.