The Automated Export System (AES) is the system used by U.S. exporters to electronically declare their international exports, known as Electronic Export Information (EEI), to the Census Bureau to help compile U.S. export and trade statistics. This information is also shared with the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, and other federal agencies involved in monitoring and validating U.S. exports. Formerly this declaration was only made on paper on the Shipper's Export Declaration form.
Up until November 30, 2015, an exporter could file the EEI electronically to the AES using the AESDirect website, the AESPCLink software, or other AES-compatible applications. However, after the 2015 launch of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), all legacy AESDirect and other users must register and submit the EEI to ACE. After an EEI/SED is successfully filed and processed, the shipper receives an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) to put on the shipping documents, as a confirmation to any government agent inspecting the cargo prior to departure.
An EEI is generally required when any one commodity on a given shipment exceeds in value. There are four conditions that necessitate filing an EEI regardless of value: a) if the export destination is Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria; b) if the shipment requires an export license or permit; c) if it is subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations; or d) if it contains rough diamonds. Incidentally, a shipment from the United States to Canada that exceeds in value does not require an EEI unless it falls under conditions b) through d) above.
Shipments to and from Puerto Rico must be treated like any other "international export" under the EEI requirements. On the other hand, cargo headed to American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and most of the other U.S. territories are treated as domestic shipments and do not need an EEI. The U.S. Virgin Islands is a special case: shipments from that territory to either the U.S. mainland or Puerto Rico are treated as "domestic", but cargo headed in the other direction is treated as "international".
Among the data that is required to file an EEI includes the following:
The Automated Export System (AES) is a joint venture between CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection], the Foreign Trade Division of the Bureau of the Census (Commerce), the Bureau of Industry and Security (Commerce), the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (State), other Federal agencies, and the export trade community. It is the central point through which export shipment data required by multiple agencies is filed electronically to Customs