Recent Trade & Tariff Perspectives

November 18, 2022  |  Jeff Simpson  Director of Compliance

port official inspecting containers 
Requests to Send Electronic Export Information to Someone Outside of the United States

Now that some foreign governments are requiring a “proof of export” to import commodities into their countries, we’re fielding increased requests to send copies of the Electronic Export Information (EEI) that we file for exporters in the Automated Export System (AES) to foreign governments or parties. However, it is important for companies to know that doing so would be a U.S. compliance violation. Let’s take a closer look at why.

Why all the requests?

Basically, it comes down to a matter of interpretation. Some customs brokers and transportation companies in the countries now requiring a proof of export believe that means they need to see what information was filed with the exporting countries governmental agencies to make entry. Here in the United States that would be a request for us (as the forwarder), the exporter, or the U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) to provide a copy of the EEI filed in AES for that shipment. Ultimately, the foreign company or broker would submit that documentation to the local customs agency to import the goods.

Acutely aware of these foreign-based requests, the U.S. Census Bureau has provided clear guidance to the exporting community. In short, we, as a forwarder/filer/agent, cannot legally send that information to someone outside the United States for any reason. This confidential information is for the sole use of the U.S. government for official purposes. Additionally, these same constraints bind the U.S. exporter/USPPI. Specifically, the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) 15 CFR § 30.60 (c)(4) states:

“The official report of the EEI submitted to the U.S. government shall not be disclosed by the USPPI, the authorized agent, or representative of the USPPI for ‘nonofficial purposes,’ either in whole or in part, or in any form including but not limited to electronic transmission, paper printout, or certified reproduction. “Nonofficial purposes” are defined to include but not limited to providing the official EEI… To foreign entities or foreign governments for any purpose.”  

So, what can be sent?

U.S. Census is acutely aware of these foreign based requests and has given out clear guidance to the exporting community on what is acceptable to send and will not violate the FTR.

According to U.S. Census Foreign Trade Division, it is acceptable to send the Internal Transaction Number (ITN) outside the United States to show proof of export since it is not considered an actual data element of the EEI as defined in the FTR. An ITN is the unique number assigned to a shipment/AES filing confirming the filing has been accepted and all EEI data elements have been filed in the AES for that specific filing.

What if there was no AES filing?

However, the reality is, not all exports out of the United States require an AES filing for various reasons. A list of these exemptions can be found in Subpart D (Exemptions from the Requirements for the Filing of Electronic Export Information) in the FTR.

When and if this scenario presents itself, it is acceptable to provide the specific citation in the FTR from Subpart D to the foreign requestor. For example, in subpart D [15 CFR § 30.37(a)], there is an AES filings exemption for exports of “commodities where the value of the commodities shipped from one USPPI to one consignee on a single exporting conveyance, classified under an individual Schedule B/HTS commodity classification code, is $2,500 or less”. In this example, the specific citation 15 CFR § 30.37(a) should be communicated to the foreign requestor.

What this means?

Requests to provide EEI data to foreign entities are not new, however, there has been a significant increase in these types of requests over the past several months and the U.S. Census Foreign Trade Division has taken notice. U.S. companies must be vigilant and stay abreast of all applicable regulations. By following the guidance outlined above, you can remain compliant with U.S. regulations, and fulfill the needs and regulatory requirements of customers overseas.

Have additional questions, or require further assistance with this or any other customs and trade matters? Connect with one of our Trusted Advisor® experts to learn more.


Our information is compiled from a number of sources that to the best of our knowledge are accurate and correct. It is always the intent of our company to present accurate information. C.H. Robinson accepts no liability or responsibility for the information published herein.

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