January 17, 2017 (251 days ago)
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Export Compliance Tips 101
By Shannon Barley, Survey Statistician, U.S. Census Bureau

We all want to follow the rules, right? This article is going to help you stay between the lines in order for you to remain compliant with the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) when you are exporting your goods from the United States. Below are several tips to help you on your exporting journey.

If you have ever participated in any of the many seminars and Webinars the International Trade Management Division (ITMD) presents, chances are, you have heard one of the speakers say, “DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!” In Section 30.10 of the FTR, it states that all parties to the export transaction are responsible for maintaining documents pertaining to the export shipment for 5 years from the date of export. You can maintain the export documents electronically or in paper form.

It is also important that you perform internal audits to stay on top of your exports. There are two ways that you may access Electronic Export Information (EEI) submitted to the Automated Export System (AES). The first way is via your Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Export Reports. This access is free. Theresa Gordon wrote a great blog about the different types of Export Reports. Instructions for accessing these reports are available here. The second way that you can obtain your EEI is to submit a data request directly to the U.S. Census Bureau. Through this process, companies are able to receive 12 months of their filed EEI every 365 days free of charge.

When you are performing your internal audits, you may wonder what you need to do if you find any mistake or if you failed to file the EEI. You are required to make corrections as soon as they are known, as stated in Section 30.9 of the FTR. In addition, if appropriate, you may want to submit a Voluntary Self-Disclosure to the Census Bureau detailing what led to the mistake. Take advantage of the various training opportunities offered by the ITMD to help avoid future violations.

Lastly, in order to stay compliant with the FTR, it is ideal to have a sound understanding of the FTR. The Census Bureau has developed several resources for the trade community to utilize. We offer free Webinars on topics, such as filing requirements, how to use ACE, types of export transactions, and much more. Any previously recorded Webinar is accessible on our outreach page. Our Web site contains several other resources, such as our FAQs. These FAQs, along with the Export Compliance Flipper, are great tools to have on hand for both new and experienced employees. After reading through this, I hope you found these tips helpful and your company stays in compliance with export regulations.

For more information, visit our Web site or call the ITMD at 800-549-0595, option 3 for Regulations or option 5 for Outreach. You can also e-mail Regulations at, or Outreach at
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