Automated Export System: Program status,

[Federal Register: October 9, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 196)]

[Notices]

[Page 54438-54440]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[DOCID:fr09oc98-56]

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Bureau of the Census

[Docket No. 980729251-8251-01]

RIN 0607-AA19

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Customs Service

Automated Export System (AES) Program Status

AGENCIES: Census, Commerce, and Customs Service, Treasury.

ACTION: General notice.

SUMMARY: On June 19, 1995, the Department of the Treasury's Customs Service announced the implementation of the Automated Export System (AES), a reporting system jointly developed by the Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau) and the Customs Service (Customs) allowing for the electronic transmission of shipper's export information, in the Federal Register (60 FR 32040). This notice informs the public of the current status of the AES program and enhancements that will be made to the AES as a result of Interest Based Negotiations (IBN) between Customs, the Census Bureau, and representatives of the trade community to create a more viable export reporting program. This notice also informs the public that the present Automated Export Reporting Program (AERP), a Census Bureau program, will expire on December 31, 1999, and that the AES Post-Departure Authorized Special Status (AES-PASS) program, a feature of AES developed to address specific concerns of the trade community, will cease operation. This notice further announces that the Census Bureau and Customs are developing regulations to implement provisions and requirements for filing export information electronically using the AES.

The continuing development of the AES functions is designed to facilitate trade by reducing the administrative costs for both industry and government in the reporting, collection, and processing of required export information, and providing the government with better law enforcement opportunities in the administration of export laws by allowing for the earlier collection and review of export information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: At Customs: John Dagostino, Office of Field Operations, Outbound Process, 7501 Boston Boulevard, Mail stop 208/d-98, Springfield, VA 22153; by phone at (703) 921-7464. At Census: C. Harvey Monk, Jr., Chief, Foreign Trade Division, Bureau of the Census, Room 2104, Federal Building 3, Washington, DC 20223-6700; by phone at (301) 457-2255; by fax on (301) 457-2645; or by e-mail at c.h.monk.jr@ccmail.census.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Export Filing Requirements

Pursuant to Title 13, United States Code (U.S.C.) 301, the Secretary of Commerce is required to collect information from all persons engaged in foreign commerce or trade; the Census Bureau has been delegated this responsibility by the Secretary of Commerce. The filing requirements applicable to vessel outward manifests are contained in Section 4197 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (46 U.S.C. App. 91). The regulations that implement the Census Bureau's procedures regarding the submission of Shipper's Export Declarations (SEDs) for commodity information are contained in the Foreign Trade Statistics Regulations, 15 CFR Part 30.

The Census Bureau is responsible for collecting, compiling, and publishing export trade statistics. However, Customs physically collects the outward manifest and SED documents and forwards the SEDs to the Census Bureau for processing (see 13 U.S.C. 303). The regulations that provide for Customs procedures regarding the submission of outbound manifests are found in Parts 4 (for Sea Carriers) and 122 (for Air Carriers) of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Parts 4 and 122). Customs uses the information contained in outward manifests to enforce export laws and regulations administered by the Bureau of Export Administration, the Office of Defense Trade Controls, the Office of Foreign Asset Controls, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of the Treasury, and other local and federal agencies.

Current Filing Procedures

Current Census Bureau export filing requirements provide for the reporting of information by exporters using the paper SED (15 CFR 30.3). Normally, the exporter is required to submit SED information prior to the exportation of the merchandise (15 CFR 30.12). Census Bureau Regulations (15 CFR 30.39(b)) also provide for the alternate reporting of certain export information electronically after departure through the AERP. The AERP allows certain participating exporters to report their export information electronically to the Census Bureau on a monthly basis, in a

[[Page 54439]]

single report. The AERP provides a convenience to exporters for Census Bureau statistical purposes, but is of limited value to Customs in its enforcement of export laws because there is no export information required to be filedprior to the export of the merchandise. For these and other reasons discussed below, the AERP will be terminated on December 31, 1999.

Census Bureau Regulations (15 CFR 30.39) also allow for export reporting through the AES, a separate electronic filing system jointly developed with Customs. As originally designed, use of the AES required that all export information be submitted prior to departure and did not provide the same monthly reporting privileges to exporters as the AERP. In order to meet the needs of the trade community for a post-departure filing option, the AES-PASS program was developed. The AES-PASS program allowed qualified exporters to transmit pre-departure ``IOU'' information electronically to Customs, to be followed by post-departure submission of the remaining commodity information within a specified time period.

Development of the AES

The purpose of the AES is to support the Customs outbound mission by providing a voluntary information gateway through which the trade community and Federal Government agencies can electronically exchange export data that will facilitate the collection and processing of export information and improve enforcement and compliance with U.S. export laws. The AES provides an alternative to filing the paper SED that is perceived as burdensome by the trade community, inefficient by the government for the collection of statistics, and of limited use in the enforcement of U.S. export laws. The AES is being designed to give the trade community the following benefits: (a) Fewer delays by Customs due to missing paper work; (b) fewer, but more efficient, inspections of export shipments; (c) more consistent application of export laws, and (d) reduced administrative costs due to automation. Further, AES enables government agencies with export responsibilities to collect statistics more efficiently, enforce their export requirements, and reduce their administrative costs.

In July of 1995, AES was initiated (see Federal Register, June 19, 1995 (60 FR 32040)) in the vessel ports of Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Houston, and Los Angeles. By the end of 1996, AES was expanded to all Customs vessel ports of entry. The AES is continually being enhanced to ensure that the system is in conformance with standard industry practices concerning the collection of manifest information from sea carriers and commodity information from exporters. Future plans for the AES include the development of modules to accept: (1) Air and rail manifest information; (2) consolidated shipment information from exporter's agents; (3) manifest and shipment information from express carriers; and (4) drawback claims.

While the AES has been continually enhanced since its implementation, the trade community has expressed concerns over the design of AES, specifically the requirement to transmit all commodity information prior to departure of the exporting carrier. As mentioned previously, the AES did not provide some of the privileges afforded by the Census Bureau's AERP. Although AES-PASS was developed by Customs in an attempt to provide some of these privileges to exporters, the trade community continued to express the opinion that neither AES nor AES- PASS conformed to current business practices and that each program constituted a hindrance to the total voluntary acceptance of AES by the trade community.

To ensure that the AES meets current business practices and voluntary acceptance by the trade community, Customs and the Census Bureau entered into IBN with representatives of the trade community to discuss further enhancements and to determine time frames for the submission of export information. The trade community was represented by the Customs Oversight Activities Committee and other members of the exporting community.

As a result of the IBN, two significant improvements to the AES were agreed to:

  1. Creation of a filing option that requires no pre-departure information be filedby qualified participants (with the filing of full commodity information within ten (10) working days from the date of exportation).

  2. Creation of a two-stage filing option available to all filers that allows for transmissions where some basic export information is filedprior to departure with the remainder of the information filed within five (5) working days from the date of exportation.

    The four filing options, outlined in the agreement, for the submission of commodity information are:

    Option 1--Paper SEDs and Pre-Departure Filing

    With Option 1, filers will continue the current procedure of filing paper SEDs with all pre-departure export information. This option will have no AES electronic component and maintains the present practice for filing export commodity information. Option 2--AES Filing of All Pre-Departure Information

    With Option 2, all commodity information will be filed electronically prior to the departure of the carrier. Option 3--AES Filing of Partial Pre-Departure Information

    With Option 3, filers will file fourteen (14) identified data elements of commodity information prior to exportation of the merchandise and transmit the remaining applicable data elements within five (5) working days of the date of exportation. This option will be available to all AES filers for those shipments that do not require full pre-departure information. However, this option will apply only to sea and air modes of transportation. Option 4--AES Filing of Post-Departure Information:

    With Option 4, qualified exporters will be allowed to export approved commodities without filing any pre-departure information. However, complete commodity information must be filedwithin ten (10) working days from the date of exportation. Filers with Option 4 privileges will be preapproved, having complied with a formal screening and review process through Customs, the Census Bureau, and other participating partnership agencies.

    Expiration of AERP and AES-PASS

    In light of the foregoing, the following programs will be terminated as follows:

  3. AERP will expire December 31, 1999.

  4. AES-PASS will cease operation one year after the full implementation of Option 4.

    Regulations

    The Census Bureau and Customs are developing regulations to implement provisions and requirements for filing export information electronically using the AES. These regulations will also include requirements for implementing the provisions of the IBN agreement.

    Dated: October 1, 1998.

    Concurred by: Raymond W. Kelley, Commissioner, U.S. Customs Service, Department of the Treasury.

    Dated: October 2, 1998.

    [[Page 54440]]

    Concurred by: Bradford R. Huther, Deputy Director, Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce.

    [FR Doc. 98-27096Filed10-8-98; 8:45 am]

    BILLING CODE 3510-07-U