Everything firms need to know about EEI filing
If you're shipping goods from the US around the world, there are several critical requirements that you will be expected to complete in order to remain compliant with the country's trading rules. One of the most important is making an Electronic Export Identifier (EEI) declaration.
EEI filing is mandatory for any goods valued over $2,500 under Schedule B, or if items are restricted and require a valid export license. The information collected is used for compiling official export statistics and enforcing US export laws and regulations.
Failure to complete an accurate, timely EEI filing is a violation of the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR), which can result in penalties of $1,100 per day, up to a maximum of $10,000, per item.
Therefore, it is essential that all exporters understand what their responsibilities are when making an EEI filing, what data needs to be included and how to do this as efficiently as possible.
What does the EEI filings include?
All EEI filings must be completed digitally through the Automated Export System (AES) within the Automated Customs Environment (ACE). It must be provided by the US Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) making the shipment - in other words, the person or organization receiving the primary benefit from the transaction (usually the vendor or manufacturer). However, the documentation can be filed on their behalf by an authorized third party, such as a broker or freight forwarder.
EEI filings are required to contain a prescribed set of information, which includes the following details:
- Name, address and tax number of the USPPI
- Point of origin for any goods awaiting export
- Schedule B/Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code
- Brief description of goods
- Quantity and value of items
- Name and address of receiver
When is an EEI filing required?
An EEI filing is required any time commodities with a total value exceeding $2,500 are exported from the US to a foreign country or territory, with a few exceptions.
When dealing with shipments of multiple items, this only applies to goods that share an HTS code. If you are exporting items that are individually worth under $2,500 that do not share an HTS, no filing is required, even if the total value of the shipment exceeds this figure.
Therefore, it is vital that items are classified correctly under the HTS system to ensure you are making the correct filings.
There are a few other exceptions where an EEI filing is not required. This includes shipments where the ultimate destination is Canada - provided goods do not require licenses - and shipments from the US to its dependent territories, including Guam and American Samoa. However, if you are shipping to Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands, a filing is still required.
EEI filing must be completed prior to any shipments being made. Late filing is one of the most common reasons for exporters to receive penalties from Customs and Border Protection. Generally, the documentation must be received no later than two hours before export for most shipments, though for those covered by the US Munitions List (USML) and International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR), this increases to eight hours.
How can firms make EEI filing as streamlined as possible?
Exporters can avoid the risk of late or inaccurate EEI filing by using an authorized software solution to interact directly with AES. This ensures exporters can remain compliant with all regulations by submitting all the relevant information in a timely manner on their behalf.
By automating this crucial step, firms can ensure that all shipments are correctly reported, avoiding the need to go back and amend any documentation. This therefore frees up their time to work on more productive activities while also giving essential peace of mind that all compliance activities are being followed.