Confidential Export Information

It is always important to ensure that you are completing international shipping documentation accurately.  One of the documents required for each single commodity  exported having a value exceeding $2,500 is a Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED).  SEDs essentially allow the Census Bureau to keep track of what is being exported from the United States.  Back when I started, in the Bronze Age, SED’s were yellow forms for most exports, and pink for goods in transit.  Today the SED filings are done via Census’ AES system, either via your link or on the web at AESDirect (  These filings are the means for compiling U.S. export statistics, which help the U.S. government in managing export control and, when compared to Customs’ entry information, generate balance of trade information.  Given that this information is used for critical national reporting measures, it is of the upmost importance that SEDs are completed both accurately and honestly.  To help promote honest reporting, SEDs are completely confidential.  As a result, you cannot be forced to produce copies of SEDs and you will never be required to disclose information reported within.  It cannot be disclosed to any party other than the Census: See 15 USC 30.60:

Confidentiality: The Electronic Export Information (EEI) contained in the Automated Export System (AES) isconfidential and is to be used solely for official purposes as authorized by the Secretary of Commerce.  The collection of EEI by the Department of Commerce has been approved by the Office of Management Budget.  Only the U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) or the USPPI’s agent may have access to its AES record.  It is prohibited to share the EEI Information with a Foreign Government or entity, or any other party for non-official purposes.”

The information you disclose on an SED is known as Electronic Export Information (EEI); this is the electronic data detailing your shipment which is collected by the government. There are certain regulations mandated when preparing an SED; to insure that you are in compliance with the requirements, please visit the guide published by the Census Bureau posted below. It is important to note that even though you cannot be forced to produce copies of an SED to any entity (with the exception of the United States government), you are still responsible for maintaining copies of shipping documents for a period of 5 years.  These documents are required to be kept for statistical purposes.  Be sure to download these excellent guides for your professional library:


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