U.S. Department of Commerce

Foreign Trade

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About the Foreign Trade Programs and Products

 


 

Export Statistics

PURPOSE

To provide detailed statistics on goods and estimates of services shipped from the U.S. to foreign countries. The United States Code, Title 13, requires this program. Participation is mandatory. The Treasury Department assists in the conduct of this program.

COVERAGE

The export statistics consist of goods valued at more than $2,500 per commodity shipped by individuals and organizations (including exporters, freight forwarders, and carriers) from the U.S. to other countries.

CONTENT

Data are compiled in terms of commodity classification, quantities, values, shipping weights, method of transportaion (air or vessel), state of (movement) origin, customs district, customs port, country of destination, and whether contents are domestic goods or reexports. Since January 1989, commodities have been compiled under Schedule B harmonized classifications of domestic and foreign commodity exports. These transactions are classified under approximately 8,000 different products leaving the United States. Statistics are also complied under the Standard International Trade Calssification (SITC), North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), End-Use Commodity Classification, and Advanced Technology Products. These statistics include data about all 240 U.S. trading partners, 400 U.S. ports, and 45 districts.

FREQUENCY

Data are continuously compiled and processed. Documents are collected as shipments depart, and processed on a flow basis. Reports summarize shipments made during calendar months, quarters, and years. Statistics are reported monthly approximately 40 to 45 days after the end of the calendar month and on a year-to-date basis.

METHODS

A full compilation (i.e., a "census") of commodity exports, plus U.S. Census Bureau estimates of low-valued exports and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimates of trade in services. Statistics for exported goods transactions are compiled from three sources: Shipper's Export Declaration documents filed with Customs and Border Protection and sent to the U.S. Census Bureau (3 percent of all transactions), comparable data in electronic form submitted directly by exporters and their agents (63 percent), and special computer tapes from Canada for U.S. exports to Canada (34 percent). Estimates are made for low-value exports by country of destination, and based on bilateral trade patterns.

Statistics for U.S. exports to Canada are based on import documents filed with Canadian agencies and forwarded to the U.S. Census Bureau under a 1987 data exchange agreement. Under this agreement, each country eliminated most cross-border export documents; maintains detailed statistics on cross-border imports; exchanges monthly files of cross-border import statistics; and publishes exchanged statistics in place of previously compiled export statistics.

PRODUCTS

U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services (FT900), press release and supplement, provides summary statistics for goods on a census, balance of payment basis, and services data each month. This includes data for the most recent month and year on goods by various commodity classifications, and by country of destination. Annual revisions are released in June of the following year.

U.S. Merchandise Trade: Selected Highlights (FT920) provides data on value, charges, insurance and freight (CIF), and shipping weight for general imports and imports for consumption by district of entry, district of unlading, world area, country of orgin, and by method of transporation. Final data are released monthly.

USA Trade Online, an online subscription service, provides U.S. export statistics of commodities at the 2, 4, 6 and 10-digit Harmonized Schedule (HS) level. Monthly, year-to-date and annual statistics on value and quantity by country, customs district. Port statistics by 6-digit HS and country are also provided for value, shipping weight, and method of transportation. State export statistics are provided for 6-digit HS or 4-digit NAICS and country are provided for value, shipping weight and method of transportation. Statistics by 6-digit NAICS, country and district are provided for balance; domestic, foreign and total exports; and General Imports Customs value, General Imports CIF value, Imports for Consumption Customs value and Imports for Consumption CIF value.

U.S. Exports of Merchandise - Monthy Provides export statistics in ASCII or dBase format. Each file has various data fields for HS commodities at the 2, 4, 6 and 10-digit level. Country and customs district data for value and quantity are provided on a monthly, year-to-date and annual basis. Files are available for months and years since September 1989.

U.S. Export History Provides five years of historical export statistics in ASCII or dBase format. Each file has various data fields for HS commodities at the 2, 4, 6, and 10-digit level. Commodity data for value and quantity are provided on an annual basis and is issued annually.

U.S. Exports by State Provides export statistics by state of Origin of Movement in ASCII file format. Each file has various data fields for HS commodities at the 6-digit HS level or 3 or 4-digit NAICS level. Commodity data for value, shipping weight, and method of transportation are provided on an monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

U.S. Exports by Port Provides export statistics by port of export in ASCII file format. Each file has various data fields for HS commodities at the 6-digit HS level. Commodity data for value, shipping weight, and method of transportation are provided on an monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Related Party Trade provides aggregated data about transactions between parties with various types of relationships. The report is based on customs value excluding import duties, freight, insurance and other charges incurred in bringing the merchandise to the U.S. The report is released annually.

Merchandise Trade Reconciliation provides the results of a study into the differences between the official trade statistics released by the United States and Mexico, and Canada and Mexico during 1998 and 1999, and 1996 and 1997. The first report shows the differences during 1996 and 1997. The second report shows the differences during 1998 and 1999.

Profile of U.S. Exporting Companies provides aggregated data about U.S. companies identified as exporters when matched to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Register. The exporter “Profile” provides data about the exporting community including number of exporters, the known value of the export trade, employment size, type of company (manufacturers, wholesalers, and other), and major foreign markets. The report includes detailed breakdowns based upon the number of employees of the identified exporting companies. The International Trade Administration released the first report in September 1993, based on 1987 trade data. The Foreign Trade Division has released subsequent reports starting with 1992 trade data, and annually since 1996.

Special Reports and Data Services provides a multitude of export data products that the Census Bureau customizes in response to user requests for a nominal fee. Special products may be prepared once, periodically, or routinely.

USES

The BEA uses the data to update U.S. balance of payments, gross domestic product, and national accounts. Other federal agencies use them for economic, financial, and trade policy analysis (such as export promotion studies and export price indexes). Private businesses and trade associations use them for domestic and overseas market analysis, and industry-, product-, and area-based business planning. Major print and electronic news media use them for general and business news reports.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Export statistics provide a principal economic indicator as well as the most complete and only official source of monthly statistics on U.S. exports.


Import Statistics

PURPOSE

To provide detailed statistics on goods and estimates of services entering the U.S. from foreign countries. The United States Code, Title 13, requires this program. Participation is mandatory. U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Bureau of Economic Analysis assist in the conduct of this program.

COVERAGE

The import statistics consist of goods valued at more than $2,000 per commodity shipped by individuals and organizations (including importers and customs brokers) into the U.S. from other countries.

CONTENT

Data are compiled in terms of commodity classification, quantities, values, shipping weights, methods of transportation (air or vessel), duties collected, unit prices, and market share, country of origin, customs district, customs port, import charges and duties. Since January 1989, commodities have been compiled under the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (HTS) containing more than18,000 import commodity codes. Statistics are also compiled under the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), End-Use Commodity Classifications, Advanced Technology Products, and American Iron and Steel Product Groups (AISP). The statistics include data about all 240 U.S. trading partners, 400 U.S. ports, and 45 districts.

FREQUENCY

Data are continuously compiled and processed. Documents are collected as shipments arrive and processed on a flow basis. Reports summarize shipments made during calendar months and years. Statistics are reported monthly approximately 40 to 45 days after the end of the calendar month and on a year-to-date basis.

METHODS

A full compilation (i.e., a census) is taken of import shipments, plus U.S. Census Bureau estimates of low-valued imports and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimates of trade in services. Statistics for imported goods shipments are compiled from the records filed with Customs and Border Protection, usually within 10 days after the merchandise enters the United States. Estimates are made for low-value shipments by country of origin, based on previous bilateral trade patterns and periodically updated.

Statistics for over 95 percent of all commodity transactions are compiled from records filed electronically with Customs and forwarded as computer tape files to the U.S. Census Bureau. Statistics for other transactions are compiled from hard-copy documents filed with Customs and forwarded on a flow basis for U.S. Census Bureau processing.

PRODUCTS

U.S. International Trade in Good and Services (FT900) press release and supplement provides summary statistics for goods on a census and balance of payment basis and services data each month. This includes information for the most recent month and year on goods and services imports, exports and trade balances, various commodity classifications and country of origin or destination.

U.S. Merchandise Trade: Selected Highlights (FT920) provides data on value, charges, insurance, and freight (CIF), shipping weight for general imports and imports for consumption by district of entry, district of unlading, world area, country of orgin, and by method of transporation. Final data are released monthly.

Steel Report (FT900A) provides detailed data on U.S. imports for consumption by steel category and country. Preliminary and final data are released monthly.

USA Trade Online, an online subscription service, provides U.S. import statistics of commodities at the 2, 4, 6 and 10-digit Harmonized Schedule (HS) level. Monthly, year-to-date, and annual statistics on value, quantity, country, and customs district. Port statistics by 6-digit HS and country are provided for value, shipping weight and method of transportation. State export statistics are provided for 6-digit HS or 4-digit NAICS and country are provided for value, shipping weight and method of transportation. Statistics by 6-digit NAICS, country and district are provided for balance; domestic, foreign and total exports; and General Imports Customs value, General Imports CIF value, Imports for Consumption Customs value and Imports for Consumption CIF value.

U.S. Imports of Merchandise - Monthly provides import statistics in ASCII or dBase format. Each file has various data fields for HS commodities at the 2, 4, 6 and 10-digit level. Country and customs district data for value, quantity, method of transportation, shipping weights, import charges, duties and much more are provided on a monthly, year-to-date, and annual basis.

U.S. Import History provides five years of historical annual revised import statistics in ASCII or dBase format. Each file contains various data fields for HS commodities at the 2, 4, 6, and 10-digit level. Commodity, country, and district data for customs value (both general and consumption) and quantity is provided on an annual basis and is issued annually. Discs are available for 1989 to the most recent full year. The discs are released each June includes the annual revisions.

U.S. Imports by Port provides import statistics by port of unlading in ASCII file format. Each file has various data fields for HS commodities at the 6-digit HS level. Commodity data for value, shipping weight, and method of transportation are provided on an monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Related Party Trade provides aggregated data about transactions between parties with various types of relationships. The report is based on customs value excluding import duties, freight, insurance and other charges incurred in bringing the merchandise to the U.S. The report is released annually.

Merchandise Trade Reconciliation provides the results of a study into the differences between the official trade statistics released by the United States and Mexico, and Canada and Mexico during 1998 and 1999, and 1996 and 1997. The first report shows the differences during 1996 and 1997. The second report shows the differences during 1998 and 1999.

Softwood Lumber Imports from Canada, This table is being produced as a result of the U.S. Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement to provide aggregate data on monthly imports. The series began with January 2007 data.

Special Reports and Data Services provides a multitude of export and import data products that the Census Bureau customizes in response to user requests for a nominal fee. Special products may be prepared once, periodically, or routinely.

USES

The BEA uses the data to update U.S. balance of payments, gross domestic product, and national accounts. Other federal agencies use them for economic, financial, and trade policy analysis (such as import price indexes and import penetration analyses). Private businesses and trade associations use them for domestic and overseas market analysis, industry-, product-, and area-based business planning. Major print and electronic news media use them for general and business news reports.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Import statistics provides a principal economic indicator as well as the most complete and only official source of monthly statistics on U.S. imports.


Exporter Database

PURPOSE

To provide a periodic database of all U.S. exporters/importers and their characteristics. The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this data program. Use of Title 26 data has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service.

COVERAGE

Manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and other intermediary firms that make export and import shipments during the benchmark year.

CONTENT

The Exporter Database (EDB) and Importer Database (IDB) contains key data items from export/import statistics, the Business Register establishment list (BR), and selected 5-year census files; future EDBs and IBDs may include additional information. Export data include commodities exported; shipment value, weight, country of destination, U.S. customs port, and method of transportation; exporter ZIP Code; and whether the transaction was between plants of the same firm. Import data include commodities exported; and shipment value, weight, country of origin, U.S. customs port, and method of transportation.

Business Register data include exporter/importer identification, location and employment; and parent company (if any) identification, organization, location, employment, number of establishments and ownership. Census data are from the censuses of manufactures and wholesale trade, are establishment-based and include identification, total shipments, total export/import shipments (or sales), and employment.

FREQUENCY

EDB released annually since 1996. It was first released following the 1992 Economic Census.IDB released annually since 2009.

METHODS

A compilation of selected establishment- and company-level data from annual export/import, the latest Business Register, and selected 5-year economic census files. Data are obtained and linked for all firms and establishments that filed information through the electronic Automated Export System (AES), Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), or via paper on the Shipper's Export Declarations (SED) for commodities shipped.

Data from different transactions and files are linked through use of reported Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), and other census file identification information. Linkages for single-unit (location) establishments are more exact than linkages for different units within multi-establishment companies. Matching criteria and reliability codes are used to assure locational integrity of linkages at the establishment level.

PRODUCTS

A press release and annual report announcing and summarizing results from the EDB and IDB is available on the Foreign Trade Division website. Additional information is issued by the International Trade Administration (ITA) and posted on its website.

USES

The ITA uses the summary data to analyze exports/imports and exporters/importers by type of organization, industry and location, and to assist in managing export promotion programs. State and local governments use these data to identify areas and industries with export potential.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Provides the only complete and periodic profiles of U.S. exports/imports and exporters/importers, and changes in these profiles.

AVAILABILITY

The Exporter Database and Importer Database are generally not available to the public. Qualified researchers with approved projects can access the data at secure Census Research Data Centers.


February 2014
Trade Numbers

Deficit: $42.3 Billion
Exports: $190.4 Billion
Imports: $232.7 Billion

Next release: May 6, 2014
Complete Release Schedule

Export Training Videos


Collection of videos to enhance export training.

Upcoming Training

AES Compliance Seminars

May 13-14, 2014
Los Angeles, CA

May 15-16, 2014
Orange County/
 Long Beach, CA

May 20-21, 2014
Houston, TX

Contact Us

Contact the Foreign Trade Data Dissemination staff: Email us! or use our feedback form!

Call us: (301)763-2311 or 1-800-549-0595 option 4

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Foreign Trade | ftdwebmaster@census.gov |  Last Revised: June 06, 2012