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International Trade Data Systems (ITDS)


The Census Bureau is responsible for collecting, compiling, and publishing international trade statistics for the United States under the provision of Title 13, United States Code (USC), Chapter 9, Section 301. Every month, the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis jointly release the U.S. Trade in Goods and Services, FT-900. The FT-900 report provides detailed information on import and export by commodity and end-use categories. The Census Bureau provides detailed information on more than 9,000 export commodities and 18,000 import commodities. This information assists U.S. businesses in making informed decisions by tracking the global marketplace for their product and identifying possible opportunities to expand to new markets.

The Automated Export System (AES) is the primary instrument used for collecting export trade data. Through the AES, the Census Bureau collects Electronic Export Information (EEI), reported pursuant to Title 15 Code of the Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 30. The Census Bureau’s data collection process has been integrated with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since the days of paper Shipper’s Export Declaration. Census and CBP worked closely on the incorporation of the AES into the ITDS. On the import side, the Census Bureau uses information collected by CBP including the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), Automated Commercial System (ACS) and the e214 and their paper equivalent. The vast majority of the information is captured electronically, but there is a small amount still collected through paper.


The U.S. Census Bureau, CBP and other partnership government agencies developed the Automated Export System.


Electronic reporting became mandatory for State Department shipments and items on the Commerce Control List.


The AES platform was migrated to the ACE platform. The migration of the AES to the ACE is called the rehost. The purpose of this migration made our technology more modern. The ITDS is the “single window”, the primary system through which the international trade community will submit import and export data and documentation required by all Federal agencies. In addition, CBP and Census began work to incorporate AESDirect to the ACE platform.


The U.S. Census Bureau developed the free online filing tool for electronic reporting, called AESDirect. This system was designed for small to medium sized businesses. By the end of 2014, there are over 56,000 companies reporting export information through AESDirect.


Electronic reporting became mandatory for all shipments that were previously required to be reported via paper documents.

Customer Service, Training and Outreach

The Census Bureau works closely with the international trade community providing:

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Source: Foreign Trade Division, AES Branch | askaes@census.gov |  Last Revised: February 08, 2024