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Exports Between the United States and Puerto Rico – When to File Electronic Export Information (Part 1)

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First in a series of blogs about U.S.-Puerto Rico Shipping Regulations

This is the first of a three-part blog series designed to explain export regulations between the United States and Puerto Rico. In the first of this series, we tackle the question of why the rules of the game differ for the states and Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. 

Perhaps the best place to start is by reviewing U.S. export filing rules. These are generally straightforward, requiring shippers to track products’ travels from origin to destination. Things get a little trickier when exports meet the definition of “shipment” in Section 30.1 of the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR), triggering a requirement to file Electronic Export Information (EEI) in the Automated Export System (AES).

FTR defines “shipment” as, “All goods being sent from one U.S. Principal Party in Interest [USPPI] to one consignee located in a single country of destination on a single conveyance and on the same day.” It applies to shipments abroad and to/from the extended United States, which includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, that meet the mandatory FTR filing requirement or when goods are valued over $2,500 per Schedule B/HS code.

The bottom line: You do not have to file EEI when sending products state to state but you do when shipping from the United States to Puerto Rico — and vice versa. Puerto Rico’s territorial status does provide some privileges, though, such as EEI exemptions in some cases.

The figure below shows export shipments that, as of publication, require shippers to file EEI in the AES. 

As a reminder, the extended United States are the territories enclosed in the light-red bubble (the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

To explain, EEI filings are required for the following transactions, shown as solid arrows in the figure:

United States

Puerto Rico

United States

U.S. Virgin Islands

United States

Foreign Country

Puerto Rico

U.S. Virgin Islands

Puerto Rico

Foreign Country

U.S. Virgin Islands

Foreign Country

Many shipments from the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Canada are EEI-exempt unless FTR states otherwise, as indicated by the dashed arrow in the figure stretching between the United States and extended United States to our neighbor to the north.

You will notice that for Pacific and other U.S. territories, shipments to them and originating from them are excluded from the EEI filing requirements (FTR 30.2(d)(2)). However, shipments originating from the extended United States transiting through these territories to foreign destinations require filing.

The following is the list of Pacific and other U.S. territories as shown in the figure:

  • American Samoa
  • Baker Island
  • Guam
  • Howland Island
  • Jarvis Island
  • Johnston Atoll

  • Kingman Reef
  • Midway Islands
  • Navassa Island
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palmyra Atoll
  • Wake Island

Why is EEI required for shipments between the United States and Puerto Rico?

There is a statistical need for these data. The Census Bureau’s Economic Directorate collects and processes data on shipments between the United States and Puerto Rico through the AES. Shippers use these data to gauge Puerto Rico’s trade economy and goods produced there. The information is also used to help compile Puerto Rico’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP is one of the most anticipated economic indicators and the primary measure of the nation's economy.

This information is also available for use by the Puerto Rican government and its citizens through Census Bureau programs. For example, the Puerto Rico Planning Board publishes statistical reports based on Census Bureau EEI data.

Despite EEI requirements, the Census Bureau and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) classify U.S.-Puerto Rico shipments as domestic. This has a few implications, for example CBP’s treatment of these shipments as well as their exclusion from foreign trade publications (FT-900).

Finally, filing EEI generates an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) that must be on commercial loading documents so that CBP can verify a shipment was filed in the AES.

Be sure to come back for our next blog in this series in which we cover special situations where EEI may or may not be required, and how to handle shipments that involve the United States, Puerto Rico and a foreign country.

Have questions or need immediate assistance? Contact us at <emd.askregs@census.gov> or 1-800-549-0595, option 3. 

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Page Last Revised - March 21, 2023
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