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Exports Between the United States and Puerto Rico: When to File Electronic Export Information

July 21, 2020
Written by: Edgard Almodóvar-Cotto, Economic Management Division, Trade Data Collection Branch, and Jessica Mangubat, Economic Management Division, Trade Regulations Branch
Component ID: #ti406967133

This is the second in a series of three blogs about U.S.-Puerto Rico shipping regulations.

Welcome to the second of our three-part blog series on export shipments that involve Puerto Rico. In the first of this series, we explain why the rules differ for U.S. states and Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. In this installment, we explore what happens when import/export routes include the mainland United States, Puerto Rico and a foreign country – and whether you need to file Electronic Export Information (EEI) when the journey begins or ends abroad. Here are some potential scenarios to help you navigate this EEI landscape.

Shipments From Puerto Rico to Mainland U.S. – and Beyond

Here are a few of the many potential scenarios in this arena.

What happens when a company in the mainland United States buys a product from a Puerto Rican company and sells it abroad?

Let’s imagine  a Miami-based company called Kangaroo Kokonut purchases coconuts from the Captain Loco Coconuts Company in Puerto Rico. Captain Loco sends the products by air to Miami, where –Kangaroo Kokonut receives, processes, and ships them to its customer in Spain.

Is EEI required?

In this case, two EEI filings are required:

  • One listing Captain Loco as the U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI), Kangaroo Kokonut as the Ultimate Consignee and the port of export located in Puerto Rico.
  • Another for the export from Kangaroo Kokonut to the final destination (Spain) listing Kangaroo Kokonut as the USPPI and the port of export located in the United States.

What happens when a foreign company buys a product from a Puerto Rican company, which sends it to a company in the U.S. mainland to ship abroad?

That is, say a foreign company located in Spain buys coconuts directly from Puerto Rico’s Captain Loco, and asks Captain Loco to ship them to a company like Kangaroo Kokonut in the United States. Captain Loco sends them by air to Miami, where Kangaroo Kokonut processes them before sending them on their way to Spain.

Is EEI required?

In this case, two EEI filings are required - one representing the trip from Puerto Rico to Florida, and the other movement from the U.S. to the foreign destination.

How should you handle shipments from a Puerto Rican company to a foreign destination that transit through the U.S.?

Modifying the previous scenario: Captain Loco Coconuts Company sells coconuts to a company in Spain. This time, Spain is the intended destination but the products’ travels take them through the U.S. via Miami International Airport. In this case, you need to file one EEI with Captain Loco as the USPPI. And what is the port of export?

  • If the goods are not unloaded in Miami, the Puerto Rican port remains the port of export
  • If the goods change conveyances (even if the aircraft or vessel belongs to the same carrier) in Miami, then Miami becomes the new port of export.

For more info, read our blog post about ports of export. In addition, make sure to revise the EEI so it complies with Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR).

What about shipments from a Puerto Rican company to Canada, transiting through the U.S.?

You do not need to file EEI if goods originate in Puerto Rico and travel to Canada through the United States if the shipment qualifies for the exemption outlined in Section 30.36 of the FTR. In this case, you must annotate the commercial loading documents with NOEEI 30.36. This is only valid as long as the transit is not interrupted (i.e., taken in by a U.S. company, etc.). However, changes in the method of transportation do not affect whether this exemption applies.

How should you handle shipments from a U.S. company to a foreign destination that transit through Puerto Rico?

The same guidance applies as in the scenario describing shipments from Puerto Rico to foreign destinations via the U.S. but revising the roles involved. Again, make sure that the EEI reflects the correct FTR roles and information (such as the correct USPPI, port of export, etc.).

Have additional questions or need immediate assistance? Get in touch with us at <emd.askregs@census.gov> or 1-800-549-0595 (choose option 3).

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