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October 14, 2008 

Census Issues Second Foreign Trade Letter Prohibiting Reuse of Shipment Reference Numbers

The Census Bureau's Foreign Trade Division has issued its second "ForeignTrade Letter" to provide guidance on issues associated with the new Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR).

FTR Letter No. 2 covers "shipment reference numbers", which according to section 30.6(a)(19) of the FTR is a "unique identification number assigned to the shipment by the filer for reference purposes." The FTR specifies that this number must remain unique for five years.

The FTR letter notes that some AES filers have attempted to reuse the shipment reference numbers following the five year period but that Census has determined that AES was not configured to allow shipment reference numbers to be reused and that the capability cannot be added without a complete redesign of AES. As a result, Census is prohibiting the reuse of shipment reference numbers. Effective immediately filers can no longer assign the same shipment reference number to future shipments.

FTR Letter No. 2 can be found here (pdf).

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