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February 17, 2009 

Census Issues Amended Foreign Trade Letter Clarifying Shipments to International Waters

The Census Bureau's Foreign Trade Division has issued an amended version of its December 3, 2008 Foreign Trade Letter No. 3 explaining the requirement for filing Electronic Export Information (EEI) through the Automated Export System (AES) for shipments located in international waters, including offshore oil rigs and drilling platforms.

The revised version of FTR Letter No. 3 clarifies the scope of U.S. territory for AES filing purposes as follows:

U.S. territory includes the U.S. territorial sea, which extends 12 nautical miles measured from the baselines of the United States. A shipment made within the U.S. territorial sea would not be considered an “export.” The U.S. territory also includes the continental shelf, which, in some cases, extends more than 12 miles from the baseline. As such, shipments to vessels, platforms, or buoys attached permanently or temporarily to the U.S. continental shelf also would not generally be considered exports. The territory of foreign countries would also generally include the territorial seas and continental shelf of those countries.
Under this interpretation, any shipment to an offshore oil platform or vessel located outside U.S. territory involving commodities valued greater than $2,500 per Schedule B number would require the filing of Electronic Export Information.




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