Foreign Trade Regulations Eliminate Social Security Number as ID Number in AES

On August 5, 2009, the United States Census Bureau issued an interim final rule with request for comment in the Federal Register amending the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) to eliminate the requirement to report a Social Security Number (SSN) as an identification number when registering to file and filing electronic export information in the Automated Export System (AES) or AES Direct.  This new rule will ensure that a USPPI's or U.S. authorized agent's SSN is protected in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, Title 5, United States Code, Section 552a. 

Under the current regulations, the U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) or U.S. authorized agent residing or having an office located in the United States is required to enter (1) SSN, (2) Dun and Bradstreet Number (DUNS) or (3) an Employer Identification Number (EIN), when reporting export transactions in the AES or AESDirect.  
  (1) An SSN is used as an identification number principally by individual filers 
  (2) DUNS are available only to business entities, and 
  (3) EINs are available to both businesses and individuals. 

Under the interim final rule, if the USPPI or the U.S. authorized agent who resides or has an office located in the United States does not have an EIN, that USPPI, or U.S. authorized agent must obtain an EIN through the Internal Revenue Service's website, or by calling (800) 829-4933. Former SSN filers who are business entities and want to use a DUNS rather than an EIN for identification purposes, must first obtain an EIN from the IRS and apply to Dun & Bradstreet for a DUNS. 

The new rule is effective on September 4, 2009 and the Census Bureau will implement its provisions on December 3, 2009.  Comments on the interim rule should be submitted in writing to the address shown below on or before October 5, 2009 to be considered in the formation of the final rule.

You may submit your comments to: William G. Bostic, Jr., Chief, Foreign Trade Division, U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Room 6K032, Washington, DC 20233-6700; by telephone at (301) 763-2255; by fax at (301) 763-6638; or by e-mail: