A Shippers Export Declaration is used for two purposes. First, it serves as a census record of U.S. exports. Many reports are generated by the government using these statistics. Second, because the commodity's export license designation appears on the form, the SED serves as a regulatory document. The SED is required for shipments when the commodity's value exceeds more than $2500 per Schedule B number and for postal shipments if the value is at least $500 U.S.dollars. SEDs must also be prepared, regardless of value, for all shipments requiring an export license or for shipments to embargoed countries. This form can be filled out by either you or your freight forwarder (if power of attorney has been recognized). The SED does not leave the United States and does not travel along with the other export documents through the banking channels on the letter of credit or other transactions. Instead the Shippers Export Declaration is delivered to the exporting carrier (airline or vessel line) and then presented to the U.S. Customs Service at the port of export.
A revised SED is provided at http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/www/index.html. It is very important to follow the "correct way to fill out the SED" and the "proper printing instructions" that are provided on this website.
The Automated Export System (AES) is the electronic way to file the Shipper's Export Declaration (SED) and the ocean manifest information directly to U.S. Customs. Please view http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/aes/index.html for the AES main page that provides information about the system, how to register, and frequently asked questions.