Regulatory intelligence for US exporters

Census Expecting Progress on Routed Export Rule, Still Studying Country Origin Requirement

The Census Bureau is hoping to publish a notice seeking public comments on its long-awaited routed export control rule before the upcoming presidential election, a Commerce Department official said this week.

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“We’re really excited about it,” said the official, speaking on background March 27 under a policy for certain career personnel at the BIS annual conference. “I’m hoping we can get it out before the change of administration so we can get some comments.”

Census and the Bureau of Industry and Security restarted work in November on the rule, which is expected to include major changes to the process around assigning filing responsibilities to forwarders and to address information sharing among parties in routed export transactions (see 2312150006 and 2006020049).

Since then, the two agencies have been “meeting pretty regularly” and have the momentum to potentially publish the rule in the coming months, another Commerce official said. “Our goal is to get it out there for comments.”

The official said it’s been “so disappointing” Census hasn’t been able to publish it because “there’s been so much work” done on the rule, which involves aligning wording under Census’ Foreign Trade Regulations with the BIS Export Administration Regulations.

The officials also said Census is still studying whether it can move forward with a new country of origin reporting requirement in the Automated Export System that the agency proposed in 2021 (see 2309130002). Census received mostly opposing comments on that proposal, and while the agency has no immediate plans to implement the new requirement, one official said it's not "completely off the table."

The person said Census is bringing on a "civic digital fellow" -- a temporary employee hired by the agency to work on special projects -- to study whether Census can gather the country of origin data from information it already collects. It's also speaking with government statistical agencies in Canada and Europe to learn how they collect country of origin information.

"A lot of countries do actually collect this for the export. So the question is, how are they accounting for it? How are they getting this information?" the Commerce official said. "We're doing more and more of our own homework to ensure that we're not adding a burden or a requirement that really isn't necessary if we actually can look up that data [ourselves]."