Communicate with Customs Using AES in SAP GRC Global Trade Services

  • by Rajen Iyer, Cofounder and CTO, Krypt, Inc.
  • May 15, 2008
Set up SAP Global Trade Services Customs Management to take advantage of Automated Export System communication with US Customs and Border Protection.
Key Concept

US Customs and Border Protection uses Automated Export System (AES), which collects and retains electronic Shipper’s Export Declaration records. AES provides a standardized, efficient, real-time information exchange between customs authorities and economic participants. It features enhanced flexibility regarding legal and organizational changes and accelerates purchasing, production, and sales processes. You can find out more information about AES at

Customs Management in SAP GRC Global Trade Services (formerly SAP GTS) is an SAP module that you can use to standardize electronic communication processes, including customs declarations. Electronic communication in Customs Management takes place by printing messages or creating Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) messages. You can connect GRC Global Trade Services to customs authorities worldwide to manage foreign trade activities. It can communicate and set up electronic customs processes with various European, US, and Australian customs authorities. It can also address different filing formats, data transmission requirements, and other features. As an example, I’ll focus on the process used in the US between the exporter and customs. There might be differences for other countries in terms of data mapping or the information required by different customs authorities, and possibly additional process steps within the system. Fundamentally, these steps should be applicable to other countries’ customs management communication configuration setup.

In Customs Management, you have two options. You can have a printed form or electronic communication. With a printed form, you have the option to print, mail, or fax it. With electronic communication, the system converts the data into an Intermediate Document (IDoc) and sends the IDoc output file (i.e., text) to a middleware. The middleware acts as a translator to convert the IDoc file into the format in which the receiving system expects it.

In the US, communication to customs authorities is possible online using Automated Export System (AES). AES is a standardized electronic export procedure from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). AES helps companies manage their exports and connect with customs. It is mandatory for shipments of merchandise identified in the Commerce Control List (CCL) of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or the United States Munitions List (USML) of the Internal Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) to declare them to US customs authorities. For more information on the options you have for filing with AES, see the sidebar, “Electronic Filing Options with AES.”

I’ll show you how to configure Customs Management in your system to address AES in a way that isn’t documented elsewhere. After you’ve configured Customs Management, I’ll show you some post-processing tasks and settings that you need to address.

Rajen Iyer

Rajen Iyer is the cofounder and CTO at Krypt, Inc. Rajen has written several in-depth, best practice articles, white papers, patents, and best-selling books on SAP Logistics and SAP Global Trade Services, including Effective SAP SD and Implementing SAP BusinessObjects Global Trade Services. He is also an invited speaker at industry conferences.

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