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What is required for me to ship charity goods to Japan?

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On Friday, March 11, 2011, a major earthquake struck northern Japan, devastating the area and triggering a tsunami. Many U.S. residents and organizations are generously donating food, water, medicines, and other supplies to aid in the relief efforts. In order to facilitate the movements of these goods, we offer the following guidance that applies to any goods not requiring a license, such as food, clothing, and medicines.

There are four Schedule B numbers that can be used when exporting humanitarian goods. Those numbers are found in Chapter 98 of the Schedule B book, under subheading 9802.

Schedule B Numbers

9802.10.0000 Food products

9802.20.0000 Medicinal and pharmaceutical products

9802.30.0000 Wearing apparel (including footwear and headwear)

9802.40.0000 Donated articles, not elsewhere specified

Any shipment valued over $2,500 per Schedule B number or that requires a license must be filed in the AES. However, if the shipment is valued less than $2,500 per Schedule B number and does not require a license, then the low value exemption (NOEEI FTR 30.37(a)) can be used. In this case, food, clothing, and medicines do not require a license; however, medical equipment and tools may require an export license.

The Export Information Code to be reported is “CH” for shipments of goods donated for relief or charity. The value to be reported is the market value. If that value is not known, estimate how much you would receive if you sold the goods. The value should be consistent with the goods being exported, to avoid confusion and possible delays with U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers at the port of export.

There are different ways to file your export information. The most common is to report through the Census Bureau’s free Internet based filing system called AESDirect. We have provided training videos to help you get started with AESDirect. Another option is to file with a forwarder or agent who may be more familiar with export licensing and regulations.

With so many individuals and first time exporters shipping donated goods to Japan, the exporting process may seem overwhelming. However, we at the Census Bureau are available to help make the process as smooth as possible.

If you need more information, we are available at 800-549-0595. Select menu Option 1 for help with the AES, Option 2 for Classifications, and Option 3 for Regulations. You can also send us an email at askaes@census.gov or askregs@census.gov.

Please continue to support those during times of tragedy. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

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