The Census Bureau is seeking public comments no later than Nov. 16 on the possible removal of the electronic export information filing requirement for shipments between the U.S. and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to Census, arguments have been made that this requirement imposes a burden on what should be treated as interstate commerce, discourages manufacturers in the 50 states from shipping to Puerto Rico, and impedes economic development on the island.

However, removal of the requirement could impact the quality and availability of key federal statistics. For example, Census notes, given the magnitude of Puerto Rico trade with U.S. states, estimates of Puerto Rico GDP would be significantly compromised without the trade data from these EEI filings. In addition, there is currently no other source of information or method for tracking trade flows of oil and other energy-related commodities between the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

As a result, Census is seeking public input on the possible impact of removing this filing requirement on statistics, data users, and businesses as well as any other possible impacts.

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