About us

The American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI)—the premier organization representing the community of U.S. trade professionals and companies engaged in global trade.

For more than 100 years, the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) has represented the unique interests of those within the global trade industry. Initially established to protect and advocate for U.S.-based exporters and importers looking to improve international trade and global supply chains, today the organization represents the entirety of this community—continuing its original mandate to make trade “secure, efficient, and open.”

AAEI members belong to an increasingly global community of trade compliance professionals, tasked with ensuring compliance with U.S. and international laws governing the import and export of goods, commodities, and services, as well as compliance within their own organizations. AAEI is dedicated to amplifying the voices of its membership, advocating side-by-side with those doing the work to influence legislation and regulations affecting the day-to-day of major industry importers and exporters, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and providers of trade services.
AAEI supports companies engaged in international trade, supply chain security, export controls, non-tariff barriers, import safety, and more. Members are therefore part of a diverse network, including compliance and trade industry thought leaders, and gain access to a wide range of resources, networking, and educational opportunities. Coming together to navigate trade-related challenges by sharing best practices, offering practical solutions, and presenting before the governing bodies regulating global trade and custom activities is how AAEI continues its long history of making global trade happen.

Connecting through Advocacy, Education, and Networking


Advocating for free and fair trade, members of the association act as a sounding board for industries and companies involved in global trade—testing the validity and likely success of emerging trade policy and technology, as well as sharing related best practices. Engage with a community of thought leaders, policy makers, and change agents from multiple industries, and add your voice to an organization steeped in history with an eye to the future.

Education & Networking

Engagement happens when we come together. AAEI provides ongoing educational and professional development via in-person and virtual events, as well as through the opportunity to join substantive committees. Leveraging relationships built over a long history with partner organizations like the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) and governmental agencies, AAEI is smartly positioned to bring together its diverse membership to discuss evolving trade policy and best practices.

Through conferences like the Annual Expo, webinars, Benchmarking Roadshows, and seminars, the association informs and facilitates connections between industry peers, service providers, and government representatives.

Our Legacy

A History of Making Global Trade Happen

In 1921, U.S. President Warren Harding facilitated an industry-changing meeting in a New York city hotel room. President Harding brought together U.S. exporting and importing professionals looking to grow their companies globally, and to discuss the issues of the day affecting international trade and supply chains. The trade compliance thought leaders in attendance — from salespeople to businessowners and lawyers — committed to educating and advocating for traditional export and import professionals, and eventually the service providers who support them. That day, they formed the “National Council of American Importers and Traders,” later to become the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI). The following year, the premiere association for international trade professionals held its first Annual Meeting at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, and AAEI has continued the tradition, and the mandate to “make trade secure, efficient, and open,” every year since.
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