The ATA Carnet is an international customs document that allows the holder to temporarily (up to one year) import goods without payment of normally applicable duties and taxes, including value-added taxes. The Carnet eliminates the need to purchase temporary import bonds. So long as the goods are re-exported within the allotted time frame, no duties or taxes are due. Failure to re-export all goods listed on the Carnet results in the need to pay the applicable duties. Failure to remit those duties results in a claim from the foreign customs service to the importer's home country.
The acronym ATA is a combination of French and English phrases "Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission."
According to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), in 2010, about 160 000 Carnets were issued internationally. They covered goods valued at over US$ 20 billion.
History and administration
In 1961 the World Customs Organization (WCO), then known as the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC), adopted the "Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for the Temporary Admission of Goods" (ATA Convention). More specific conventions for each type of applicable good were subsequently worked out and agreed on by the CCC. Today, WCO administers the international conventions. In 1990, the Istanbul Convention was concluded; it combines in one single instrument the various conventions on the temporary admission of specific goods. As of 2013, there are 63 parties to the ATA Convention and 64 parties to the Istanbul Convention.
ICC administers the international guarantee chain of national guaranteeing organizations. This chain provides reciprocal guarantees assuring member customs administrations that duties and taxes will be paid when claims arise.
Appointed by each participating member's government, the national guaranteeing organizations administer Carnets in their territories. All member national guaranteeing organizations are listed in ICC's ATA Carnet Website: www.atacarnets.org.
The ATA Carnet System is currently in force in the following 71 countries: Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium/Luxembourg, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China*, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South-Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America.
* (China) ATA Carnets are only valid for trade shows / exhibitions. Otherwise, they are not recognised by China Custom.
A system similar to the ATA Carnet System operates on the basis of bilateral agreements between Chinese Taipei and a certain number of ATA Carnets including the EU Member States, Australia, Canada, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States of America.
Carnets apply to three broad categories of merchandise: commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for use at exhibitions and fairs. With the exception of perishable or consumable items, the product range is nearly limitless. Carnets are regularly used to facilitate movement of everything from display booths to racing yachts.
Individuals or firms wishing to use a carnet to move goods in and out of foreign countries must submit an application and the necessary collateral to their home national guaranteeing organization.
The application, among other things, lists all countries of intended transit and all applicable goods with their assigned values. If the application is properly completed and submitted with the applicable fees the national guaranteeing organization will issue a carnet specifically tailored to that itinerary. The carnet document has two green cover pages denoting country of origin with instructions. Within the covers are counterfoils and vouchers for each country to be visited or transited. The vouchers act as receipts for entry and re-export in foreign countries and are kept by foreign customs officials. The counterfoils are stamped by the foreign customs services and act as the carnet holders receipt. Upon completion of travel or expiration of the carnet's 12-month active period, the holder must return all documents to their home national guaranteeing organization. A review is conducted. If all documents are in order and no claims are found to be forthcoming from one of the applicable foreign countries, the collateral can be returned. If a bond was used the national guaranteeing organization issues notice that the bond may be canceled. If the counterfoils, including the final one showing re-entry of all applicable goods back into the country of origin, are not in order, or if a foreign customs service notifies the national guaranteeing organization of a violation, the carnet holder is given notice to provide proper documentation or pay the applicable duties. If they do not, the collateral or bond are used to pay the claim. Claims that can not be amicably settled between the applicable NGAs may be referred to the ICC for Dispute Resolution Services.
- ATA Carnet World Chambers Federation
- ATA Carnet National Guaranteeing Association USA
- Roanoke Trade Services, ATA Carnet Service Provider to US Council for International Business
- Corporation for International Business, ATA Carnet Service Provider for the US Council for International Business
- London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry
- Thai Customs Department
- Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce
- Japan ATA Carnet System
- International Chamber of Commerce
- US Council for International Business