Jointly administered by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Chamber of Commerce through its World Chambers Federation, the ATA Carnet is an international customs document that permits the tax-free and duty-free temporary export and import of goods for up to one year. 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 or some of the goods listed on the Carnet results in the payment of applicable duties and taxes. 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 terms "Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission."
In 2012, over 175 000 Carnets were issued internationally for goods valued at over US$ 20 billion. In 2014, 178,150 Carnets were issued with a total value exceeding US$ 30.5 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 adopted; it combines in one single instrument the various conventions on the temporary admission of 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 85 countries and regions. Beside the 28 member states of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and member states of the European Free Trade Association (Norway, Switzerland), which already have a customs union, the ATA Carnet is in force in Albania, Algeria, Antarctica, Andorra, Aruba, Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Canada, Chile, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Lesotho, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tahiti, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.
In China, India and the United Arab Emirates, the use of Carnets is limited to fairs and exhibitions.
A system similar to the ATA Carnet System called Carnet de Passages en Douane (CPD) operates on the basis of bilateral agreements between Taiwan (under the name of 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.
- Carnet Countries, Corporation for International Business
- ATA Carnet World Chambers Federation
- ATA Carnet National Guaranteeing Association USA
- 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