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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 ATA Carnet is jointly administered by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Chamber of Commerce through its World Chambers Federation. The acronym ATA is a combination of French and English terms "Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission."
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.
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.
The ATA Carnet System is currently in force in 85 countries and regions. Beside the 28 member states of the European Union and member states of the European Free Trade Association, 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.
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.
- Carnet Countries, Corporation for International Business