What is a Carnet?

The word “carnet” is familiar to all those in the shipping industry. A carnet is a permit used for the duty-free and tax-free temporary export and import of goods, and can be used for up to one year from the date of issuance.

When and why would you need to purchase a carnet? For example, when displaying samples to customers or potential customers outside of your home country, exhibiting at a trade fair or transporting equipment to provide a service, it is a simple and proven way to move business goods to foreign lands legally. In other words, the ATA carnet is the passport for those goods.

What does ATA mean?

ATA is a French and English acronym of “Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission.” The World Customs Organization (WCO) established it in 1961 to facilitate world trade. The ATA carnet is an internationally recognized customs document for the temporary importation of goods.

Accepted in many countries, the carnet simplifies customs procedures, reduces business costs and saves time and paperwork. A carnet covers virtually all goods, except for consumable or disposable items and goods for repair and/or processing. Entertainers, sports teams, the media, and service companies all frequently use carnets to travel with their professional equipment abroad.

ATA carnets are used to claim relief under temporary admission, from the customs charges normally due on importation for goods temporarily imported for use within a particular country or province. They can also be used to temporarily export goods for a temporary admission provided those countries accept ATA carnets for those goods and their intended use.

ATA carnets may be used for any of the following:

  • For goods being temporarily imported for use in countries which are signatories of the ATA Carnet Convention
  • For goods accompanied by the holder named on the carnet – or a representative of the holder who is named on the carnet
  • Provided that it is a physical multi-part document, not an electronic declaration, and
  • ATA carnet needs to be presented every time goods are exported/re-exported, imported/re-imported or transited through a country

What is a carnet? A necessary and vital ticket for moving your valuables for exhibition, shows, or other related business reasons.

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