Originally walking slowly towards the customs authority, Ray suddenly quickened his pace.

The reason behind his change of gait was a welcome thought.  “That’s right, I don’t have to pay duty fees!”

Acting almost like a “merchandise passport,” ATA carnets aren’t necessarily mainstream knowledge.  

We aim to change that in the following article.  By the end, expect to know much more about this vital asset to international trade.

What Is a Carnet and What Are Its Uses?

An international customs document, the ATA carnet has been adopted by various exporters.  

But, it has 3 main users:

  1. Solopreneurs
  2. Small businesses
  3. Medium-sized businesses

The carnet document promises that participating countries won’t be responsible for certain customs charges.   

Uses for Your Original Carnet

With it in tow, they can avoid paying duties and taxes on a temporary import or export.  These commercial samples can then be distributed to foreign countries.  

Other ways entrepreneurs use them:

  • Displaying products at a trade show
  • General promotion of services and goods

Overall, this “passport of goods” is extremely important for aspiring business owners.  

As you start to consider its value, we’ll cover the main players overseeing ATA carnets next.

How Do You Get a Carnet and What Are the Requirements?

A domestic guaranteeing association can issue carnets to its citizens for use in foreign markets after approval is received from:

  1. Their government
  2. World Chambers Federation (WCF)

The WCF works closely with the World Customs Organization (WCO) to allow the ATA carnet system to work easily across participating countries.

Additionally, they encourage world trade through other collaboration projects like certificates of origin.

Who Is Responsible for the U.S. Carnet System?

For Americans, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) is responsible for this task.  Founded in 1945, they’ve always promoted a “markets and trade mentality.”

USCIB was selected by the Treasury Department in 1969 to oversee U.S. activity after the ATA convention created this document 8 years earlier.

They deal with territories worldwide to better understand the needs and requirements of each sovereign nation.

ATA carnets issued by our official government organization in turn boosts international business.  

And now we’ll address a few perks for those who go through this paperwork process.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Carnet for Business Travelers and Tourists Alike?

The ATA carnet system simplifies customs procedures to make travel a bit smoother for them both. 

Because COVID has added more regulations to air travel, saving time in one area is usually most welcome.  After all, every human being loves skipping lines!

Making It Easier To Import Goods

Benefits to tourists and business professionals:

  • As they travel through multiple countries for up to one year, a single document streamlines entry and exit
  • It negates the need for time-consuming dealings with various customs authorities during temporary admission of goods

Think how many airports global business travelers must go through to reach their final destination.  Now, imagine their joy when one piece of paper facilitates each entry and exit.

It’s also helpful for tourists vacationing in Europe, because the proximity of other countries means extra dealings with foreign customs.

Long, international travel can leave anyone with a single thought.  Okay, maybe two.  A shower once they reach the hotel and blissful sleep.

After the carnet is shown to an official at the airport, both are that much closer to fruition.  

Because you now want one, it’s time to give you directions on how to accomplish that.

How Much Does a Carnet Cost and Where Can You Buy One?

More affordable than a Temporary Importation Bond, an ATA carnet has a normal processing time of 24-48 hours.

  • Depending on the value of your shipment, you can expect fees ranging from $235-$475

This disparity in rates is due to the wide array of items you can list.  A couple of examples are industrial machinery and computers.

Obviously, the shipping process involved with large contraptions is more involved than a simple data processing machine.

National Guaranteeing Companies

Contact service providers Roanoke ATA Carnet or Boomerang Carnets to purchase one.  Each national guaranteeing association will explain more about their payment terms.

Ensure you’re following their particular guidelines in terms of any security deposit on the items.

Please note that to extend the 12-month limit, you can apply for a replacement carnet.  If accepted, you’ll gain another year on the unlimited temporary importation of approved goods.

Limiting import duties provides extra satisfaction for globetrotting tourists and professionals.

Yahoo!  You now have the carnet in your possession, but read on for good information to remember.

What Are the Most Common Mistakes People Make When Using Carnets?

There are various errors that a carnet holder may unintentionally stumble into.  But instead of covering every single one, we want to address 2 common mistakes:

  1. Missing the fact that it’s only good for up to one year
  2. Assuming ATA carnets work in travel to every foreign country

Now, let’s zoom in a bit more.

Details on Issues ATA Carnets Experience

When you purchase it, 365 days seems like a long way off.  That is, until you get busy providing for your family, growing your business, and general “adulting.”  

Add a calendar reminder in your phone, computer, and fridge if necessary to avoid forgetting the expiration date.

What if you miss it?

If the United States issued the expired carnet, they wouldn’t seek customs duties.  But another nation may assign fees if it lapsed before the U.S. temporary export left their country.

Currently recognized in 80 countries, carnets aren’t universal.  Especially when you realize there are 195 nations across the globe!

The ATA carnet system has new countries added periodically.  But it’s always wise to call before making plans to see if your destination is one of them.

Lastly, we’ll wrap up this journey with special considerations.

Are There Any Other Documents That May Be Required When Traveling With Goods Into or Out of Certain Countries?

Yes, on the USCIB website it mentions an import or export license is also needed.  Typically free, they can be requested from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

Talking about paperwork, we want to highlight something else.  Your U.S. issued original carnet doubles as the custom control registration document if presented during re-importation to the United States.

Isn’t it nice to have one less customs form to worry about?

Avoiding Foreign Customs

Two types of carnets cover temporary imports such as commercial samples and professional equipment.  We already discussed ATA carnets, but there’s another required when traveling to and from Taiwan.

Serving the same purpose, TECRO/AIT carnets were crafted from a mutual agreement between the nations.

Hopefully we’ve answered many of your questions around these documents for world trade.  But should you have more specific inquiries, we’re always available!

Are There Any Other Documents That May Be Required When Traveling With Goods Into or Out of Certain Countries?

As experts with international trade law, we can help you handle the legal aspects of any ATA carnet issues.

Our international trade law division also supports:

  • Import Compliance
  • Export Compliance
  • Litigation before the Court of International Trade (Section 337, anti-dumping/countervailing, and other trade related cases)
  • Trade Compliance Audits and Training

Call Reidel Law Firm today at (832)510-3292 or fill out our form to see how we can help your temporary importation or exportation of goods.

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