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Another Tool for Exporters: ATA Carnets

ATA Carnet in DSM USA

January 27, 2020

The Greater Des Moines Partnership, through our Global DSM: Trade and Investment Strategy, is committed to helping DSM-based companies explore and expand export markets. One often overlooked tool is the ATA Carnet.

I currently serve as the U.S. representative on the International Chamber of Commerce World Chamber Federation (ICC WCF) General Council. In every country in the ATA Carnet chain, a guaranteeing organization — approved by its respective customs and the ICC WCF — administers the operation of the ATA Carnet System. In the U.S., the United States Council on International Business (USCIB) serves in that capacity.

ATA is an acronym of the French and English words Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission. ATA Carnets are also commonly referred to as Passports for Goods or Merchandise Passports.

ATA Carnet Benefits

ATA Carnets are international customs documents that simplify customs procedures by permitting the duty-free and tax-free temporary export and import of various types goods for up to one year. Carnets are the easiest way to speed through customs and to save money. They ease the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for exhibitions and fairs. ATA Carnets facilitate international business by avoiding extensive customs procedures, eliminating payment of duties and value-added taxes (minimum 20% in Europe, 27% in China) and replacing the purchase of temporary import bonds.

Other benefits of ATA Carnets include: saving time, effort and money; one document, one application; good for one year; accepted in 80 counties and territories; covers commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for exhibitions and fairs; eliminates duties, taxes and temporary importation bonds (TIBs); payment in U.S. Dollars; paperwork in English; easy exit, easy re-entry; no uncertainty, no hassles.

Virtually all goods, including commercial samples, professional equipment and items for tradeshows and exhibitions, including display booths, are covered by ATA Carnets. This includes ordinary goods such as computers, tools, cameras and video equipment, industrial machinery, automobiles, gems and jewelry and wearing apparel. It can also include a wide variety of extraordinary items, including airplanes, yachts, paintings, show animals, instruments, satellites and many other examples. However, ATA Carnets do NOT cover the following: consumable or disposable goods such as food and agriculture products, giveaways, postal traffic or goods subject to repair.

The ATA Carnet Application Process

There are three basic components to the ATA Carnet application process: 1. General list; 2. Carnet application and 3. Security deposit. The USCIB is the U.S. guaranteeing association and partners with service providers who issue the ATA Carnets. Basic processing fees are determined by the value of a shipment. Fees typically range from $225-$380 and the normal processing time is between one and two working days.

For more information on ATA Carnets and for a list of service providers, go to uscib.org. For additional guidance and assistance, contact Ryan Carroll at The Partnership at rcarroll@DSMpartnership.com or (515) 286-4998. 

Through the Global DSM initiative, the Greater Des Moines Partnership works to establish Greater Des Moines (DSM) as a global community by bolstering global trade and foreign investments and leveraging international talent.

Jay Byers

Jay Byers is the CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Iowa Chamber Alliance, on the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Executive Board, Board of Directors and Community Growth Education Foundation, the General Council of the World Chambers Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100.