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What is a carnet?
Carnets are "Merchandise Passports”. They are international customs documents that simplify customs procedures for the temporary importation of various types of goods. In the U.S., two types are issued: ATA and TECRO/AIT Carnets.
ATA Carnets ease the temporary importation of commercial samples (CS), professional equipment (PE), and goods for exhibitions and fairs (EF). They 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.
TECRO/AIT Carnets, used between the U.S. and Taiwan only, appear similar to, and serve the same function as the ATA Carnet. TECRO/AIT Carnets result from a bilateral agreement between the US and Taiwan, covering only commercial samples (CS), and professional equipment (PE). Merchandise entering countries in addition to Taiwan may also be accompanied by an ATA Carnet.
Benefits of carnets
Carnets save time, effort, and money. They:
Merchandise covered by carnets
Virtually all goods can be covered by carnets. This includes commercial samples, professional equipment, and items for tradeshows and exhibitions, such as display booths. Ordinary goods covered under carnets include computers, tools, cameras and video equipment, industrial machinery, automobiles, jewelry and gems, and apparel/ clothing.
Extraordinary items covered by carnets would include, for example, Van Gogh self-portrait, Ringling Brothers tigers, Cessna jets, Paul McCartney’s band instruments, World Cup class yachts, satellites, human skulls, and the New York Philharmonic.
Carnets DO NOT cover: consumable or disposable goods (e.g., food and agriculture products) giveaways, or postal traffic.
Countries in capital letters represent members of the European Union.
Soon to be accepting carnets: Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Saudi Arabia.
Countries in blue are linked to a Carnet Country Advisory. In a case where more than one advisory applies to a country, the country will be linked to the most current advisory.
*Countries ending with an asterisk are part of the European Union (EU).
If goods are properly imported into one EU carnet country and re-exported from a second EU carnet country, the Carnet holder is unlikely to encounter any claims fees.
† Iran is accepting carnets however US restrictions do not allow a US-issued carnet for Iran.
†† Taiwan requires a separate carnet called a TECRO/AIT carnet.
As always, an ATA Carnet may be used as a Certificate of Registration (CBP CF4455) departing and returning to the U.S. regardless of whether the carnet will be used in a carnet or non-carnet country.