A carnet or ATA Carnet is an international customs document issued by 70 countries that participate in the carnet program. It is presented when entering a Carnet country with merchandise or equipment that will be re-exported within 12 months.
Upon presentation, the Carnet permits the equipment or merchandise to clear customs without the payment of duties and taxes. Payment is not necessary because the Carnet guarantees that the merchandise or equipment will be re-exported within a year. The use of a Carnet is a way of temporarily importing into foreign countries without payment of duties and taxes. Carnets also serve as the US registration of goods so that the goods can re-enter the US without payment of duties and taxes.
There are two types of Carnets. The ATA Carnet is used to temporarily import commercial samples, professional equipment, and goods for exhibitions and fairs. 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. The TECRO/AIT Carnet is used between the U.S. and Taiwan only. It appears similar to and serves the same function as the ATA Carnet. TECRO/AIT Carnets result from a bilateral agreement between the US and Taiwan, covering only commercial samples and professional equipment. Merchandise entering countries in addition to Taiwan may also be accompanied by an ATA Carnet.
When goods are exported out of the US on a Carnet, the Electronic Export Information (EEI) is still required to be transmitted in the Automated Export System (AES) if the value exceeds $2500 per Schedule B/HTS code or under any type of export license. The Carnet is not a substitute for the AES transmission. At the time of export, the Carnet is taken Customs at the port of exit for a signature of the Customs official certifying the export of the goods. Upon importation of the cargo, the Carnet is presented to Customs again for signature of its return.
If the goods are foreign origin being imported into the US for a trade show or exhibition, upon the re-export of the cargo the Carnet is presented to Customs for a signature. The AES is still required to be transmitted if the value exceeds $2500 per Schedule B/HTS code or under a license. The USPPI in this case would be the broker who presented the Carnet to Customs upon importation.
Exporters can seek more information about this program via the website www.atacarnet.com.