Just like a passport allows citizens to leave and enter the United States from other countries, an ATA carnet lets merchandise be shipped temporarily to another country without having to deal with extensive customs procedures, pay duties and value added taxes (VAT) or obtain temporary import bonds. This is a godsend for tradeshow shipping, as import duties and taxes can be a sizable cost of exhibiting abroad. 

What Is an ATA Carnet?

Save on International Tradeshow Shipping Fees with an ATA Carnet

Technically speaking, “ATA” stands for a French/English fusion of “Admission Temporaire-Temporary Admission.” Carnet (pronounced “kar-nay”) is the French word for ticket or passage. First implemented in 1963, ATA carnets are administered by the World Customs Organization and the International Chamber of Commerce. Today, 74 signatory countries and dozens more territories around the world accept them. In Taiwan, a TECRO/AIT carnet is accepted for goods traveling between it and the U.S. only. New countries are periodically added to the ATA system, and Saudi Arabia will soon join the list.

As a tradeshow exhibitor, once you purchase an ATA carnet, you can temporarily import goods into these countries without paying import fees as long as you return the goods to the U.S. within 12 months. Note: goods classified for tradeshows use must be returned within 6 months. And as the carnet also serves as the U.S. Certificate of Registration of Goods during re-importation, you don’t need to pay U.S. duties and taxes on return.

How ATA Carnets Facilitate Tradeshow Shipping

The ATA carnet lets you ship commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for fairs and exhibitions without paying duties and taxes. Stands, booths, banners, audiovisual components, and more are fair game. There are exceptions, such as disposable and consumable items, which means things like printed product literature, food samples and branded giveaways can’t travel under the ATA carnet.

The bottom line is an ATA carnet saves your business time, hassle and money. They:

  • Can be used as many times as necessary during their 6-month validity period
  • Simplify customs procedures
  • Facilitate re-entry into the U.S. 

And, they’re relatively easy to obtain. You only need your EIN or taxpayer identification number, the names of your authorized representatives who are responsible for carnet documents, a list of countries the goods will pass through on their way to their destination, information about the modes of transportation, and a manifest of the goods.

Contact AMR Group for All of Your Tradeshow Shipping Needs

Since 2011, AMR Group has been a trusted international freight forwarder, handling tradeshow shipping to more than 60 countries, including Mexico, France, China, the UK, and Russia. We can arrange for ATA carnets for your tradeshow shipping and ensure your goods get to their final destination on time, every time! Contact us 702-800-6385 to learn more.