What is an ATA Carnet?
If your company is going to exhibit at a fair or convention, we advise you to investigate if you are eligible for an ATA Carnet. An ATA Carnet is a document through which a company can temporarily export merchandise, without having to pay national or foreign customs duties. It became available in 1961 with the signing of the ATA customs treaty for the admission of temporary merchandise, and the Istanbul Convention of 1990.
The ATA Carnet is especially indicated for companies that export non-perishable products temporarily for fairs, exhibitions, or to offer professional material or commercial samples. Among its advantages, apart from making such goods exempt from customs charges, it also frees the business from paying other taxes, such as VAT, both on the way out and upon return. It can be applied as a kind of merchandise passport, allowing the merchandise to be transported to multiple countries with this single document. It is recognized worldwide (although in some countries it has another name, such as CPD in Taiwan.)
To request an ATA Carnet, you will need to either go to or communicate via email with your local Chamber of Commerce. must go, or communicate via email. It can also be requested online: for example, on this page of the Madrid Chamber of Commerce. The ATA Carnet is valid for one year. You will need to ensure that the countries you intend to visit with the merchandise during the covered commercial trip are signatories of the ATA Treaty of 1961: Germany, Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Canada, Ivory Coast, People’s Republic of China, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, United States of America, Slovenia, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Republic of Korea, Slovak Rep., Rep. Of South Africa, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Jersey, Guernsey Bay, Isle of Man, Puerto Rico, Guam, Tasmania, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana, Reunion, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia, San Pierre and Miguelon, Mayotte.
When requesting an ATA Carnet in a Chamber of Commerce, you will also need to pay reserve fees on the exported material. These fees vary in their percentage from one country to another (and in some cases no fees are applied), so it is advisable to inquire at the consular offices of the countries you intend to visit to confirm the amount and make a rapid calculation of expenses.
Some Chambers of Commerce, such as the one in Madrid, offer an alternative to the payment of this reserve fee – instead, you can take out an insurance policy with the Chamber of Commerce itself. This link offers more information about the benefits of this insurance.
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