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Five Quick Facts About ATA Carnets

On May 12, 2011, the U.S. Council for International Business announced that Mexico would begin accepting ATA Carnets, the so-called “merchandise passports” now accepted in eighty countries and customs territories. With the expansion of the system to the United States’ second largest export market and recent expansion of the system in Latin America, this is a good time for exporters to recall what benefits ATA Carnets do and do not provide.

  1. The ATA Carnet streamlines the process of bringing goods into a participating country for demonstration or as samples for a limited period. It eliminates duties and value-added taxes (VAT), simplifies customs procedures by allowing a temporary exporter to use a single document for all customs transactions and make arrangements in advance, allows for unlimited entries/departures for up to one year, eliminates the need to register the goods with U.S. Customs at the time of departure, and eliminates the need to file an Electronic Export Information form (formerly, the Shipper’s Export Declaration) except for those exports that require an export license.
     
  2. Carnets do not exempt the holders from obtaining any necessary licenses or permits. As a result, any goods that would be subject to an export license still require one. 
     
  3. The ATA Carnet can be used for most commercial samples, professional equipment, or goods for exhibitions and fairs. It cannot be used, however, for consumable or disposable goods (such as agricultural products or food), personal items, or giveaways. 
     
  4. Companies that need to take goods into a NAFTA country may not need to rely on the ATA Carnet system. NAFTA requires Canada, Mexico, and the United States to grant duty-free temporary admission to certain classes of goods imported from another NAFTA country. The goods need not originate from a NAFTA country to qualify for duty-free temporary admission.
     
  5. There are negative consequences that occur if goods shipped under an ATA Carnet are sold. A penalty may apply, and a claims handling fee charged by the USCIB may also apply. Companies are encouraged by the USCIB to contact local customs offices if a good is sold, so that proper procedures can be followed. Some countries control such sales tightly, and in addition, certain paperwork must be maintained and should be forwarded to the USCIB for proper documentation. For more information on these provisions, the list of countries accepting ATA Carnets, or other information, please see the website.
© 2022 Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume I, Number 157
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Harvey Jay Cohen, Domestic Foreign Transactions Attorney, Dinsmore Shohl law
Partner

Harvey Cohen is a long-standing, accomplished corporate attorney, uniquely focused on helping clients win by practically, pro-actively and efficiently assisting with their domestic and foreign transactions. With years of studies and dealings abroad, Harvey applies his global experience to address cross-border strategies and complex issues in tandem with client product or service needs, specific industry situations, as well as "must haves" and "must avoids" before crafting any solution or agreement. 

Harvey is known for asking the hard, practical...

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Jacob Manning, Business transactions lawyer, Dinsmore Shohl law firm
Partner

Jacob Manning advises businesses and individuals in a variety of business transactions, both domestic and cross-border. He drafts and reviews contracts, particularly those involving sales of goods, distributorships and licensing, and construction, vendor and service contracts on behalf of boards of education and other public entities. When clients are negotiating a contract, Jacob also provides advice about payment, including guarantees and letters of credit. Should a dispute arise, he represents clients both before US courts and in arbitration subject to international...

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Frank Schuckmann, Dinsmore Law, International Practice Group Lawyer
Of Counsel

Frank Schuckmann is a Partner in the Corporate Department and a member of the International Business Practice Group where he heads the German Desk for the firm. Frank represents domestic and international companies and individuals in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate, financing, securities and customs matters. He specializes in the representation of German companies in their activities in the U.S., as well as representing U.S. companies as they enter Europe.  Recently, he has represented numerous international joint ventures in the area of biotechnology, and particularly...

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Peter Draugelis, Business Corporate Matters, Legal professional, dinsmore lawyer
Partner

Peter Draugelis is a Partner in the Corporate Department. Peter's practice covers a broad spectrum of business and corporate matters, including mergers and acquisitions, finance, supply and distributorship agreements, and international business transactions. He advises clients from small entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies concerning forming new businesses, strategic partnering relationships, and general business issues that in-house counsel and executives face on a daily basis. 

513-977-8415
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