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Why Would One Choose to use an ATA Carnet Over the Other Options?

Last updated on May 20th, 2020

Choosing an ATA Carnet over the alternative options has a variety of benefits. Not only does it save time, but it is also simple to obtain, and is a cost-effective solution to exporting and re-importing items to various countries within the span of a year. An ATA Carnet is the only standardized international customs document that is accepted in more than 100 countries and territories in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.


Alternative options to an ATA Carnet don’t offer the same versatility. The temporary exports without an ATA Carnet will require proof that items are for business purposes and often need an additional guarantee such as a cash deposit or temporary import bond (TIB) as a form of financial security. Plus, these deposits must be made in the foreign currency and are returned in the foreign currency, and by tying up this money overseas, U.S. businesses are vulnerable to the negative effects of foreign currency fluctuation upon reimbursement. 


So, why would someone choose an ATA Carnet over the other options available? As the only standardized international customs document, an ATA Carnet offers the purchaser peace of mind. Plus, there are a variety of other unique benefits as well: 

  1. Obtaining a Carnet is quick and easy because it is done in advance in the U.S., using U.S. currency
  2. An ATA Carnet for temporary exports is usually the most cost effective option
  3. A Carnet is valid for 12 months and covers an unlimited amount of entries/exits within that one year period to multiple countries
  4. All goods, whether hand carried or cargo-shipped are covered by an ATA Carnet

An ATA Carnet is just one customs document for all transactions and covers unlimited exports and re-imports for 12 full months. There’s no need for a temporary import bond (TIB) or duty drawback, which both have to be done for every temporary entrance into a country. What this means is that the ATA Carnet covers the certificate of registration US CBP form 4455, the entry or financial posting into the foreign country, the exportation requirements from the foreign country, and the returning American goods or re-importation entry filing back into the United States. 


The cost of an ATA Carnet varies by the value of goods and method of shipment but is relatively inexpensive when compared to the other options. 


An ATA Carnet Basic Fee Structure:

General List ValueNew Fee
$1 - $9,999$235
$10,000 - $49,999$280
$50,000 - $149,999$340
$150,000 - $399,999$385
$400,000 - $999,999$435
Over $1,000,000$475


Ultimately, an ATA Carnet is the versatile option for professional, commercial or exhibition use. With the flexibility to visit more than 100 different countries using one single document for a full year, it’s the smart choice for businesses. 


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