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The ATA Carnet system is a prime example of how close cooperation between business and customs can facilitate and stimulate international trade.

ATA Carnets are used by holders/representatives as declaration forms and guarantee

 An ATA Carnet comprises of a front and back cover, vouchers and counterfoils.

  • The front and back cover contains detailed information on the carnet holder, the representative(s), the intended use, the issuer, the guarantor, the carnet number, the validity, and the general list of goods.
  • Vouchers, differentiated by colours and titles, are used by holders as declaration and guarantee. One voucher must be provided to the foreign customs officials when entering the country and another when leaving. This rule also applies when exiting and entering your own country. After declarations, vouchers are kept by customs authorities to monitor and regulate temporary import and export.
  • Counterfoils, differentiated by colours and titles, are prepared for customs officials to commit transactions performed at border offices. Counterfoils can be used as key evidence to discharge claims should customs claim exempted duties and taxes at a later stage.

Import duties and taxes temporarily exempted by the use of ATA Carnets are guaranteed by national guaranteeing associations (NGAs)

In each customs territory, there is only one NGA; however, there can be multiple issuing associations (IAs) under the NGA’s scope to issue and deliver Carnets to local businesses.

NGAs are appointed by customs authorities. Before implementation, all NGAs must join an international guaranteeing chain (a risk management scheme administered by an international organisation).

The guaranteeing chain provides reciprocal guarantees, assuring customs administrations that in case of misuse of Carnets from any members of the chain, that duties and taxes incurred will be paid.

If misused, the customs authority is authorised to claim import duties and taxes against the NGA in its own country within one year upon the expiration of ATA Carnet. The NGA will then coordinate with the foreign NGA to submit evidence and seek reimbursement of duties and taxes already paid.

NGAs’ liability is up to 110% of the amount of the import duties and taxes.

  • The World Customs Organization (WCO) monitors the international conventions that govern ATA Carnets and the temporary admission scheme.
  • The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), through its special body, the World Chambers Federation (WCF), administers the international guarantee chain. It further established a World ATA Carnet Council as the meeting and administrative platform for all NGAs around the world.


ATA Carnet System