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Learn About / ATA Carnet – What If?

What does a ATA carnet not cover?

Merchandise that does not fall into the three approved categories of commercial samples, professional equipment, or advertising material are not eligible for importation into the U.S. by carnet. In addition, merchandise within those three categories intended for sale or sale on approval cannot be entered on a carnet – it must be entered as a regular Customs entry.

What happens if the goods are not exported?

If the holder of an ATA carnet sells, donates or otherwise disposes of any of the goods listed on the carnet, the issuing organization will be required to pay liquidated damages equal to 100 percent of the import duties and taxes. That organization in turn will attempt to collect these moneys from the holder of the carnet who violated the terms. In some cases, the country where the violation occurred will hold both the organization that issued the carnet and the importer equally responsible. The importer is liable to his/her issuing association (and, in some cases, to the Customs authorities of the country where this transpired) for all duties and/or taxes and other sums which would normally be charged on the importation of such goods, as well as the amount charged as liquidated damages. If the U.S. Customs Service finds that there was fraud involved in the importation, additional penalties may be assessed.

What happens when goods covered by a U.S.-issued ATA carnet are reimported into the U.S.?

If goods covered by a U.S.-issued carnet are brought back into the United States within the validity period of the carnet, the carnet serves as the Customs control registration document and must be presented on re-importation. Whether the re-imported goods are subject to duty depends on exemption in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule and not on their status as carnet goods. See 19 CFR 141.4 for goods that are exempted from entry documentation requirements and 19 CFR 141.2 for goods exempted from duty on re-importation.

What if the ATA carnet has expired?

If the expiring ATA carnet is a U.S.-issued carnet there will be no penalties or duties assessed by the United States, however, there may be penalties assessed by a foreign government if the carnet expired before the U.S. merchandise was exported from that country.

If the carnet is foreign-issued then liquidated damages will be assessed by the U.S. Customs Service due to the carnet expiring before the merchandise could be exported out of the United States.