ATA Carnet, Industry Insights

ATA Carnets – A Revenue Boost for Logistics Professionals

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How can ATA Carnets boost your revenue?

As international travel opens back up across the world, it brings opportunities for business growth to the trade and logistics industry. When you add a complete ATA Carnet solution to your suite of services, you will help develop, grow, and retain clients. The ATA Carnet is a proven added value service that benefits many different types of clients. Prevent customs hassles, ease customs clearances, and save your clients money by providing ATA Carnet document preparation. You are providing an important service, and you can make additional income from the document preparation. That’s added revenue for you, and it helps to round out your offering and make you a one-stop shop for your customer.

What is an ATA Carnet?

It is a passport for cargo. It’s that simple. Just like a personal passport for an individual, the ATA Carnet  covers cargo. The items on an ATA Carnet can be shipped or hand-carried, and you as the logistics provider can offer your clients the ATA Carnet service whether they ship the goods or they hand carry them. This keeps you involved throughout the entire lifecycle of your customer’s international business. In some cases, you can even meet them at the airport to help them with the ATA Carnet clearance when they’re exiting or reentering the United States and have your agents overseas greet them at the airport of arrival.

What does the ATA Carnet do?

It allows temporary entry of items, duty-free and tax-free, whether shipped or hand-carried.

Duty-free and  tax-free is very important to note, as every free trade agreement that the United States is currently signatory to  is only a duty-free agreement. None of them are tax-free. Most of our largest trading partners with whom we have these free trade agreements impose high import taxes. The ATA Carnet fixes this for your  clients, as goods entered for temporary import go in not only duty-free, but tax-free as well.

Why is ATA Carnet good for your clients?

  • Arrangements are made in advance in American English and US dollars
  • Eliminates posting of a financial guarantee in the foreign country in the foreign currency.
  • Eliminates having to post duties and taxes. If we look at three of our top trading partners for example their import tax alone can vary from 16% to 22% that is not including duty rate calculations:
    • European Union > 20% import tax
    • China = 17% to enter goods for trade shows
    • Mexico = 16% import tax
  • ATA Carnet is one customs document for all customs transactions as it takes care of
    • Export documentation out of the United States
    • Importation documentation and guarantee requirements into the foreign country
    • Re-exportation documentation from that country
    • Re-importation documentation into the US
  • Unlimited entries and departures for up to one year
  • ATA Carnet can be used in place of US Customs registration form (the CBP4455 form) for temporary exports destined to non-ATA Carnet countries

What type of goods qualify for ATA Carnet?

Basically, everything and anything that’s intended for temporary entry – goods going in and coming back out in the same condition and that they fall under one of the following  types of goods:

  1. Commercial samples: goods used to generate a sales order but not for sale themselves
  2. Professional equipment and tools of the trade: mining equipment, camera equipment, anything a business needs to be able to service a contract, they can move under professional equipment.
  3. Goods for exhibitions, fairs and similar cultural events: conferences, congresses, demonstrations, exhibitions, and so forth.

Visit our ATA Carnet FAQ  to learn what types of goods CANNOT travel on an ATA Carnet.

Who Can Use an ATA Carnet?

Almost anyone! A medical device manufacturer who’s exhibiting $400,000 worth of samples at the CMES show in China. A heavy ops company who needs $10 million worth of mining equipment taken to Canada for a mining project. An oil and gas engineer who’s taking specialized tools and parts to repair an oil rig in the gulf of Mexico. Even a rock band touring Europe with $100,000 worth of musical equipment. An enormous variety of commodities, countries of destination, values, intents of use, and modes of transportation fall inside the scope of the ATA Carnet.

What countries accept ATA Carnets?

There are 77 member countries and 100 customs territories.

View our ATA Carnet Countries webpage for more details.

How does an exporter actually obtain an ATA Carnet?

They get them from you, the logistics service provider. But don’t worry! Roanoke will be your back office. We have an incredible ATA Carnet service staff to walk you through that whole process, not to mention our online application system is intuitive and easy-to-use.

Read more or watch a short video on How to Apply for an ATA Carnet.

Where does Roanoke fit into this world of ATA Carnet?

The United States government signed the ATA Carnet Convention over 40 years ago To manage the program US Customs and Border Protection along with US Treasury chose the US Council for International Business, a policy advocacy group representing US business interests in the international arena. The US Council, in turn appointed their long-time member and supporter, Roanoke, as the first service provider for ATA Carnets  We are the largest provider in the United States, we offer all the associated services and products  in-house, and we offer local printing around the country at any Roanoke regional service center.

Ready to get started with the ATA Carnet or to jump back in after a break? Reach out to our ATA Carnet Service team, email us at or call 1-800-ROANOKE (762-6653).

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