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International transportation involves a large number of necessary documents, activities and procedures for customs handling at the various borders. This affects a significant increase in transit time and generates a number of additional obligations. However, for certain types of goods, the ATA carnet can be used. What is it, what type of cargo does it apply to and how can it be used?

ATA carnet – what is it?

The ATA carnet is a type of international customs document that makes it possible to carry out customs clearance much faster at the borders of 78 countries that are associated in the ATA guarantee chain. In the operations carried out, the ATA carnet eliminates the intricate procedure associated with temporary clearance, and the person who is a user of the ATA carnet is not required to fill out the SAD document, make deposits at the crossed borders or fill out customs declarations. In the case of Poland, the ATA carnet is not needed for international transport within the European Union countries.

The ATA document was created as a result of the activities of the Customs Cooperation Council and the International Bureau of Chambers of Commerce. The legal basis for the ATA carnet is contained in the Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for the Conditional Clearance of Goods drawn up in Brussels on December 6, 1961 (Journal of Laws No. 30 of 1969, item 242, referred to as the “ATA Convention”) and the Convention on Temporary Clearance drawn up in Istanbul on June 26, 1990 (Journal of Laws. No. 14 of 1998, item 61 and OJ No. 198 of 2002, item 1668, referred to as the “Istanbul Convention”).

What goods are covered by the ATA carnet?

The ATA carnet is a major convenience, but it is not enjoyed by all cargoes transported. The ATA Convention includes such categories of goods as:

  • specimens, samples and trade samples transported for the purpose of market reconnaissance, canvassing or presentation to a potential counterparty prior to the conclusion of a final commercial agreement,
  • products intended for display at trade fairs and various promotional meetings, including exhibits, as well as enclosures, décor or elements necessary for a particular booth,
  • professional equipment – musical instruments, working equipment, equipment necessary for filming, theatrical and film props, research and scientific equipment, sports equipment, etc.

It is important to note that foodstuffs, as well as items for repair, processing, modernization or sale, cannot be transported in international transport using an ATA carnet.

How long is an ATA carnet valid?

The validity of an ATA carnet is 12 months from the moment it is issued. As a rule, the validity period cannot be extended. In some cases, however, it is possible to replace an expiring carnet with a new one that is valid for another 12 months.

During the validity period, the carnet can be used repeatedly, but only if the list of transported goods does not change, and an additional set of cards is required for each subsequent departure from Poland/EU. When importing on the blue transit section with an ATA carnet and exceeding the time limit for temporary clearance, it is necessary to pay customs duty.