In 1961, the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) - forerunner of the World Customs Organization (WCO) - adopted the "Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for the Temporary Admission of Goods".The customs conventions corresponding to the three main categories of goods covered by the system are :
- Commercial samples - The GATT International Convention to facilitate the importation of commercial samples and advertising material (Geneva 1952)
- Professional equipment - The CCC's Customs Convention on the temporary importation of professional equipment (Brussels 1961)
- Goods for presentation or use at trade fairs, shows, exhibitions or similar events - The CCC Customs Convention concerning facilities for the importation of goods for display or use at exhibitions, fairs, meetings or similar events (Brussels 1961).
These various Conventions are progressively being replaced by one single International Customs Convention on temporary admission named the WCO Istanbul Convention.
Over the last 40 years, the Carnet system has spread from just a few West European countries to most of the industrialized world, including a growing number of developing countries and emerging economies.
These Conventions govern the requirements for temporary duty-free admission of a reasonable number of goods from participating countries.
In India, ATA System deals with only those goods covered under the Fairs and Exhibitions Convention of CCC (1961). However, with effect from 1st March, 2002, the Government vide Notification No. 24/2002 - Customs dated 1st March, 2002 has amended the earlier Notification No. 157/90-Customs dated 28th March, 1990 extending the scope of ATA carnet to cover meeting, conference or congress organized by any company or organization.