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What options do I have if I am taking goods out of the country and planning to return them?
All countries have procedures allowing for the temporary importation of goods for across their borders. Such importations are generally valid for less than 12 months. Importers may choose from three options when considering a temporary importation:
  • Duty refund, temporary importation under bond (TIB), and Carnet.
  • Duty refund is the process by which an importer registers the goods at the time of entry, and deposits the applicable duties and taxes. In Europe, duty and taxes range from 20-30%, Australia 50%, China 40%, of the value of the goods. At the time of departure, the exporter presents the goods and appropriate paperwork to a customs inspector. Exporters can expect to receive a full refund of the duties and taxes posted at some future point. (Refunds are generally made 2-6 months after departure. Payments are made in local currency.)
  • To use a TIB, importers are required to secure the TIB from a customhouse broker at the time of entry into the foreign country. The purchase of a TIB is required for each country visited on every trip. Fees for TIBs vary widely.
  • Carnets: May be used for unlimited exits from and entries into the India and foreign countries; are accepted in over 71 Countries worldwide; eliminate value-added taxes (VAT), duties, and the posting of security normally required at the time of importation; and simplify customs procedures. Carnets allow temporary exporters to use a single document for all customs transactions, make arrangements in advance, and at a predetermined cost. Carnets facilitate reentry into the India by eliminating the need to register goods with Indian Customs at the time of departure.
What is the origin of the ATA Carnet System?
To encourage world trade by reducing the obstacles caused by varying national customs regulations, the Customs Co-operation Council, now the World Customs Organization, adopted in December, 1961, the "Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for the Temporary Admission of Goods." Carnets are issued and guaranteed by national groups, which administer the ATA Carnet System under a set of conditions established by the International Bureau of Chambers of Commerce (IBCC), now called World Chambers Federation (WCF). The WCF is sponsored by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris. Customs authorities in over 71 Countries accept the Carnet as a guarantee that all duties and taxes will be paid if the Carnet is misused.
What goods can be covered by a carnet ?
Just about any temporary import that comes under three broad categories:
  • commercial samples used for demonstration or as sales tools;
  • professional equipment, which may be anything from scientific apparatus to theatrical costumes, surgical instruments to musical instruments, TV cameras to live horses;
  • fairs and exhibitions

he main requirement is that what goes in must come out - the goods must not be sold, given away or otherwise disposed of while in the foreign country. For this reason, you cannot include consumable items that will be used or handed out while in the foreign country - such as brochures, cleaning materials or feed for horses.

What does the carnet consist of?
The carnet customs document can consist of just a few or several pages, depending on the number of items you are transporting and countries you're going to do business in or pass through. For example, a symphony orchestra on tour may have pages of items listed and a collection of "vouchers", but an executive off to a conference may have only 3 or 4 items and one set of vouchers.

There are two vouchers for each country on the itinerary, one to give to the customs officer when entering, and one for leaving the country (whether from the same location or another exit point). There are also two vouchers to present to customs when leaving and returning to India.

How does the carnet system work?
Carnets are issued and managed by chambers of commerce throughout the world. The terms and conditions of this arrangement are enforced through written agreements between members and the World Chambers Federation - WCF (Until 2001, the International Bureau of Chambers of Commerce - IBCC) in Paris. India has been a member of the carnet system since 1989.
What countries accept carnets now?
The majority of countries India does business with are members of the carnet system now, and more countries are joining every year. View a detailed country listing.
Do I have to be a Member of FICCI to have a Carnet?
No. But there will be a discount of Rs. 2,500/- on processing fee.
Contact our Membership Team to enquire about the benefits of being a member of FICCI.
Can I Put Consumable Goods On a Carnet?
No. Everything on a Carnet must be returned back to India.
What Information Do You Require?
Apart from your company details the most important part of a Carnet is the List of Goods, which should be comprehensive and contain as much information for Customs that will enable them to readily identify the items. Marks and numbers, where they exist, are mandatory.
Can I Get 'Extra Vouchers'?
Yes. Additional vouchers can be obtained from the issuing office with a repeat fee payable.
Can I Add Extra Items To The Carnet List?
No. Once a Carnet has been issued no extra item can be added to the list of goods.
How specific do the descriptions on the general list need to be?
Customs authorities have the right to stop goods from entering its borders (seizure of goods, etc. ) if the description is not adequate enough. Items on the general list should be as descriptive as possible; to avoid any delays, include serial numbers or model numbers whenever possible.
How long is a carnet valid?
One year from the date of issue. Within this year, a carnet holder can visit as many countries in the system as he/she wishes, and enter and leave India as often as he/she wishes. All goods listed on the carnet must be returned to India by the expiry date, or prior to any assigned date(s) upon importation into a foreign country.
Who in my company should sign section "F. Obligation" on the application and the General List?
Someone who possesses the authority to obligate the company to payment of duties and taxes should they come due.
Our carnet was lost or misplaced. What can we do ?
You can obtain a duplicate Carnet which will have the same details as the original, once again a repeat fee and security will apply. Alternatively, the goods covered by the lost or stolen Carnet may be entered to temporary importation. Call Office of Issue
When do I return the Carnet?
The Carnet should be returned to FICCI after its final use or immediately after its expiration whichever comes first.
To where do I return the Carnet?
The Carnet holder should make and keep a clear copy of the whole Carnet booklet (all used and even un-used sheets), and return the original to FICCI.
My Carnet was never used. Do I still have to return it?
Yes, all Carnets must be returned even if they were never used. Carnets that are returned to FICCI will be considered 'open' and thus, the associated security deposit will remain in effect until the time during which a customs claim may be submitted to FICCI has ended.
My Carnet was never used. Do I get refund of Processing Fee?
If Carnet is returned unused within a week from the date of issue, Rs. 10,000/- will be deducted from the processing fee to defray our secretarial expenses.
Do I have to file Shipping Bill/Bill of Entry at Customs in India?
No. ATA Carnet document itself serves as both Shipping Bill and Bill of Entry.