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History of the ATA Carnet

The ATA Carnet, a tool for International Trade Facilitation

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".

International Customs Conventions in force

Operating under the ATA Convention, which entered into force on 30th July 1963, 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 years, the ATA 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.

More than 190,000 ATA Carnets are issued every year covering goods valued at more than $26 billion.