Carnet Agreement

Carnet Agreement: The Basics

If you are in the business of importing and exporting goods, you may have come across the term “carnet agreement.” A carnet (pronounced “car-nay”) is a customs document that allows for the temporary, duty-free importation of goods into a foreign country. In this article, we will discuss the basics of carnet agreements, their benefits, and how they work.

What is a Carnet Agreement?

A carnet agreement is an international customs document that simplifies the process of temporarily importing goods into a foreign country. It is also known as an ATA Carnet, which stands for “Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission.”

In essence, a carnet is a passport for goods, allowing them to travel across international borders without the need for individual customs declarations or payment of duties and taxes. It is a single document that covers all the goods listed on it and is valid for up to one year.

What Goods are Covered by a Carnet Agreement?

Carnet agreements cover a wide range of goods, including commercial samples, professional equipment, and goods for exhibitions and fairs. They can also be used for sporting equipment, musical instruments, and other items that are temporarily imported into a foreign country.

The carnet document lists the goods to be imported, along with their value, country of origin, and other relevant details. Once the goods have been imported, they can be re-exported without the need for further customs formalities, as long as the carnet remains valid.

Why Use a Carnet Agreement?

There are several benefits to using a carnet agreement. One of the main advantages is that it simplifies customs procedures, reducing the time and cost of importing goods into a foreign country.

Carnets also eliminate the need for a temporary import bond, which can be costly and time-consuming to obtain. They provide a guarantee to customs authorities that the goods listed on the carnet will be re-exported within the agreed timeframe.

Finally, carnet agreements provide a degree of flexibility for businesses importing goods. They can be used for multiple trips to different countries within the validity period of the carnet, making them an efficient way to manage temporary imports and exports.

How Does a Carnet Agreement Work?

To obtain a carnet agreement, a business must apply to their national chamber of commerce or equivalent organization. The application process typically involves providing details of the goods to be imported, the countries they will be taken to, and the dates of travel.

Once the carnet is issued, it must be presented to customs officials in the countries where the goods will be imported. The goods are then cleared through customs with minimal paperwork or duties.

When the goods are re-exported, they must be presented to customs officials along with the carnet, which will be stamped to confirm that the goods have left the country. The carnet remains valid for up to one year, allowing for multiple trips to different countries.


Overall, a carnet agreement can be a valuable tool for businesses importing and exporting goods. They simplify customs procedures, reduce costs, and provide a degree of flexibility for businesses managing temporary imports and exports. If you are looking to import goods into a foreign country, consider exploring the option of a carnet agreement to streamline the process.