User Login

Foreign Trade Shows

Carnets for Trade Shows | Trade Fairs | Trade Missions & Overseas Exhibitions Can Save Time & Taxes

ATA Carnets can be used for the equipment and merchandise that is shipped overseas for a trade show or exhibition* to avoid paying customs duties and import taxes such as VAT or GST. Carnets can also be used for fine arts, antiques and collectibles travelling to auction. By listing the equipment and merchandise that will return to the U.S. on an ATA Carnet you can reduce the costs associated with exhibiting at a trade show and ease the customs clearance.

An ATA Carnet also eliminates the need to post a bond or cash with foreign customs which may take 6-24 months to be returned. In addition, the carnet serves as the registration of goods in the U.S. to smooth the re-importation of the carnet goods back into the U.S.

More Information About Customs Clearance Costs for Trade Shows

In order to understand the costs associated with clearing customs for a foreign trade show, CIB executive Leslie August has written an article about these hidden costs. In summary:

  • Contact the Intermediaries: Find out from the foreign trade show organizer, shipping company or freight forwarder how foreign import duties and taxes are handled for each overseas event.
  • Determine the Correct Temporary Import Method for the Event: Review the itinerary, travel, and shipping requirements to determine the best temporary import option for each event.
  • Make Preparations: Contact the event freight forwarder and/or an ATA Carnet Specialist to finalize the temporary import documentation at least 2 weeks in advance of shipping a trade show exhibit and other equipment out of the U.S.

*Samples, giveaways, swag, brochures or flyers to be sold or given away, however, may not always be permitted to be listed on the ATA Carnet as they are entering the commerce of host country.

Here is the entire article as originally published in the Trade Show Exhibitors Association newsletter, About Face:

Import Duties and Taxes for International Trade Shows: How to Avoid These Hidden Costs

Additional Resources:

Customs, Crates & Carnets from ExhibitorOnline

The International Exhibiting Guide from ExhibitorOnline