Whilst EU-UK relations continue to be discussed, the EU are also focusing on enlarging in other directions.
Even if much stays the same, EU enlargement would at least give us a larger, open territory once inside the EU. We shall have to see what takes place.
The EU do not however run the ATA carnet system, this works through a long established, international treaty. Even so, participating states have a little leeway, so worth taking note of points the EU have made since Brexit occurred.
Confirmation has come from the Commission that all EU countries should be accepting ATA carnets for the main categories, in their wording, “displays, exhibitions and fairs, professional equipment and commercial samples”. In practice, almost any non perishable item.
The carnet system has worked well from day one but there have been inevitable edge cases. Updates made as we write this in February 2022 do not cover every one, not least items carried personally which may have a use beyond personal.
There has been much said about musical instruments, motorcycles to be used in competition, laptops, or tools related to work. There is no absolute clarity, the EU state a carnet requirement for taking part in a music show but some countries are allowing personally carried items.
Making The Decision
Whether a carnet is needed can depend on the specific items, how they are transported, who by, whether they are accompanied by the owner. Neither is there a guarantee that customs officers in every EU country will take the same view.
A number of our customers have in a way been pleased to have an ATA carnet. This gives them the certainty of avoiding delay, hassle, even being turned back, the business they are on too important to depend on unpredictable decisions.
If they make regular trips to Europe, the cost of having a passport for their goods is shared over the number of trips. An ATA carnet for the EU is valid for 12 months and for as many visits as you wish.
We still do not want to see anyone spend on an unnecessary item. If you are in doubt, please contact our team. They will go through your intentions, from your equipment, to countries you will visit and if no carnet is needed, they will be delighted to say so.
The reality is however that some information in the media suggesting other options, or just passing through customs is not accurate. The same could be said on a few granular details of temporary exports from the UK to the EU.
Confirmed Carnet Points
Partly due to speculative comment, the EU have confirmed that ATA carnets can be used as transit documents through any EU country. This applies for temporary exportation to all other ATA carnet approved countries.
They have also restated the position regarding “End-Use”, a different customs approach for eliminating, or reducing duties. There never was, or will be an overlap between this and the ATA carnet system.
End use is for companies who are established within the EU and refers to quite different items. Civil aircraft parts, items for shipbuilding and drilling platforms, bicycle parts, or military equipment are examples.
A similar scheme exists in the other direction, for UK inbound goods and for much the same items. There is no relationship with most temporary exports, use and goods are quite different, the “update” is simply to avoid confusion rather than any real change.
The Republic Of Ireland
In a similar vein, Ireland have confirmed what has long been the case. Consignments going in and out of the country can be split if required. Vouchers need to reflect this but you do not have to import or re-export items on an ATA carnet in one consignment.
They have further confirmed that Ireland can not accept ATA carnet goods sent by post, also that lapses are not allowed. If goods are not re-exported within the agreed time, or are used for an inappropriate purpose, you are likely to be liable for duty.
Any clarity is always welcome, although we should again state that the EU updates are more a reaffirmation of what has always been the case. Brexit made little difference to the ATA carnet scheme, except for us needing one for Europe.
We hope a few points for individuals are clarified in future, by ongoing negotiation rather than rumour. In the interim, if you are travelling and may need an ATA carnet for the EU, we are happy to provide up to date advice.