The Thai Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, recently visited Paris, attending a meeting between Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
They announced a new partnership, to support international trade in Thailand and the region. The second of those objectives is a key part of both participants wishes, with Thailand a leading member of the ASEAN block.
The ASEAN grouping (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) could be thought of as a regional equivalent of the EU, with more understanding on cultural differences. Members range from Confucian leaning societies, to largely capitalist.
Their slogan “One Vision One Identity One Community” is more about modernisation and unifying commerce. Topics such as tools to promote global trade and investment are likely to be on the agenda, including the ATA carnet.
Carnet Use In The ASEAN Block
Thailand joining the ATA carnet family in 1994 helped to establish a relationship with the ICC and other international bodies. A stepping stone towards the cooperation highlighted in Paris.
Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are also members, although the other six ASEAN countries are not. They are Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, The Philippines and Vietnam.
We should be clear that temporary export to those six countries on an ATA carnet is not a practice we can officially recommend. There is no guarantee of acceptance and at least some have quite usable, alternative schemes.
There is still no harm in mentioning what is tending to happen in practice. ASEAN members are moving towards the principle of one commercial identity and ATA carnets are often being accepted at their borders.
A carnet should not be issued for travel to a non member country, so this will generally apply where the first destination is a member and travel continues elsewhere, a scenario where successful use is being reported.
Of the other countries, Vietnam is closest to becoming an ATA carnet member. They at present seem to have adapted their long existing Articles 30, 31, and 32 of Government Decree 154/2005/ND-CP, to allow at least 90 days stay on a carnet.
Other countries are tweaking existing law, or being more direct in shared documents. In the ASEAN Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation statement, several have adopted carnet type wording for their temporary import rules.
Reality & Practice
Once again, we can not recommend relying on the ATA carnet system in non member countries. Passing on what are anecdotal but regular comments simply seemed worthwhile.
Should you be flying direct from the UK to Laos, or other nations, look at the schemes they officially offer. Don’t rely on the belief that customs there are lax and will accept any document, the region is changing.
If on the other hand you need to continue a journey, which began in a carnet member country, you may be okay. Perhaps for a little cross border filming, or a meeting with an associate of your initial contacts.