Carnet: What it Is and Why it Is Good Business

The customs process for any country, including the United States, is complicated. Businesses and institutions, as well as individual professionals, can use a business document called a Carnet to make transporting goods into foreign nations easier. What is a Carnet? Also called a merchandise passport, a Carnet (pronounced car-nay) allows you to avoid paying all taxes and duties on goods being brought into a foreign country for less than one year. Carnets are accepted by more than 90 nations and territories throughout the world. Thus they promote international trade and business.

Many institutions as well as businesses use Carnets. Even some individuals use them when they carry professional equipment by hand into foreign countries. Carnets are issued to hospitals, universities, jewelers, art galleries, orchestras, rock bands, television networks, circuses, and just about any manufacturer. Fees for Carnets are pre-determined, and a Carnet can be used more than once within a one-year period. In order to be eligible for coverage by a Carnet, all merchandise must fall into one of three categories: Professional Equipment; Commercial Supplies and Exhibitions and Fairs. Carnets are also helpful when you re-enter the United States because they serve as your certificate of registration, meaning they speed up and simplify the process coming and going. Because it makes international trade easier, a Carnet is, ultimately, good business for everyone: individuals, businesses and governments.