The ATA carnet (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) is a customs document which enables the temporary importation of goods into another country and their subsequent reimportation into Switzerland without custom duties being imposed. Amongst other things, the ATA carnet absolves the party usually liable for customs duty from having to pay import duties when crossing borders. It also means that customs administration departments do not have to issue national customs documentation. Those wishing to use an ATA carnet must first satisfy two conditions:
- The country of destination for the goods must be a party to the ATA carnet process, and
- The intended use of the goods must fall within one of the following three categories: professional equipment, trade fair and exhibition goods, commercial samples.
The ATA carnet cannot be used where goods are being transported so that they can either be repaired or finished. In Switzerland, ATA carnets are issued by chambers of industry and commerce and are only valid for a year; there is no option to extend this period.