Temporary Duty-Free Customs Admissions

Temporary Entrance: ATA Carnet

Goods used as “Tools of the Trade” that are carried or shipped into other countries may be granted exemption from payment of import duties and/or taxes. This is a general outline explaining some similarities among the different countries for temporary entrance of “tools of the trade.”

  • Tools imported to repair or modify equipment are examples of “tools of the trade.”
  • If “tools” can not enter free of duty, then the exporting company may be required to make a contract with Customs so the articles are re-exported within a fixed period of time. This contract is in the form of a deposit or bond for the amount of the duty/tax or a percentage of it.A temporary import bond (TIB) is equivalent to a percentage of the ascertained taxes and duties
  • An ATA Carnet (“merchandise passport”) is an international customs document that facilitates temporary imports into foreign countries. A listing of the merchandise and countries covered by the ATA Carnet are available here.
  • The deposit of the duty payment or temporary import bond will be returned after the products have left the country and customs documents have been filed
  • Any person who does not re-export the temporarily admitted tools within a specified period shall be subject to pay import duties and taxes
  • The re-exported tools must be identical with those imported

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The NAFTA requires Canada, Mexico, and the United States to grant duty-free temporary admission to certain classes of tools imported from another NAFTA country. Duty-free entry can not be conditioned on whether directly competitive or substitutable tools are available in the importing country. The tools do not have to originate in a NAFTA country.

Professional Equipment and Trade Show Displays
A person can temporarily import the following “tools of the trade” duty-free: professional equipment, equipment for the press or for sound or television broadcasting, goods for sports activities, and goods for display or demonstration.

These goods must:

  • Not be sold or leased while in Canada/Mexico.
  • Be accompanied by a bond if they are not originating goods (chapter 4 or the NAFTA).
  • Only remain in Canada/Mexico until the departure of the person, or within a reasonable time.
  • Be capable of identification when exported.
  • Be imported in no greater quantity than is reasonable for the intended use.
  • Be imported by a national or resident of the United States, Canada or Mexico that is seeking temporary entry.
  • Be used solely by or under the personal supervision of the person importing the good in the business activity.