Dubai Chamber of Commerce issued a total of 5,492 ATA Carnets for goods and commodities worth AED5 billion ($1.36 billion) in 2023, denoting a remarkable year-over-year growth of 47% in value.

This record value reflects strong growth within Dubai’s exhibitions, events, and conferences sector, to which ATA Carnets are closely linked, and underlines the city’s growing status and reputation as a leading global destination for business and events.

Data from this year indicates that 1,118 ATA Carnets were issued and received for goods with a value of AED695 million during January and February alone, highlighting continuing positive momentum within the events and exhibitions sector in the emirate.

Effective tool

ATA Carnets are an effective tool in the attraction and organisation of international events and play a vital role by facilitating the duty-free and tax-free temporary importation of goods for up to one year. This contributes significantly to enhancing the smooth movement and transportation of goods and equipment for exhibitions, shows, and other events.

Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, stated that ATA Carnets enhance Dubai's economic flexibility and boost the growth of various business sectors, especially in terms of simplifying customs procedures for the transport of goods and commodities to be used in exhibitions and shows. The ATA Carnet system has emerged as a key driver in positioning Dubai as a global hub for promotional exhibitions, events, and conferences.

He added: “Dubai Chamber of Commerce is the guarantor for the implementation of the ATA Carnet system in the UAE, with impactful collaboration between the chamber and its partners in Dubai Customs, the Federal Customs Authority, and chambers of commerce across the UAE. We are committed to facilitating the movement of goods and commodities to enhance the competitiveness of the emirate and its business environment.”

ATA Carnets

Also referred to as a ‘Merchandise Passport,’ an ATA Carnet is an international customs document that permits the temporary importation of duty-free and tax-free goods for up to one year. The document forms part of a standardised international mechanism created by the Istanbul Convention in 1990 under the guidance of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) for the temporary importation of goods.

ATA Carnets enable marketing representatives, exhibition participants, and business travellers to make the necessary customs arrangements in advance at a set cost, travel to various countries, and return to their home countries without any issues or delays. The documents can be utilised multiple times within one year.

Goods covered by ATA Carnets include goods for use at trade fairs such as commercial samples, professional equipment, audiovisual equipment, and computers, as well as items like repair tools, photographic and film equipment, musical instruments, industrial machinery, vehicles, jewellery, clothing, medical appliances, aircraft, racehorses, artwork, and prehistoric relics. Items that are not covered by the documents include perishable or consumable items and goods for processing or repair.

ATA Carnets reduce costs for exporters by eliminating value-added tax (VAT) and customs duties. ATA Carnet holders are not required to post security deposits with customs. The documents also simplify border crossings by allowing importers and exporters to use a single document for all of their customs formalities.

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