Flameko Forwarding On The Basics Of Shipping Your Exhibition Goods To An Tradeshow Outside EU
If your planning to exhibit your products at an upcoming exhibition or a tradeshow which takes place outside EU there are couple of things you should be aware of and advance preparation is needed to ensure a smooth experience for you and your merchandise. Failing to do so you may end up with your goods held in customs, empty exhibition box and a pricey lesson. But don’t worry we’ll get you through the basics in this article.
If your company is already familiar with exporting or importing outside the Eurozone you are well aware of the customs duties and taxes paid upon leaving or entering the zone. When you are planning to take part of an exhibition and your merchandise is too bulky or heavy to carry it with you as a passenger you don’t certainly want it to be taxed as you’re just taking it along to show it to your potential customers and bring it back home afterwards. You are not paying customs duties and taxes on your luggage so why do you have to do so with your exhibition merchandise. Not even going to mention finding a broker to customs clear the goods for you.
If you would turn to an expert in your forwarding company regarding your next exhibition taking place outside EU, the more experienced ones would advise you to ship everything on an ATA Carnet. Sounds good but what in the world is Carnet you may ask. To explain this in a simple manner Carnet is like a passport for cargo which allows you to reduce your costs, time and simplify customs procedures just by providing one document entry for all customs related transactions whether you are importing or exporting your exhibition goods. It allows you to send goods without having to issue a temporary export declaration in the origin country and the same with temporary import clearance in destination country. You may be already thinking this saves you a lot of time and makes the world a lot better place to live in and that’s great but there’s more. Similarly, to temporary export and import declaration Carnet allows you to export and import your tradeshow merchandise without paying any customs duties and taxes.
ATA Carnet is valid for a period of one year and can be used several times to ship the same goods. When you run out of the pages in your Carnet you can always request more for a small fee. If you are thinking what kind of goods you are able to ship on a Carnet than the simple answer is almost everything.
Now that you are pumped up and can’t wait to get your hands on the Carnet for your next tradeshow you may be wondering how to get started and where do I get one. Start by deciding what you want to ship and make a list. Remember to only list things that you are returning to your origin country. Describe each item and provide as many details as possible including the number of each item, country of origin (where it was made) and the value. This list will be used to create the Carnet general list which tells both the origin and destination Customs what you are shipping. If your list includes models or electronic equipment don’t forget to include their model and serial numbers. You have to keep in mind that every item listed has to be identifiable by Customs. Don’t include items you plan to give away at the tradeshow because Customs may think you have sold them when returning without all the goods on your list and may want you to pay duties and taxes on those items.
Next step is to file an application for ATA Carnet in your local Chamber of Commerce (in Estonia it can be done online). At the same time, you must also do the same for an institution who acts as the insurer of the ATA Carnet (in Estonia its Ergo Insurance SE). It is recommended to file the application at least ten days before the shipping date though our experience has shown the process takes just couple of days but it’s never bad to be too cautious. If you’re in a rush it can be obtained in 48 hours by paying an extra fee (double the normal cost in Estonia).
Now it’s time to contact your forwarder but make sure they are experienced handling ATA Carnet and also ask them to double check this with their office or partner in the destination country where your tradeshow takes part. Exceptions can always happen, and you save a lot of your hard-earned cash and time by making sure the company organizing the shipping of your exhibition merchandise is well experienced in doing so and knows the ins and outs. Never go for the forwarder based on the lowest quotation without making sure they know their stuff. As they say if you want to buy something good for cheap you have to buy two things, one cheap and the other good.
ATA Carnet can be used to ship to over 77 countries but what if the tradeshow you are planning to attend is not included in the list? Temporary import and export declaration may be the answer but it’s better to discuss this directly with your forwarder case by case as some shipping companies may refuse to accept these in destination countries. If this turns out to be the case when your merchandise has already been shipped, you may end up paying duties and taxes and with no one to act as a sender after the exhibition to get your merchandise back to your origin country.
Pay also attention when using Carnet in countries that were recently added to the members list as with all new things local know how may be lacking and even the most experienced forwarders may look at your Carnet like it’s something from another planet. Good example here is Qatar which was added from 1 of August this year but let’s hope they get things right by 2022 when they are hosting the FIFA 2022 Football Championship.
Flameko Forwarding LLC
Seemne tn. 4, 10617
Ph +372 535 000 10
Fax +372 530 706 27