Member Staff News, Summer 2008: Save Money When Sending Goods Abroad Temporarily

Cynthia Duncan
Cynthia Duncan

By Cynthia Duncan

USCIB Senior Vice President for Carnet Operations

Companies join USCIB to influence international commercial policy through our unique global business network, to gain valuable expertise on current topics in global commerce, and to influence the rules of the game for cross-border trade and investment.  But did you know that USCIB can also save you money when you send goods abroad temporarily?

How?  It’s called the ATA Carnet, and it’s one of USCIB’s exclusive trade services.  Many USCIB members already save thousands of dollars each year using it.

Known as “merchandise passports,” Carnets (pronounced “kar-nays”) are international customs documents that facilitate temporary imports into foreign countries, duty- and tax-free.  They are accepted in over 80 countries and customs territories, including all members of the European Union.  USCIB is the sole issuer and guarantor of ATA Carnets in the United States.

In the 1950s, before the EU began dismantling barriers to trade, a number of European countries started to experiment with temporary export certificates as a way to spur the development of trade shows and other opportunities to show merchandise to potential customers.  The idea caught on, and the following decade the World Customs Organization adopted the “Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for the Temporary Admission of Goods.”  (The acronym ATA is a combination of the English and French words for “temporary admission.”)

Under this treaty, Carnets are issued and guaranteed by a national business group in each signatory country.  In 1968, the U.S. Treasury Department appointed USCIB to operate the ATA Carnet system in the United States.  The worldwide system is administered by the International Chamber of Commerce, part of USCIB’s global network, in cooperation with customs authorities around the world.

Companies utilize Carnets to ship goods abroad that will be returned to the U.S. within one year, and that are being sent for trade shows and exhibitions, as commercial samples or to be used as professional equipment.  There are numerous examples of goods that may be sent abroad under Carnet, including automobiles, audio-visual equipment,  computers, consumer goods, jewelry and art.  All that’s required is that the goods fit one of the above uses and be returned to their country of origin in the same condition they left.

As I write, a wide variety of items are traveling to China using Carnets for the Beijing Olympics.  Sailboats, kayaks, camera and sound equipment, even horses are all slated to enter China under Carnets for the Summer Games.

USCIB’s Carnet service has grown significantly in recent years as more and more companies recognize the value of this service.  With the help of our designated service providers, USCIB now issues some 16,000 Carnets annually.

USCIB members and non-members alike make use of Carnets.  Membership exempts your company from having to post a security deposit equal to 40 percent of the value of the goods being shipped.  Feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more about how your company can save money by using ATA Carnets.

Cynthia Duncan is USCIB’s Senior Vice President for Carnet Operations.  She can be reached at (212) 703-5079 or  Learn more about ATA Carnets at

USCIB Member and Staff News


USCIB’s Ronnie Goldberg with Jerry Zellhoefer of the AFL-CIO at the International Labor Conference.
USCIB’s Ronnie Goldberg with Jerry Zellhoefer of the AFL-CIO at the International Labor Conference.

Congratulations to Christopher R. Wall, a partner with Pillsbury Winthrop LLP who served on USCIB’s board, who was recently confirmed by the Senate as assistant secretary of Commerce for export administration. … John Buchanan, chairman of Smith & Nephew plc, is the new chairman of ICC United Kingdom, succeeding Paul Skinner, chairman of Rio Tinto. … USCIB Executive Vice President Ronnie Goldberg was re-elected to the International Labor Organization’s Governing Body at the most recent International Labor Conference in Geneva.


The Dominican Bar Association honored Josefa Sicard-Mirabal, director for North America with the ICC International Court of Arbitration, who works out of USCIB’s New York headquarters.  Josefa was recognized at a May 22 dinner in New York as being among a select group of Dominicans thriving in transnational law.


We mourn the death in May of Joan Licht Mantel, senior vice president for environmental support with General Electric and an active member of USCIB’s Environment Committee for many years. … We were equally saddened to learn of the passing in July of Demet Ariyak, secretary general of ICC Turkey.  “Demet was a wonderful ICC colleague and friend,” according to USCIB President Peter M. Robinson.  “Over the years, she always extended a reach of smiling compassion that made those around her feel so welcome in her circle.”

New Staffers

We welcome three new full-time staff members to USCIB’s New York headquarters.  Helen Medina (212-703-5047, is USCIB’s new director of agriculture, health care, and biotechnology policy, succeeding Alix Heywood, who has resigned to raise her first child.  Helen was most recently assistant director for international affairs at the International Dairy Foods Association in Washington, D.C., and has worked for Consultants International Group in Washington, as well as the U.S. Consulate General in Florence, Italy.  She holds a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  Roya Bell (212-703-5063, has joined us as development associate, supporting USCIB’s communications, marketing and membership functions.  A graduate of the University of California at San Diego, Roya has prior experience with the Direct Marketing Association, Clear-Com and Visa International.  And Kristi Bang (212-703-5096, has joined USCIB’s ATA Carnet Department as an issuing representative.  A native of Korea who studied at Montclair State University, Kristi has several years’ experience in freight logistics.

Send your USCIB member news to

Staff Contact:   Kira Yevtukhova

Deputy Director, Marketing and Communications
Tel: 202.617.3160

Kira Yevtukhova manages USCIB’s print and online publications, including the website, e-newsletter and quarterly magazine, and serves as the organization’s digital media strategist. Prior to this role, Kira worked for over five years within USCIB’s Policy Department, focusing on climate change, environment, nutrition, health, and chemicals related policy issues. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and has an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
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