UAE Joins Worldwide Network for Duty-Free Imports

Dubai’s modern skyline.  The city plays host to some 200 trade shows each year.
Dubai’s modern skyline. The city plays host to some 200 trade shows each year.

New York, N.Y., January 13, 2011 – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has confirmed that it expects to start accepting and issuing ATA Carnets early this year, making the federation the 69th country to join the worldwide system for duty-free, tax-free temporary imports, according to the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which administers and guarantees Carnets in the United States.

The UAE will begin by accepting goods for trade shows and fairs, according to Cynthia Duncan, USCIB’s senior vice president for Carnet operations.  “It is an important step in linking UAE businesses to the wider global marketplace,” she said.  “With some 200 trade shows annually in Dubai, the UAE’s acceptance of Carnets should be a boon for U.S. companies from all industries.”

ATA Carnets are merchandise passports that permit the duty-free, tax-free export of goods.  In 2009, the most recent year for which worldwide figures are available, over 150,000 Carnets were issued, covering goods worth more than $17 billion (U.S.).  Prior to the UAE’s decision, Moldova and Macao were the latest territories to join the worldwide system, which is overseen by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Customs Organization.

USCIB said the announcement was made last month by the director general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Hamad Buamim, and his counterpart from the UAE’s foreign trade ministry, Abdullah Al-Saleh.  The Dubai Chamber will assume responsibility for issuing and guaranteeing Carnets throughout the UAE.

The UAE was the largest U.S. export market in the entire Middle East and North Africa region in 2009, and the 19th largest globally, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Transportation equipment, machinery, computers and electronics, and chemicals are the top U.S. exports to the country.  Ms. Duncan said she expected overall two-way trade to grow and diversify further in view of the decision to accept merchandise passports.

USCIB’s Duncan named vice chair of global Carnet administrative body

Separately, ICC announced that Ms. Duncan has been elected  deputy chair of the World ATA Carnet Council (WATAC), which oversees the worldwide operations of the ATA Carnet chain.  ICC said she would support WATAC’s chairman, Peter Bishop deputy chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, in coordinating the activities of the council and its administrative committee.  Mr. Bishop was re-elected WATAC’s chairman in June 2010 to complete a final three-year term.

Ms. Duncan has headed USCIB’s Carnet operations since 2000 and sits on the WATAC Executive Board.  She also serves on the steering committee of World Trade Week NYC and on the New York District Export Council.  She is a board member of the Organization of Women in International Trade/New York and previously served in a number of other capacities with USCIB, including as vice president for membership.

USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation.  Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world.  With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment.


Cynthia Duncan, SVP Carnet Operations, USCIB
(212) 703-5079 or

More on USCIB’s ATA Carnet Export Service

Staff Contact:   Glendy Sung

VP, Carnet Operations
Tel: 212.703.5073

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