An ATA Carnet acts as a 'passport for goods’, allowing for duty and tax-free temporary movement of goods between countries. The ATA Carnet scheme is now operating in over 80 countries worldwide, and has been particularly important in allowing UK-based companies to temporarily import their goods into the EU since new Brexit rules came into place in 2020.
We spoke to Andrew Griffiths from Saddleback about how he used an ATA Carnet to take bicycle parts and cycle clothing to Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Please tell us a bit about Saddleback and the work you do.
Saddleback is the UK-based distributor of high-end bicycles, bicycle components and cyclist clothing to an international network of bicycle retailers. We represent 12 brands in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Austria.
I am Head of Business Transformation and Business Systems at Saddleback and I have been working here for over 15 years. I have seen the business transform from a small team with a passion for cycling to a leading high-end cycling distributor.
Why did you apply for an ATA Carnet?
Saddleback’s UK-based area sales managers regularly travel to Northern Ireland and Ireland to support a network of cycle retailers. Their work ranges from providing business support and relationship management to new brand and product introduction, demonstration and training.
The area sales managers travel with a demo set of cycling parts, accessories and cycle clothing. We obtained an ATA Carnet so that we could take these goods to Ireland while maintaining customs compliance and minimising costs.
Had you ever applied for an ATA Carnet before?
No. This was our first time applying for a Carnet.
Post-Brexit, we decided to explore what our options were when it came to taking our products to Ireland. We received some advice from ChamberCustoms, who suggested that we obtain an ATA Carnet from Business West.
Was the application process what you expected?
The online application process was incredibly straightforward and quick. Having a visual presentation of the ATA Carnet onscreen throughout the application was very helpful.
The most difficult part of the Carnet application was assembling the data for the general list. This was the most lengthy and time-consuming part of the process, as it required us to compose a comprehensive list of all the goods we were taking, including quantities, prices and serial numbers.
How did the team help you?
The ATA Carnet team really went the extra mile to help us understand the purpose of the Carnet, as well as how to use it. They clearly explained the different steps of the process: from the application itself to how to use it at customs to what ferry operator requirements there were. They had our back through it all.
Business West provides a simply amazing service and greatly extended support.
Do you have any advice for other cycling companies who are looking to take their products abroad temporarily?
It is important for you to meet customs regulations and rules to ensure compliance. If you are planning to take your goods abroad temporarily, then seek advice from companies like Business West who can support you in meeting your customs obligations.