In 1961, the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) - forerunner of the World Customs Organization (WCO) - adopted the "Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for the Temporary Admission of Goods".
The customs conventions corresponding to the three main categories of goods covered by the system are :
Commercial samples - The GATT International Convention to facilitate the importation of commercial samples and advertising material (Geneva 1952)
Professional equipment - The CCC's Customs Convention on the temporary importation of professional equipment (Brussels 1961)
Goods for presentation or use at trade fairs, shows, exhibitions or similar events - The CCC Customs Convention concerning facilities for the importation of goods for display or use at exhibitions, fairs, meetings or similar events (Brussels 1961).
These various Conventions are progressively being replaced by one single International Customs Convention on temporary admission named the WCO Istanbul Convention.
Over the last 40 years, the Carnet system has spread from just a few West European countries to most of the industrialized world, including a growing number of developing countries and emerging economies.
These Conventions govern the requirements for temporary duty-free admission of a reasonable number of goods from participating countries.
Initially in India, ATA Carnet system dealt with only those goods covered under the government approved exhibitions/fairs or similar events. However, with effect from 5th October 2016, CBEC vide Notification No. 58/2016 Customs extended the scope of ATA Carnet to cover private exhibitions/fairs or similar events.
The scope of system has been further expanded vide CBEC Notification No. 04/2018 dated 18th January 2018 to cover professional equipment meant for TV/film shoot, press/media coverage, sporting events, testing & calibration etc.