In August, Bahrain took a solid step closer to implementing the ATA Carnet System when the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce hosted an ATA Carnet workshop in Manama, organized by the ATA Carnet Guarantee Association of the United Arab Emirates and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
ATA Carnets are international customs documents that allow goods to enter signatory countries and their territories tax- and duty-free for up to one year. (USCIB administers the Carnet system in the United States.) Bahrain ratified the international convention governing temporary admission of goods last year and has been working with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce to understand and work towards implementing the system.
The United States already has a strong trade relationship with Bahrain which was cemented in 2006 with signing of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement. “Though the FTA has nurtured the relationship between Bahrain and the United States, there is still room for additional growth,” according to Cynthia Duncan, USCIB’s senior vice president for trade services. Signs of this continued growth can be seen by Bahrain moving towards implementing ATA Carnet, she said.
Though the FTA eliminates most customs duties between the two countries, it does not prevent the imposition of import taxes on U.S. goods entering Bahrain. Full implementation of the ATA Carnet system will allow for both duty- and tax-free import and export for goods traveling on a temporary basis for sales meetings, demonstrations and/or trade shows. Once orders are secured with the help of the ATA Carnet, these same exporters can then take advantage of the FTA incentives.
Since the signing of the US-Bahrain FTA, bilateral trade has increased to more than $1.6 billion, as this agreement has allowed U.S. suppliers to be price-competitive in the region. Companies such as Harley-Davidson have eagerly taken advantage of new export opportunities under the FTA. The FTA has also created new opportunities for U.S. financial services, since Bahrain is a financial hub in the Middle East.
Bahrain is currently our 85th largest trading partner with $1.9 billion in two way trade of goods. More importantly to note that goods exported to Bahrain in 2012 totaled $1.2 billion giving the U.S. a goods trade surplus with Bahrain of $508 million. ATA Carnet implementation will only help continue to grow our trade relationship and specifically our exports to Bahrain.
Staff contact: Amanda Barlow