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Japan: Temporary Entry Information

Japanese product standards, importing regulations, retaliatory tariffs, restricted and prohibited imports information, etc.

Japan: Temporary Entry Information

Postby bridgat » Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:26 am

Temporary Entry

There are many instances when companies will send an item to another country for a temporary stay. These include commercial samples and advertising materials for trade shows as well as products being returned for repair, testing, or instrumentation, to name a few. In general, there are two ways to reduce or eliminate incurring duties (and in some cases taxes) when shipping goods for temporary entry to Japan: 1) purchase an ATA Carnet or 2) apply for a refund upon re-exportation of the goods. The following is an overview of both options.

To reduce or eliminate import duties when shipping a product for temporary entry into Japan, companies may purchase an ATA Carnet. An ATA Carnet is an international customs document that allows temporary duty free admission of goods into Japan (and other countries). To avoid paying duties (and a penalty fee) products imported into Japan under an ATA Carnet must be re-exported within one year (or within the terms of the Carnet). Companies are required to purchase an ATA Carnet prior to exporting the product from the United States. To learn more about this method and the associated fees – as well as whether it is an appropriate option for your purposes – contact the United States Council for International Business ( by telephone at (212) 354-4480 or by e-mail at

The Japanese also will refund import duties paid at the time of entry if the goods are re-exported and meet the requirements promulgated in the “Systems for Reduction, Exemption, Refund, and Repayment of Customs Duty.” For example, under Article 19-3, when goods that have been imported with payment of customs duty are re-exported from Japan without any change in nature and form from at the time of importation, the customs duty previously paid may be refunded within one year from the date of their import permit.

Additionally, if an ATA Carnet is not used, it is important to register with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) any products temporarily leaving the United States. This must be done at the time of export from the United States. The required document is the Certificate of Registration (CBP Form 4455). Include this document with all other export documentation and keep a copy for your records. Make sure the entity in the foreign country includes this certificate with the shipping documentation when the item is re-exported to the United States. By registering goods with CBP, companies establish a means to demonstrate that the same product that exited is being returned and import duties and fees will not be charged (if all laws and regulations are followed).
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