View Full Version : getting an epic into china with a carnet?

Caleb Heymann
01-16-2012, 01:55 PM
I've got a shoot coming up in Shanghai and I would like to use my carnet. but apparently they only accept the carnet for trade shows and exhibitions. Has anyone tried to take their own camera equipment temporarily for a shoot?

Any experience / advice would be greatly appreciated!

Eirik Tyrihjel
01-16-2012, 02:39 PM
I went to Bejing last year, I was suppose to bring my R1, but I chickened out and brought a 7D and an HDV cam instead... (assuming they are off the shelf items in any larger chineese city).

Nobody lifted en eye on me bringing those in, so in hindsight I think I should have just brought the Red One, I was there to shoot a convention (hired by the organisers, and I had an official letter of invitation).

Tai Wah Lim
01-16-2012, 03:05 PM
There is no carnet arrangement in China. Try your luck like Eirik and bring the Epic in illegally. If caught you will to have leave it at the port and pick it up before you leave, if the custom officer is lenient. Or rent one in China. There are a lot of Epic for rental in China. Lim

Caleb Heymann
01-17-2012, 12:34 AM
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I initially saw China on the list of Carnet countries on the ATA Carnet website and so planned on using a Carnet. I only found out last night that their carnet rules only apply to trade shows. I've got quite a lot of equipment in my kit, and wouldn't want to risk having it confiscated. Apparently having a letter of invitation from a Chinese production company can help, but the job is too big to take chances, so I guess we would have to rent. If anyone has successfully brought gear into China using a carnet and a letter of invitation, I'd love to know.

Hiroe Tanno
01-17-2012, 03:50 AM
We took in a Arri BL4 Kit with Cooke lens and a bunch of misc gear into Shanghai about 18 months ago.

We were on the way back from a low key shoot in Tokyo, spent about 3 weeks in China.

As there was a few of us travelling we carried as much as we could as carry on baggage, I took the Arri body in a carry on pelican. No issues in customs whatsoever. In fact they were quite curious about the camera itself.

We also had kids travelling with us, so we broke the gear down as much as possible.

Trying to shoot some low key external cut aways was another story all together, instant crowd magnet and not in a good way.

I probably wouldn't be checking in 6 x Pelican cases of equipment and hope to explain my way through Chinese customs.

However, I would feel comfortable about taking the Scarlet (When I get it) and the Cookes into China as carry on. After all it's a photographic camera.

We regard to other equipment, everything can cheaply rented.

Whatever you do, do not freight anything into China in advance. Expensive nightmare.

Hope that is of some help.

Marc Wielage
01-17-2012, 10:12 PM
Assuming you're traveling from the U.S. into China, there's info at this link on Carnets:


The basic deal is: you get a stamp from customs before you leave the US (get it before you check-In), another stamp from customs from your country of destination when you land. Then, another stamp from customs when you leave that country (before you check-in), and a fourth when you get back home to the US. The production should pay for all of this.

Make sure your insurance covers travel and business use in foreign countries, particularly against loss or breakage.

Leslie August
03-12-2012, 02:19 PM
Carnets may be used for your gear into China under certain circumstances. You would need to talk to a carnet specialist on a case-by-case basis: 800-ATA-2900. You need a separate document called a TECRO AIT Carnet (http://www.atacarnet.com/advisory/tecroait-carnet-taiwan) for Taiwan fyi.

Jack Cooper
03-12-2012, 02:52 PM

Certificates of Registrations are equally useful as Carnets and in some cases easier to deal with - depending on the circumstances. May be worth investigating. Our Houston staff uses them exclusively for European (Praque, London, Amsterdam), Asian (Thailand), Mexican, Central American, and Caribbean (Bahama's, Dominican Republic, Jamaica) travel.

Keep in mind, they just run down the road to the Custom's office located inside IAH. Given it's a gateway city, the folks are really nice there.

Leslie August
03-19-2012, 01:39 PM
Certificates of Registration are definitely easier to deal with than carnets but that's because they are only relevant to US Customs. Overseas they are not recognized. If you have gear that is truly personal effects then a CBP 4457 is fine. (The comparable form for commercial goods is the CBP 4455 (http://www.atacarnet.com/cbp-form-4455).) If you are taking gear for commercial purposes then clearing customs overseas and not declaring it as such is technically considered smuggling. It all depends on the level of risk you want to take, what the purpose of your trip is, whether a country accepts ATA Carnets, what the duty and tax rates are and whether you can afford to do without your gear should it get temporarily seized.

Leslie August
03-19-2012, 01:52 PM
China is a party to the ATA Carnet convention and they accept carnets for Exhibitions and Fairs as of 3/14/2006. They limit the time you can stay in China to 6 months. There are many circumstances where China customs will accept an ATA Carnet if a letter of invitation is provided from a Chinese company. In order to have this method work, you should contact a carnet specialist prior to requesting the letter of invitation so it is written with the correct terminology for customs purposes. Macau (http://www.atacarnet.com/advisory/macao-begin-accepting-ata-carnets) began accepting carnets for all 3 conventions, commercial samples/professional equipment/exhibitions and fairs, in 2010. Also you need a separate carnet for Taiwan called a TECRO AIT carnet (http://www.atacarnet.com/advisory/tecroait-carnet-taiwan) as they can't accept the ATA Carnets. Info@atacarnet.com or 800-ATA-2900