IRU delegation urges Russia to end scrapping of TIR crisis

4 March 2014

An International Road Transport Union (IRU) delegation has met senior Russian politicians and business representatives in a bid to ease the deadlock over the country’s scrapping of the TIR carnet system.

The IRU delegation, led by head of TIR, Marek Retelski, met deputy transport minister of the Russian Federation, Nikolay Asaul, who said that the Russian Ministry of Transport wants to fully reinstate the TIR system in Russia for the long-term.

During the visit, the IRU delegation also briefed stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance, Eurasian Economic Commission, Russian media and business representatives about the seriousness of scrapping TIR and the potential losses for the Russian economy.

TIR stands for Transports Internationaux Routiers or International Road Transport and is an international transit system based on the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) established in 1947 to encourage member state cooperation.

The system, which has 68 parties to the agreement, including 67 states and the EU, supports trade and international road transport by allowing customs-sealed vehicles and freight containers to cross countries without border checks. A simplified procedure is used for providing a financial guarantee for customs duties.

The IRU delegation followed news reports that Russia arbitrarily scrapped its involvement with the TIR Convention last August. Although no formal ending of the TIR Convention took place, actions and legal changes announced by Russia since create the same outcome.

The Russian action, which includes member states of its Customs Union – Kazakhstan and Belarus – means that it will no longer treat TIR carnets as sufficient customs duty guarantees.

As a result, freight carriers have to obtain new guarantees to secure customs duties as Russia reportedly starts a new system of customs guarantees which will be binding with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus and separate from the TIR convention.

No news is so far available on the cost of the replacement guarantee although the IRU says that it will “most probably” be significantly higher than the current TIR cost.

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