India has become the 71st country to ratify the United Nations TIR Convention. Managed and developed by IRU, the world road transport organisation, TIR is the only global customs transit system.
The milestone decision puts India and her neighbours at the centre of efforts to increase overland trade and regional integration across South Asia and beyond, fast-tracking the region’s potential to become a strategic trade hub.
The accession to the TIR Convention is part of India’s multi-modal transport strategy that aims to integrate the economy with global and regional production networks through better connectivity.
Umberto de Pretto, IRU Secretary General said, “I am delighted to welcome India into the TIR family of nations. This is an important step in harmonising standards and boosting transport, trade and development across South Asia.”
“We look forward to working closely with the Indian government and business community as we turn our attention now to implementing the TIR system,” he added.
TIR will be critical in helping India implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which entered into force this year.
The Convention will also facilitate India’s current national and multilateral connectivity-related initiatives to improve cross border road transport, facilitating overland trade integration with its neighbours.
TIR will help India to integrate with Myanmar and Thailand as well as Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. It will also enable India to move cargo along the International North-South Transport Corridor via Chabahar port in Iran, to access landlocked Afghanistan and the energy-rich Eurasian region.
The system secures customs duties and taxes and provides a robust guarantee mechanism, thereby reducing trade transaction costs, and facilitating higher growth of intra-regional and inter-regional trade.
Boris Blanche, Chief Operations Officer at IRU, explained, “India’s decision to implement the TIR system will have far reaching benefits for trade and will save significant time and money by streamlining procedures at borders, reducing administration and cutting border waiting times”.
The United Nations has confirmed that the TIR Convention will enter into force in India in six months and IRU will begin work with Indian partners on training, development and outreach efforts to facilitate prompt implementation.