The TIR system is based on six main principles:
- 1. The goods are carried in secure road vehicles (including trailers, semi-trailers), or in containers that have been approved for Customs sealing under the TIR Convention. The only exception to this rule is if the goods are designated as heavy and bulky goods; this must be noted on the goods manifest of the TIR Carnet;
- 2. The Customs duties and taxes at risk in each TIR operational country are covered up to a fixed amount by an internationally valid guarantee represented by the TIR Carnet;
- 3- 3. The goods are documented on and accompanied by a TIR Carnet which is the harmonised Customs declaration;
- 4- 4. Customs control measures applied in the country of departure should be accepted by the countries of transit and destination;
- 5- 5. Access to use the TIR system is controlled by the Customs authorities and the national transport Associations. National associations wishing to issue and guarantee TIR Carnets must fulfil minimum financial and commercial conditions and requirements before authorisation is granted. Similarly, transport operators wishing to use TIR Carnets must be of sound financial standing and must have no record of serious or repeated offences against Customs or tax legislation. The minimum admission requirements must be fulfilled before access is granted to both Associations and transport operators. Parts I and II of Annex 9 to the TIR Convention refer;
- 6- 6. Electronic information confirming the partial or final termination of all TIR operations must be sent to the international organisation (the IRU) by each Customs authority where the unloading takes place (This is known as SafeTIR termination data. Details are contained in Annex 10 to the TIR Convention).
For the Customs authorities
- duties and taxes at risk are guaranteed (currently up to USD 50,000/EUR60,000 in the EU);
- only authorised transport operators are permitted to use TIR Carnets, thus reducing risks;
- the need for physical inspection of goods in transit is greatly reduced;
- the system facilitates Customs control and documentation; and use of inland Customs offices for the application of export and import controls allows more efficient deployment of Customs personnel and avoids congestion at the border.
aining the ability to apply the TIR system is a two phase process. First, governments of the interested countries must deposit the necessary instrument of accession to the TIR Convention with the United Nations in New York. If there is no objection during the 6 months that follow, countries then become Contracting Parties to the TIR Convention, allowing them to attend certain relevant meetings and to discuss the TIR system. If a Contracting Party then wishes to use the TIR system on its territory then it must have fulfilled all the contractual arrangements that have to be established in relation to the Association, the national Customs authorities, the IRU, the Holders and the financial institutions. Only then can TIR transport operations take place on that Customs territory. A list of Contracting Parties and TIR operational countries along with the names of the national TIR Associations can be found at the following page:
A Carnet de Passage is a separate Customs transit scheme that is used in some countries to enable the temporary import of vehicles without the payment of Customs duties and taxes. The scheme is administered by Alliance Internationale de Tourisme & Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (AIT/FIA) in Geneva, Switzerland, and it is provided in UAE by the ATCUAE, click here for more information
Under Article 15 of the TIR Convention, a Carnet de Passage should not normally be required for the temporary importation, and re-exportation of vehicles covered by a TIR Carnet.
The TIR Carnet Holder must ensure that the TIR Carnet, the approved vehicle and the goods are properly presented to the relevant Customs offices at departure, en route and at destination. He must take reasonable steps to ensure that the TIR Carnet declaration of the goods corresponds to the goods actually being transported. If any of these responsibilities are not met, the Holder will be held accountable for paying the duties and taxes on the goods that are being transported, should they become due during the course of a TIR operation and may, in addition, be:
- Penalised by the imposition of fines or penalties; and/or
- Held financially responsible for the unlimited payment of all duties and taxes liable on the goods which, due to his action, have not been discharged by Customs.
If the payment of duties and taxes becomes due, Customs must first approach the Holder or other person directly liable for payment. Only if this approach fails then they may contact the national guaranteeing Association. All national TIR Associations are members of the IRU umbrella scheme that guarantees payment of duties and taxes that may become due in any TIR operational country. Each Association guarantees duties and taxes at risk for foreign and national TIR Carnet Holders on their territory, thus all national guaranteeing Associations constitute a guarantee chain linking all TIR countries. This chain of guarantee was devised in order to ensure that Customs duties and taxes at risk during a TIR transport are covered at any moment by a national guaranteeing association. This is backed up by financial institutions. Today the only existing guaranteeing chain for TIR is administered and backed by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) in Geneva, Switzerland. Full details are given in the introduction to the TIR Handbook.
The Customs office of entry into the country of destination would notice that the consignment didn’t arrive at the destination as the certificate of termination was not returned within the specified time limits. They would check Cute-Wise to see if SafeTIR data is available from the Customs office of destination. If it was not available, then Customs would:
- Make inquiries with the Holder and consignee, for an explanation of the discrepancy; if no satisfactory explanation is provided then Customs would: make a payment request to the person directly liable for payment (consignee or Holder) in accordance with article 8.7 of TIR Convention. If Customs cannot recover the duties and taxes from the Holder, they will:
- Notify the national TIR guaranteeing Association of a possible claim for duties and taxes due as soon as possible but normally within one (1) year of taking the TIR Carnet into charge.
- Make a payment request to the TIR guaranteeing Association and continue to request payment from the person directly liable (consignee or Holder) in accordance with article 8.7 of the TIR Convention.
This list is regularly adjusted but currently includes meat, livestock, milk, powdered milk, butter, margarine and sugar. In these cases the TIR Carnet Holder must deposit an additional high-risk guarantee amounting to USD 50,000.
(i) Alcohol and derived products except for beer or wine (prohibited goods are classified under HS Codes 22.07.10 and 22.08);
(ii) tobacco and derived products except for raw tobacco (prohibited goods are classified under HS Codes 24.02.10, 24.02.20 and 24.03.10).
Two situations must be distinguished:
- 1. If the TIR Carnet holder only uses the vehicle of another company (but not the driver), this situation is possible, as long as all possible multilateral or bilateral transport agreements are fulfilled.
- 2. However, if the holder uses the vehicle and the driver of another company, then this is a sub-contractor situation.
In this case, the provisions of Section 7 of Part I of the Association's TIR Manual shall be applied, according to which:
- the TIR Carnet Holder must sign an Addendum to the Declaration of Engagement towards the association, accepting his liability for the TIR operations carried out by his sub-contractors;
- the actual user of the TIR Carnet is in a direct contractual relationship with the holder named in box 3 of the TIR Carnet and is transporting goods on the latter’s behalf;
- prior to any TIR operation, the TIR Carnet Holder must present a list of sub-contractors to his TIR association for approval. The Association shall check that the sub-contractors of this list have not been excluded or suspended or refused from the TIR system;
- the following reference must appear in box 11 of the TIR Carnet cover: "XXX (sub-contractor name) acting on behalf of YYY (name of Holder) as a sub-contractor".
In accordance with the "Rules regarding the use of the TIR Carnet" (written in the TIR Carnet itself) it is stipulated in the item 12:Signature: All vouchers (items 14 and 15) must be dated and signed by the Holder of the TIR Carnet or his agent. It is stipulated in the TIR Carnet Holder's Manual, Section 5, item 4, second bullet point:
- complete boxes 2-12 and sign and date boxes 14 and 15 on all "volets" including the yellow manifest. Therefore, it is best if the Holder signs the TIR Carnet, event though it can be quite time-comsuming.