FICCI organises webinar on ‘UN TIR System and its benefits of expansion to Bangladesh and other BBN countries’ jointly with IRU, Geneva, ICC Bangladesh and FFAI

New Delhi: Mr Satyajit Mohanty, Joint Secretary & Commissioner of Customs, Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) today said, “TIR is one of the oldest established and functioning convention and India being a party to it has lot of potential to push trade and connectivity to a very different level.”

Addressing a webinar on ‘UN TIR’ system and its benefits of expansion to Bangladesh and other BBIN countries’, organized by FICCI, jointly with IRU, Geneva, ICC Bangladesh and the Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Association in India (FFFAI), Mr Mohanty added that accession and adoption to a global convention like TIR can promote seamless cross-border movement of cargo vehicles in much lesser timeframe. It also gets rid of a lot of procedural formalities and inspection of goods at the cross borders.

Mr Khairul Kabir Mia, First Secretary, National Board of Revenue (NBR), Bangladesh stated that the Government of Bangladesh will explore the possibilities of accessing to TIR which has a lot of advantages for customs authorities in both the countries. It significantly simplifies the transit procedure, while effectively protecting the revenue of the state, he added.

Mr Satish Kumar Reddy, Consultant, ADB talked about the existing transit system in Bangladesh and other BBIN countries and suggested TIR could be an alternative for the region. He suggested that the government of Bangladesh should look into the possibilities of conducting a dry run for better understanding before accession to the convention.

Mr Kazem Asayesh, IRU, Geneva said, “The International Road Transport Union was very pleased to acknowledge the interest shown by trading industry in India and Bangladesh towards the TIR procedure. IRU will continue to support all stakeholders involved in the implementation of TIR and its electronic version – eTIR. This will enable trade actors and customs to benefit from the immense advantages provided by the TIR Convention.” He further stated that corridors such as BCIM and BIMSTEC can be activated under the TIR systems.

Mr AK Azad, Vice President of ICC Bangladesh said, “A seamless transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh has the potential to increase national income by as much as 17 per cent in Bangladesh and 8 per cent in India as per the World Bank’s latest report on ‘Connecting to Thrive: Challenges and Opportunities of Transport Integration in Eastern South Asia.” He further added that the trade has been limited by several factors such as inadequate road, marine, and air transport. “Other constraints include protective tariffs, real and perceived non-tariff barriers, restrictions on investments, and a broad trust deficit throughout the region,” he added.

Mr Shankar Shinde, President-Elect, FFFAI and Mr Kabir Ahmed, President, Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association (BAFFA) talked about the Challenges and Opportunities in BBIN corridor.

One of the main agenda of the visit of Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi to Dhaka on the eve Bangladesh’s 50th Independence Day on 26 March is to strengthen the regional connectivity between India and Bangladesh. Given the significance of TIR in boosting regional connectivity, and India’s successful implementation to the convention, both Government of India and Bangladesh can work together to expand the system to Bangladesh and other BBIN countries to opt for TIR in the context of the current BBIN MVA.

TIR is the only global customs transit system for moving goods across international borders. Supporting trade and development for more than 60 years, it is governed by the United Nations TIR Convention, overseen by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and managed by IRU, Geneva. TIR stands for ‘Transports Internationaux Routiers’. One of the most successful international transport conventions, TIR makes border crossings faster, more secure and more efficient, reducing transport costs, and boosting trade and development.

India acceded to the United Nations TIR Convention in June 2017 and entered into Force in December 2017. FICCI has been functioning as National Guaranteeing Association for the operation of TIR System in India similar to ATA Carnet.

The Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA) is one of the major initiatives by the Government of India to pave way for a seamless movement of people and goods across their borders for the benefit and integration of the BBIN region and its economic development.

TIR can significantly improve the effectiveness and robustness of the MVA in the region by establishing effective transit procedures among the four countries and will help BBIN countries to connect with other regions such as Middle East, Central Asia and Europe.