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Umberto de Pretto signing MoU with China Customs
Asia | Beijing

IRU joins forces with China ministries at Belt & Road Forum

14 May 2017

IRU has entered into two agreements, setting out an action plan for unleashing the potential of the international road transport industry in China, with TIR set to boost the total volume of trade among China and other major countries along the Belt & Road routes by 1.4%.

Cementing cooperation with China’s key economic planner – the National Development and Reform Commission – and with Customs of China, the agreements outline plans for strategic policy coordination and will be signed at China’s high level Belt & Road Forum, taking place in Beijing this weekend.

The separate agreements outline plans to collaborate on the standardisation of international legal and regulatory frameworks for trade and transport across the Belt & Road region, to achieve connectivity and unimpeded trade.

“IRU has been a strong supporter of China’s Belt & Road Initiative, and we will continue to work closely with the Chinese government and business community as we concentrate our efforts on implementing the TIR system to unleash China’s international road transport potential,” said Umberto de Pretto, IRU Secretary General. “The message of the Initiative is a powerful mandate that we share at IRU. Trade drives progress.” He added.

The Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation, brings together 30 heads of state and over 1,500 senior executives from business, international organisations and think-tanks to discuss six major topics on collaboration and mutually beneficial development, transport and trade.

The focus on trade and transport puts the spotlight on the need for the swift implementation of TIR. Despite its 14 bordering countries (the highest number in the world) China’s road transport currently accounts for only 10% of international goods transit – illustrating vast untapped potential.

Underscoring the country’s commitment to improve land and multimodal transport between Asia and Europe, China acceded to the TIR Convention in July last year. 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. 

TIR-operating countries around China, including Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia and Tajikistan, are set to see a boost to transport and trade when the system becomes operational. Countries along the Belt & Road route would save up to 80% of transport time and 30% in transit costs, representing USD13.5 billion – or 1.4% increase of the total volume of trade. 

IRU is represented at the OBOR forum by its president, Christian Labrot and secretary general, Umberto de Pretto, who will be present at a number of panels and meetings throughout the event.

Major Belt & Road trade routes