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UN Secretary General reminds UN member states of the fundamental role of TIR during COVID-19
Global | Geneva

UN Secretary General reminds UN member states of the fundamental role of TIR during COVID-19

21 Apr 2020

In the UN’s recent report “Shared responsibility, global responsibility: responding to socio-economic effect of COVID-19”, Secretary General António Guterres stressed the vital contribution of TIR and digital solutions to global trade particularly in the time of COVID-19.

A key trade facilitation tool during COVID-19

Managed by IRU under UN mandate, TIR is the only global transit solution. With 76 Contracting Parties around the world, TIR enables goods to be shipped from a country of origin, through transit countries, to a country of destination via a multilateral, mutually recognised system.

As a response to the present COVID-19 crisis, the UN Secretary General stated that: “Innovative tools such as UN eTIR/eCMR systems and other tools that allow to exchange electronic information without physical contact and facilitate the flow of goods across borders should be used”.

This is a direct response to IRU’s letter to Mr Guterres, in which Secretary General Umberto de Pretto asked the UN Secretary General to encourage Member States “to use the UN TIR Convention and related IT tools, which allows for transport in a secure load compartment carried out under customs control, and, therefore, does not required physical checks and therefore reduces contact between people at the border”.

TIR’s benefits

By using the TIR system during the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities and companies are able to:

  • Protect drivers and customs officers as there are no physical checks or unloading/loading of cargo at borders
  • Accelerate the border crossing process via dedicated green lanes to allow the fast transport of essential goods and everyday supplies
  • Have access to paperless solutions through eTIR that offers tracking of shipments at all times, thus reducing the risk of fraud
  • Benefit from IRU’s global reach via its unique network of members to promptly address any TIR issues
  • Enjoy financial guarantees thanks to the international global TIR guarantee chain that provides up to EUR 100,000 per operation to customs authorities

“Innovative tools such as UN eTIR/eCMR systems and other tools that allow to exchange electronic information without physical contact and facilitate the flow of goods across borders should be used”

António Guterres
UN Secretary General

Global recognition of TIR’s role

The importance of TIR to the continuity of trade and the global economy has also been noted in the recently published Economic Cooperation Organization’s guidelines on international cross-border facilitation during COVID-19, developed with the support of IRU. These guidelines focus on making sure that the UN TIR Convention and related IT tools are applied uniformly in this time of global crisis, mitigating the impacts of supply chain restrictions and allowing unhindered passage for truck drivers to maintain the flow of essential supplies.  

The World Customs Organization’s Private Sector Consultative Group has similarly issued a global paper on the impact of COVID-19 in which it elaborates on TIR’s vital role in ensuring that medical supplies and everyday goods get to those who need them.

A vital instrument to relaunching trade

With several countries now having passed the peak of their coronavirus outbreaks and seeking to resume certain sectors of the economy, TIR presents the best means of supporting the post COVID-19 recovery phase.

TIR cuts transport times by nearly 60% and costs by up to 40%. These advantages can be put to good use to resume trade flows safely and securely, and support global, regional and national efforts to restart the economy as quickly as possible.

“A global crisis such as COVID-19 requires global action. TIR offers just that kind of global response,” commented Mr de Pretto. “The TIR system provides the best solution to ensuring safe and secure trade flows during and post COVID-19.” 

“I appreciate that the Secretary General of the UN reminds governments worldwide that TIR is the only global transit facilitation tool which has been the safest, most secure and efficient way to move goods around the world for more than 70 years,” Mr de Pretto concluded.

 

Photo courtesy of antonioguterres.gov.pt