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Introduction

The TIR Convention facilitates the international carriage of goods from one or more customs offices of departure to one or more customs offices of destination (up to a total of four customs offices departure and destination) and through as many countries as necessary. As a rule, the vehicle remains sealed throughout the TIR transport and, thus, goods are generally not inspected at border crossings. However, customs authorities remain entitled to perform inspections whenever they suspect irregularities or randomly. The Convention applies to transports with road vehicles, combinations of vehicles as well as containers and allows for the use of the TIR Carnet for all modes of transport, provided that some portion of the journey is made by road. This, of course, requires a number of precautionary measures, such as strict customs control and secure sealing at the customs office of departure. The TIR Convention also contains specific technical requirements for the construction of the load compartments of vehicles or containers, in order to avoid smuggling. In addition, only carriers authorized by customs are allowed to transport goods under the TIR procedure. To cover the customs duties and taxes at risk throughout the journey, the Convention has established an international guaranteeing chain which is managed by the International Road Transport Union (IRU). IRU is also responsible for the printing and distribution of the so-called TIR Carnet, which serves both as international Customs document and proof of guarantee. The overall supervision of the TIR Convention and its application in all Contracting Parties falls under the responsibility of the TIR Administrative Committee, an inter-governmental body comprising all Contracting Parties and its TIR Executive Board (TIRExB), composed of nine elected members, each from a different Contracting Party. Since more than sixty years, the TIR Convention significantly contributes to the facilitation of international transport and trade throughout the UNECE region. In addition, more and more countries from beyond the UNECE region (North Africa, Middle East, Asia) have joined the TIR Convention in recent years or are considering acceding to it.