The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia back in the TIR Customs transit system
As of 1 December 2001 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will rejoin the TIR Customs transit system. From this date foreign TIR approved heavy goods vehicles will be able to transit to, from and through the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia using the internationally standardized TIR procedure, which provides for efficient transport and Customs facilitation. Vice versa, Yugoslav TIR approved vehicles will also be able to carry out international goods transport to foreign countries using the TIR procedure.
The occasion will be marked by a press conference organized by the Yugoslav Federal Customs Administration with the participation of UNECE on Friday, 30 November 2001 at 14.00 in Belgrade. Furthermore, a ceremony and TIR demonstration will take place on 1 December 2001 at 11.00 at the Yugoslav/Croatian border crossing Batrovci/Lipovac (E70).
"The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is an important transit country linking South-Eastern Europe with the rest of Europe" says Mr. Martin Magold, TIR Secretary and Chief of the Border Crossing Facilitation Section of the UNECE Transport Division. "Since 1992 the UNECE administered TIR Convention has not been applicable in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This has meant that border crossing procedures for goods entering, transiting or leaving the country are complicated, time consuming and costly. Yugoslav transporters have faced similar difficulties abroad. According to information received by the UNECE the impossibility to transit through Yugoslavia during recent years using the TIR procedure has typically added around 1,500 euros to the cost of a transport between South-Eastern and Western Europe."
Speaking about the future, Mr. Magold pointed out that "with the decision of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to accede on 12 March 2001 to the TIR Convention international road transport and trade will be able to move efficiently to, from and through this country."
In addition to the legal formalities a number of practical arrangements have been put in place by the Yugoslav Federal Customs Administration and private national associations (Chamber of Commerce) in order for the TIR procedures to enter back into force, in particular the conclusion of agreements with international insurers, the authorization of national associations and transport operators in line with the requirements of the TIR Convention and the training of hundreds of Customs officials and employees of transport and freight forwarding companies.
In July 2001 the UNECE and TIR secretariats have conducted a TIR training seminar in Belgrade for senior Customs officials and heads of regional and local Customs offices. The Yugoslav Federal Customs Administration has recruited around 1,600 new Customs officers during the last few months, which need to be trained on all aspects of modern Customs procedures.
Further information on the TIR Customs transit system is available at the TIR web site administered by the UNECE and TIR secretariats:
For more information, please contact:
Jose Capel Ferrer, Director, or
Martin M. Magold, TIR Secretary and
Chief, Border Crossing Facilitation Section
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
Palais des Nations
CH – 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Background information on the TIR Customs transit system
The TIR Convention, which is presently used by more than 32,000 transport companies in more than 50 countries in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, allows road transport operators to cross borders in international and transit traffic without major procedures and costs involved. The TIR system can be used at present for transport from Norway to Iran (North-South direction) and from Kazakhstan to Portugal (East-West direction). Thousands of lorries in Europe carry the familiar blue and white TIR plate and indicate that they are using the TIR Customs transit procedure (more than 2.3 million TIR operations are carried out per year).
Traditionally when goods are in transit or are transported from one country to another, Customs authorities apply national controls and procedures to cover duties and taxes at risk, i.e. to avoid that the goods are sold on the black market without payment of Customs duties, sales taxes and/or value-added tax upon their importation or transit. These measures vary from country to country, but usually involve at each border crossing the opening of the load compartment of the lorry, inspection of the cargo, imposition of security (guarantee, bond, etc.), the filling-in and processing of national Customs and transport documents, etc.
The application of the TIR Convention provides for an internationally recognized and accepted Customs transit regime with an internationally standardized and secured Customs document (TIR Carnet), an international guarantee cover in case of irregularities as well as harmonized Customs procedures limited, in most cases, to a standard visual external control of the sealed load compartment of the lorry and processing of the TIR Carnet. Thus, Customs authorities can reduce their manpower to a few administrative controls while transport operators and traders can make use of inexpensive, fast and secure border crossing procedures, often with special channels reserved for TIR operations only.
The TIR Customs transit system is supervised by an intergovernmental machinery, the TIR Executive Board (TIRExB) and its TIR secretariat which is located in the UNECE headquarters in Geneva (Transport Division). More than 32,000 authorized transport companies are registered at present with the TIRExB and its TIR secretariat, which also ensure regular exchange of information and intelligence among participating Customs authorities to avoid misuse of the TIR system by smugglers and organized crime.