India has become the 71st country to ratify the United Nations TIR Convention, that will boost trade and regional integration across South Asia and beyond, fast-tracking the region’s potential to become a strategic trade hub. TIR is the global standard for goods customs transit managed and developed by IRU — the world road transport organisation. “I am delighted to welcome India into the TIR family of nations. This is an important step in harmonising standards and boosting transport, trade and development across South Asia,” IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto said. China was the last TIR contracting party who acceded to the Convention on July 6, 2016.
The accession to the TIR Convention is part of India’s multi-modal transport strategy that aims to integrate the economy with global and regional production networks through better connectivity, IRU said in a statement. TIR will help India to integrate with Myanmar and Thailand as well as Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. It will also enable India to move cargo along the International North-South Transport Corridor via Chabahar port in Iran, to access land-locked Afghanistan and the energy-rich Eurasian region.
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The United Nations has said the TIR Convention will come into force in India in six months and IRU will begin work with Indian partners on training, development and outreach efforts to facilitate prompt implementation. Elaborating further, Kazem Asayesh, Senior Adviser on TIR and Trade Facilitation said: “The TIR system has been facilitating trade and international road transport for over 60 years, by allowing customs-sealed vehicles and freight containers to transit countries, without border checks”.
In financial terms also, the benefits would be significant. According to a study in the UNESCAP region, it is estimated that implementing TIR could generate economic benefits ranging from 0.14 to 1.31 per cent of national GDP. Adopting TIR in selected UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) countries including India will save USD 35 billion in transit costs over five years, Asayesh said.