TIR Convention

TIR can be used in the EU when the movement either starts or ends in a third country, or where the goods move between two or more States via the territory of a third country. The TIR System facilitates, to the greatest possible extent, the movement in international trade while protecting the revenue of each State through which goods are passed.

The TIR system provides for the movement of goods under customs seal, in approved road vehicles or containers, across one or more frontiers. It is a requirement that some portion of the journey between the beginning and end of the operation must be made by road.

TIR plates must be displayed on the vehicle during the TIR operation. Each container must have a TIR approved plate permanently affixed.

TIR System

If a journey begins outside the European Union, the Transport International Routers (TIR) procedure can be used for movements to and from countries that are contracting parties to the TIR Convention.   The goods must travel by road in approved vehicles and containers under custom seal accompanied by a TIR carnet document.  The importer or his freight forwarder must be authorised to use the TIR. Potential taxes and duties on the goods must be guaranteed.

The TIR procedure is similar to the Community Transit System.  Approved vehicles and containers must be used.  The vehicles must be secure, suitable for sealing and have permanent identification marks.  The vehicles must contain and display the commonly seen TIR plates.  A guarantee must be taken out.

If goods are entered under the TIR System, a carnet must be obtained from the granting authority.  This is the Road Haulage Association in the UK.  This TIR carnet is evidence that the carrier has a basic criteria of financial standing and knowledge of the TIR System. The carnet must be presented to the customs office of departure transit and destination. Once the journey is completed, the guarantee is returned to the guaranteeing authority.

Since 1993, the EU has been a single territory for the TIR convention.  Therefore TIR carnets are not used for movements between EU Member States.   If the journey is routed through a non-EU State or there is a split delivery to destinations within or outside  the EU, a TIR carnet may be used.

Certain goods are prohibited from using this system. Broadly speaking they are excisable alcohol and tobacco goods.

ATA Carnets I

The ATA Carnet is an international document used under International Conventions between countries.  The Carnet enables goods to be temporarily taken in and out of the EU for certain temporary purposes, without having to complete custom declarations and formalities which would usually be required.  They are not mandatory but are convenient in that they simplify customs clearance.   Security needs to be lodged in each country, through which the goods pass.

An ATA Carnet must be applied for in advance.  Security must be lodged at the highest amount of duty and tax that would have to be paid on the journey at any point.   The way Carnets are issued vary from country to country.   The application requires explanation as to what it is going to be used for, details of the main holder and the route.

ATA Carnets II

Sixty one countries recognise ATA Carnets.  They can only be used where they are recognised by the originating destination and intermediate countries.  Export and transit procedures will apply where ATA Carnet goods which are brought into a non-convention country.

Goods which are covered by the ATA Carnet and leave the EU for a third non EU country must have a Carnet every time they cross the frontier of a signatory country.  It must be shown when the goods first leave the country of export.  Custom officers will certify the document, endorse and remove the exportation voucher and stamp the counterfoil.

The Carnet must be presented to customs at the port or airport of arrival.  Customs then endorse the importation voucher and stamp the counterfoil.  If goods are imported into the UK from a third country or the goods are included in a passengers baggage, the Carnet must be presented at the red channel in the airport or ferry port.

If goods are to be released into circulation or are used or sold in another EU country it is necessary to explain why this is the case, complete the normal customs declaration and pay the import duties and VAT. It may be necessary to pay compensatory interest so that one does not get an advantage over competitors who have paid duty at the time of import.  There are restrictions, prohibitions and licensing controls that apply to certain  imported goods in the UK.  These also apply to temporarily imported goods.

Qualifying Goods

The following are some of the categories of goods that may be imported under the ATA carnet procedure:-

  • goods for display at exhibition fair meetings;
  • professional equipment for broadcasting;
  • samples;
  • advertising films;
  • printed and developed film for promotional purposes;
  • media with sound recorded dubbing or reproduction;
  • certain advertising or publicity articles;
  • media reels for carrying data;
  • production equipment on temporary loan;
  • goods for cultural purposes;
  • personal effects;
  • welfare materials for sea farers;
  • sports goods for contests, demonstrations and training;
  • tourism publicity material.

Live animals can be moved under an ATA Carnet if they are imported for training, breeding, weighing, medical purposes, grazing, rescue operations, are used for police dogs etc.

Non Qualifying Goods

The following are not permitted under ATA Carnet:

  • consumable and perishable goods
  • goods for sale or auction
  • goods temporarily imported for processing or repair
  • goods imported or exported by post educational or scientific materials
  • packaging materials, containers and pallets
  • means of transport imported for use in the UK (such as cars etc)
  • goods subject to an export refund or CAP refund
  • alcoholic beverages, tobacco goods and fuel

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