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IRU to help build connectivity within the Belt and Road

By Liu Xuan | | Updated: 2017-05-14 23:24

The main purpose of the Belt and Road Initiative is to drive progress, prosperity and peace by interconnecting everyone, said Umberto de Pretto, secretary general of the International Road Transportation Union, who is attending the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

"The moment we have economic development, people aren't interested in conflict. This is what it's about when we have connectivity," Pretto said. "To have this connectivity, you must go through road transportation."

As a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has 14 border countries, giving it huge potential in the field of international road transportation.

However, China now only has about 300 companies involved in road transportation, while that number reaches 60,000 in Poland.

Pretto indicated that IRU is willing to help China develop the market and improve clearance facilitation by implementing the TIR system, which governs international road transportation.

China has been a member of the TIR convention since July 2016. But so far, no Chinese company has joined the TIR system.

"The first step to get involved in the system is to find guarantee associations and then doing this together with customs and the ministry of transport," Pretto said. "Once we have the guarantee association, it will be a partnership between the association and customs to identify and to allow accredited operator into the system."

The TIR Convention is a multilateral treaty to simplify and harmonize the administrative formalities of international road transport.

Under the convention, vehicles of qualified transportation companies will no longer need to wait at customs for clearance when crossing borders. Instead, trucks with the TIR plate can go through customs as soon as customs checks the TIR certification and seals.

It will reduce going through customs by 30 percent to 80 percent, thus saving approximately 0.5 percent of the cost per day, according to an analysis co-issued by IRU and the University of International Business and Economics.

IRU has also signed on May 15 in Beijing a memorandum of understanding with the National Development and Reform Commission and Chinese customs to promote the development of international road transportation.

"When countries start to understand the economic and trade benefits of joining the TIR system, they will not want to wait for days and weeks before crossing the border," the secretary general said, referring to how IRU will deal with negotiations with countries during the interview.

Pretto also said he hopes the TIR will be implemented in China by the end of this year.

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