Addressing the 3rd Transport International Routine (TIR) National Conference in Kabul on Wednesday, deputy minister of transport and civil aviation for policy Sayed Wali Sultan said government plans to review the TIR agreements to find a solution to the challenges facing the Afghan business community.
“There are certain countries which do not issue visas for our drivers and do not allow our businessmen to transfer their products, therefore the ministry of transport and civil aviation plans to review the TIR agreements,” he said.
MoTCA officials have said that the ministry of transport also plans to implement more programs in this sector in view of opportunities that have opened up for Afghanistan through the Word Trade Organization (WTO).
“Activating and implementing the TIR Convention in Afghanistan is a national priority that will help facilitate acceleration in trade and transit,” said Afghanistan’s Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Dr. Mohammaddullah Batash. “With the use the TIR carnet, goods will no longer need to undergo complex customs procedures or be held up at the border.”
Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has said that the TIR system is an excellent opportunity to integrate the region economically.
“Afghanistan’s use of the TIR system is an excellent vehicle to further integrate the region, ensuring regional powers in Asia have a peaceful stake in Afghanistan’s future,” said USAID Mission Director Herbie Smith.
“TIR also reflects the country’s commitment to global rules of the road. This was confirmed by the hard work that led to the country’s World Trade Organization accession in 2017.”
“The lack of cooperation between government institutions when it comes to the utilization of TIR, the lack of implementation of multilateral agreements with TIR member nations, the lack of commercial sites for TIR and visa problems for drivers are among key factors that undermines the implementation of TIR,” said Younus Mohmand, deputy head of Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI).
“The ministry of finance has undertaken a number of initiatives to use TIR which include the TIR management body at customs centers and the introduction of Torkham, Hairatan, Aqina, Sher Khan Bandar, Kabul, Herat, Balkh and Kunduz customs centers to the World Trade Organization and the further development of these customs centers ,” said deputy minister of finance Shafiqullah Qarizada.
According to ACCI, the lack of programs in place to take better advantage of the TIR, the lack of information among drivers about the laws around TIR and the lack of an effective program within government for the better utilization of opportunities and other challenges are among the key issues that have had a negative effect on the issue for the Afghan business community.
What is TIR?
TIR is the world’s only universal transit system, allowing truck drivers to safely move goods across borders with minimal delay while saving much-needed time and money for customs authorities.
Afghanistan - a TIR member
Afghanistan became a member of the TIR Convention in 1975, but after decades of conflict, the country only reactivated TIR in 2013 and is now beginning to implement its procedures. Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has made the country’s potential transit operations a national priority for government. During the conference, representatives from the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation and the Afghanistan Customs Department spoke on efforts to leverage the country’s transit potential to boost trade and government revenue.