The TIR (“Transports Internationaux Routiers”) customs convention is designed to facilitate the international transport of goods by road. It uses the TIR carnet, a standardised international customs document, to regulate the transport of goods.
Thanks to the TIR carnet, goods can be transported through any number of countries who have signed up to the convention. It serves no purpose, however, in cases where goods are only being transported within the area covered by the EC. In Switzerland, the TIR carnet is issued by ASTAG, the Swiss road transport association (‹www.astag.ch›). This body’s website also features a ‹list› (pdf) of the 54 associations responsible for issuing the carnet in other countries.
The legal basis for the TIR system is the convention on the international transport of goods using TIR carnets (“TIR Convention 1975”) of 14th November 1975, which was signed by 65 parties including the Member States of the European Community. In practice, however, it is only possible to use the TIR carnet to transport goods in the 54 countries that have nationally approved associations with the ability to act as guarantors (as at 1st May 2004).