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Frequently asked questions

Question 1: Page 1 of the TIR Carnet: how will the signature of the holder be handled in the eTIR context?

Subject: Annex 1 of the TIR Convention

Answer: In general, signatures (International Transport Union (IRU), association, customs officers) are replaced by the security aspects related to the exchange of data. In the case of the sending of advance TIR data by the holder, his/her signature is replaced by authentication means provided for in national law, including electronic signatures. Communication between the eTIR international system and the customs administrations will also be secured to ensure that the information about the holder is genuine.

Question 2: Where will the rules regarding the use of the eTIR Carnet be provided?

Subject: Annex 1 of the TIR Convention

Answer: eTIR Carnet is not a concept used in the eTIR specifications. (see Art. 1 (s)). The rules regarding the use of the accompanying document are dealt within the eTIR specifications.

Question 3: What linguistic regime will be applied to the eTIR Carnet (English / French / Russian)?

Subject: Annex 1 of the TIR Convention

Answer: Translation can be requested as it is the case for the paper TIR Carnet.

Question 4: Page 2 of the TIR Carnet: how will the signature/stamp of customs authorities be handled in eTIR?

Subject: Annex 1 of the TIR Convention

Answer: In general, signatures (IRU, association, customs officers) are replaced by the security aspects related to the exchange of data. In the case of the sending of declaration data and TIR operations data by customs administrations, the signature/stamp will be replaced by authentication means set up within the eTIR international system.

Question 5: Page 3 of the TIR Carnet: how will the “Certified Report” be completed in the eTIR context?

Subject: Annex 1 of the TIR Convention

Answer: The eTIR specifications dedicate a specific use case to the certified report.

Question 6: Even if currently not used, how will eTIR deal with the Tobacco/Alcohol TIR Carnet?

Subject: Annex 1 of the TIR Convention

Answer: By using different “guarantee types”.

Question 7: How will loading lists and additional documents be handled in the eTIR context?

Subject: Annex 1 of the TIR Convention

Answer: The I7/E9 messages allow to attach documents by mean of the “attached documents” and “binary objects” classes, as defined in the eTIR specifications.

Question 8: How will indications of reservations be possible in eTIR?

Subject: Annex 1 of the TIR Convention

Answer: By using the “reservation” attribute in the Termination message.

Question 9: How will the box “for official use” be available, particularly when the customs authorities do not allow goods under the TIR procedure to enter the territory of their respective country?

Subject: Annex 1 of the TIR Convention

Answer: When sending the “refusal to start TIR operation” message, customs can use the “reason” attribute.

Question 10: How long is the validity period of an eTIR compared to a TIR Carnet (box 1 and article 9 of the TIR Convention)?

Subject: Annex 1 of the TIR Convention

Answer: The procedure to set up the validity should be the same as for paper TIR Carnets. The guarantee chain should be able to clarify if it intends to change the validity of eTIR guarantees.

Question 11: Which impact will the eTIR international system have on the price of an eTIR Carnet?

Subject: Annex 9, Part I, paragraph 3 (vi)

Answer: At this stage, the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) is the only study that has looked into this question. However, only the guarantee chain can indicate the consequences on the prices of eTIR guarantees.

Question 12: Does a person who has the authorization to use the paper TIR Carnet have automatically the right to use eTIR?

Subject: Annex 9, Part II, paragraph 4

Answer: Yes.

Question 13: It is possible that an eTIR Carnet is false or counterfeit?

Subject: Annex 9, Part III, paragraph 2 (g)

Answer: In principle yes, as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems can be hacked, but the highest ICT security standards will be put in place to avoid this. However, considering the exchange of information between all stakeholders, it will be very difficult to use a false or counterfeited eGuarantee without being quickly discovered.

Question 14: How will the reconciliation form (MRF) be used in the context of eTIR (in particular the part concerning the counterfoils)?

Subject: Annex 10, paragraph 2

Answer: Discussions regarding a possible reconciliation procedure are still ongoing at GE.1. An answer will be formulated once GE.1 discussions are concluded.

Question 15: In case of a transport which begins and ends in the same country and crosses another country, an appropriate endorsement is needed on the TIR Carnet. How will this provision be implemented in eTIR?

Subject: Article 2

Answer: This case is not specifically dealt with in the eTIR specifications. However, considering that the “endorsement” is goods-specific, it could be included in the goods description (by the holder) and, thus, be endorsed by the customs office of departure upon the acceptance of the declaration.

Question 16: Concerning the comment to Article 2 ('Use of TIR Carnets – first indent'): how will the suspension of the eTIR transport be handled?

Subject: Article 2

Answer: An answer will be provided after the finalisation of considerations by GE.1.

Question 17: For bulky goods, how will the eTIR Carnet handle the provision of article 32 (endorsement “heavy or bulky goods”)? Is it included in the specifications?

Subject: Article 3

Answer: In the “AdditionalInformation” class (at the message level) the “Heavy and Bulky goods indicator” allows to indicate that heavy and bulky goods are being transported.

Question 18: Please also describe how the documents mentioned in Article 33 (e.g. packing lists, photographs, drawings) could be treated in the eTIR context. Perhaps they could be uploaded in the eTIR system?

Subject: Article 3

Answer: The class “AttachedDocuments” is used to indicate all the documents attached to the Advance TIR data/Declaration. All documents attached to the declaration will be mentioned.

Question 19: Will it be possible to use eTIR for situations such as described in Article 17 (for a combination of vehicles or for several containers loaded on to a single road vehicle or on to a combination of vehicles)?

Subject: Article 17

Answer: Yes. Each “Consignment” can have multiple “Transport Equipment”, and each “Consignment Item” contains the link to the “Transport Equipment” in which it is transported (except in case of heavy and bulky goods).

Question 20: Please consider inserting in the specifications an explanation on how eTIR transports, which involve several customs offices of departure/destination will be handled. Such an addition could avoid a lot of questions in the future.

Subject: Article 18

Answer: Annex 1 of the eTIR concept document contains a detailed explanation of the different procedures at the first customs office of departure and at subsequent customs offices of departure. The difference between the different customs offices of destination is only made in the type of termination that is sent (partial vs. final). For other matters (e.g. re-sealing the vehicle or container at intermediate customs offices of destination), the provisions of the TIR Convention apply.

Question 21: How will the customs authorities insert a note in the eTIR Carnet in case they send the carrier back to the custom office of exit of the adjacent country if no clearance has been given (or not in due form) – E.N. 0.21-2)?

Subject: Article 21

Answer: Customs authorities that refuse to start a TIR operation at the Customs office of Entry should sent a “Refusal to Start” message before sending the transport operator back to the customs of exit of the adjacent country.

Question 22: In the exceptional case of an escort, how will the customs authorities insert a note and the indication of the reasons of the escort in the eTIR carnet?

Subject: Article 23 and 24

Answer: This can be indicated in the “Remark” attribute of the “AdditionalInformation” class when sending the “Start TIR operation” message.

Question 23: How will new seals be recorded (also see Article 34 and 35, it must be clear in the eTIR context)?

Subject: Article 23 and 24

Answer: When sending the “start TIR operation” and “Terminate TIR operation” messages, customs can indicate that they affixed new seals in the “Transport Equipment” attribute.

Question 24: In the eTIR context, how will the return of the eTIR Carnet to the holder or any other person be managed? Is a relevant message foreseen? In addition, can a proof of termination be printed?

Subject: Article 28

Answer: The eTIR system is designed to operate in real time. All information sent to the eTIR international system is also forwarded to the international organization which could make this information available to the transport operator. Therefore, it is not foreseen to have direct communication between the eTIR international system and the holder.

Question 25: Guaranteeing associations will have the obligation to confirm whether a guarantee is valid. It could be useful to have in the eTIR specifications a list of IT procedures that the national administrations should follow to get this information (see further comments on Article 10 of Annex 11).

Subject: Annex 9, Part I, paragraph 3, new subparagraph (xi)

Answer: At this stage, the intention is to provide a standard fallback procedure allowing to request information from the international organization (Annex 11, Article 10, para. 2). The procedure related to the application of Annex 11, Article 10, para. 3 shall be described nationally, if required, in the agreement between the competent authorities and the national guaranteeing association (as stated in Annex 11, Article 10, para. 4).

Question 26: If the eTIR international system will provide a web service?

Subject: Annex 11, Article 6

Answer: Yes.

Question 27: How will the web service identify the holder (or his/her representative)?

Subject: Annex 11, Article 6

Answer: A procedure to obtain the required credentials (Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)) has to be included in the specifications. It will most likely involve the national issuing association and customs.

Question 28: Will customs administrations have privileged access to the eTIR international system?

Subject: Annex 11, Article 6

Answer: Customs administrations will access the eTIR international system by means of web services, one of which is a query (I5/I6), allowing to retrieve all data pertaining to a given guarantee. No other access to the eTIR international system is foreseen at this stage.

Question 29: What will happen if data are provided by the holder at the same time in a customs system and the eTIR international system? In particular which data will prevail?

Subject: Annex 11, Article 6

Answer: If the holder provides advance TIR data twice (to the same or different systems) he will receive different references for those data. When he/she will go to the customs office of departure to present the vehicle (or container) with the goods, he will only be able to make reference to one set of advance TIR data that he has submitted. Therefore, at the time of acceptance of the declaration, customs will know which data should be used.

Question 30: Contracting parties shall accept the submission of advance TIR data via the eTIR international system. How can contracting parties authenticate the holder according to their national law (cf. Article 7)? Or is this not necessary in this case, as in accordance with Article 7, paragraph 2, contracting parties shall accept the authentication of the eTIR international system?

Subject: Annex 11, Article 6

Answer: This is exactly the idea behind Article 7, para 2. Once the holder has been authenticated by the eTIR international system, customs administrations shall trust that this authentication has been performed and accept the advance TIR data. However, customs administrations will have to authenticate the eTIR international system to ensure that the forwarded advance TIR data have been sent by the eTIR international system and not by any other system.

Question 31: European Union and its member states will not implement the eTIR procedure before 2025. Other, non-European Union Contracting Parties will most likely be practising eTIR much earlier than that. Let’s therefore assume the following situation:

  1. European Union has not yet joined the eTIR system while Turkey and Georgia have already done so successfully.
  2. A German transport operator would like to perform a TIR transport from Turkey to Georgia (he can do so quite legally by using an ECMT permit).
  3. As per the above assumptions, this transport is taking place exclusively in countries bound by Annex 11. The eTIR procedure is therefore applicable on the basis of Annex 11, Art. 1 (2).
  4. However, the transport operator’s country of residence, Germany, has not yet joined the eTIR system.

In this situation, would German TIR association BGL be in a position to issue an eTIR guarantee for the above transport to the German Holder?

Subject: Annex 11, Art. 1 (2)

Answer: Nothing in the TIR Convention, including in Annex 11, seems to prevent the usage of an electronic guarantee issued by BGL for a transport between Turkey and Georgia.

Question 32: Procedure for the application (implementation) of eTIR within the framework of customs unions, if one or several member States of the customs union do not join Annex 11 of the TIR Convention (the possibility of using eTIR, opening / completing the procedure, the presence of an accompanying document in paper form with customs authority remarks).

For reference: member States of the Eurasian Economic Union (hereinafter - the EAEU) have acceded to the TIR Convention separately, therefore, they independently determine the application of the TIR Convention.

Draft reply: Article 1 para.1 of Annex 11 of the TIR Convention stipulates that the eTIR procedure shall apply in the relations between contracting parties bound by Annex 11. Para. 2 clarifies that the eTIR procedure cannot be used for transports taking place in part in the territory of a contracting party, that is not bound by Annex 11 and that is a member State of a customs or economic union with a single customs territory. Consequently, the eTIR procedure can be used for a transport involving a contracting party which is bound by Annex 11 and is a member State of a customs or economic union with a single customs territory, as long as that transport would not pass across the territory of another member State of that customs or economic union with a single customs territory and which is not bound by Annex 11.

Question 33: The procedure to apply the backup procedure if it is not possible to obtain eTIR data when the transport has already begun under the eTIR procedure (including the composition of the accompanying document, its identification, as well as how the changes made along the route during the eTIR procedure will be displayed in the accompanying document (if their verification is necessary within the backup scheme), as well as the need to enter information into eTIR after customs operations based on the accompanying document).

Draft reply: Annex III of document ECE/TRANS/WP.30/2020/7 contains the latest revision of Chapter 1.2 (Fallback scenarios) of the eTIR functional specifications. This document is available in all ECE working languages.

Question 34: Further clarification is required on the question of the possibility of indicating the attribute "reservation" in the final message.

Draft reply: The termination message sent by customs at the end of each TIR operation (I11), has a “Reservations” attribute, which allows customs to specify the reservations they would have (same as box 27 of the TIR Carnet).

Question 35: We consider it appropriate to put in the specifications of eTIR a provision regulating a case when transportation starts and ends in the same country but crosses the territory of another country, and the corresponding confirmation is required in the TIR Carnet (Article 2 of the TIR Convention) or to clarify further how the “confirmation” will be included in the product description.

Draft reply: The Explanatory Notes to Article 2 foresees 2 options, either a separate document, which, for the eTIR procedure, could be attached or at least mentioned as an attached document to the advance TIR data, or an endorsement on the TIR Carnet. The latter could be done using the “Remarks” attribute of the start operation message (I9). Alternatively, a new field (e.g. for official use) could be added to the I7 message.

Question 36: We support the need to ask GE.1 questions (and to further elaborate on them) regarding the suspension of a transport under the eTIR procedure (commentary to Article 2 of the TIR Convention), as well as inclusion of additional messages in the eTIR specifications about additional customs remarks in case the customs authorities send the carrier back to the customs office of departure of a neighbouring country if there was no customs clearance or in an incorrect form (Article 21 of the TIR Convention).

Draft reply: The “Refusal to start” message (I17) is designed specifically to notify that a TIR transport needs to be terminated because customs authorities refuse to start a TIR operation. Would the TIR transport be able to continue, the TIR Carnet holder has to submit an amendment to the declaration data (E11) to the country to which he/she returns to change the itinerary.

Question 37: As for Article 33 of the TIR Convention, will drawings, photographs, etc. be uploaded to the eTIR system electronically or information will be provided on their availability.

Draft reply: The eTIR specifications allow at this stage various ways to attach documents to the advance TIR data (including drawings and photographs). The files can either be sent with the advance TIR data message or provided as links to external repositories. There is also the possibility to only make a reference to a paper accompanying document which will be presented to customs directly.

Question 38: A detailed study is needed on the question of authentication of the holder, documents. It may be necessary to establish a number of minimum requirements, as authentication is carried out in accordance with national law but is mutually recognized by all contracting parties.

Draft reply: Such minimum requirement (if agreed by the contracting party bound by Annex 11) should be included in the eTIR specifications.

Question 39: It is necessary to further study the possibility of using eTIR as a transit declaration. The eTIR structure differs from the structure of the transit declaration established in the territory of the EAEU. In addition, eTIR lacks information on compliance with prohibitions and restrictions on the movement of goods, as well as on the value of goods.

For reference: in the territory of EAEU, as a transit declaration, it is possible to use a TIR Carnet, with the transport (transportation) and commercial documents attached to it. Moreover, in this case, the customs authority is presented with an electronic form (electronic copy) of the transit declaration.

Draft reply: Until contracting parties bound by Annex 11 agree to include additional data elements in the advance TIR data message to cover the additional needs of specific customs administrations, the use of attached documents allows TIR Carnet holders to submit together with their advance TIR data and documents that would contain the information required by a specific customs administration.

Question 40: In the event of accession to Annex 11 of the TIR Convention, it is necessary to set a time to finalize the information systems of the customs authorities and their connection to the eTIR system.

For reference: in order to implement the eTIR system, technological documents will need to be developed, as well as harmonization of the structure and formats of the transit declaration by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) within the framework of the decision of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission of January 16, 2018 No. 2 for the possibility of submitting a TIR Carnet in the form of an electronic document into the information system of the customs authorities.

Draft reply: Annex 11, Article 3, para. 2 states that “Each Contracting Party is free to establish by which date it connects its customs systems to the eTIR international system. The date of connection shall be communicated to all other Contracting Parties bound by Annex 11 at least six months prior to the effective date of connection. However, Explanatory Note to Article 3, paragraph 2 states that Contracting Parties bound by Annex 11 are recommended to have their national customs system updated and its connection with the eTIR international system ensured as soon as Annex 11 enters into force for them. Customs or economic unions may decide on a later date, allowing them time to connect the national customs systems of all their member States to the eTIR international system.”