|Findus scandal: traceability in transport
The TIR System is the best tool to ensure traceability and security in the exchange of goods between EU Member States and beyond. If applied on EU territory, the Findus scandal could have been avoided.
| The TIR international transit system, established by virtue of the United Nations TIR Convention in 1959 and revised in 1975, is the only truly global customs transit system, providing trade facilitation and security between 68 countries worldwide.
To achieve this objective of facilitation and security, the TIR System is the only customs transit system requiring duly accredited transport operators, who are subject to strict admission rules, both through their national associations and by their national competent authorities. Moreover, the exchange of goods under TIR can only take place with duly authorised, secure, sealed vehicles.
In addition, all transport operations under TIR, notably on the whole territory of the European Union, are subject to the mandatory electronic pre-declaration of goods to customs. This requirement, met by all TIR operators, provides the customs authorities with all the data concerning the transport operation prior to the arrival of the truck. This pre-declaration therefore allows the customs authorities to undertake the appropriate control of the contents and any other risk assessment – as regards smuggling, for example – as well as proper sanitary checks.
Only the strict application of the above requirements, which are strictly applied in all TIR transport operations, allow the traceability of goods. However, practically none of these requirements exist in the current obligatory transit system imposed by the EU Customs Code for the transport of goods between the 27 EU Member States.
Until 2007, it was precisely the TIR System which was successfully applied to meet all the safety and traceability requirements between big exporting countries like Romania and the 15 EU countries of western Europe.
However, since the entry of the 12 new Member States, including Romania, into the European Union, the use of TIR, for arbitrary reasons, is totally prohibited for internal movements between two EU Member States, in violation of the text of the UN TIR Convention.
For several years, notably as a contribution by the road transport industry to the EU growth strategy, the road transport industry and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) have been calling for the reauthorisation of the TIR System for movements under customs control between any two points on EU territory through a simple amendment to the EU Customs Code. Unfortunately, until now, such an amendment has been rejected by the EU Commission.
The IRU is convinced that the reintroduction of the TIR System for the transport of goods on EU territory would again ensure full traceability and increase consumers’ safety in the commercial exchange of goods between EU Member States.