Freight News, Road

Court throws out charges against Russia TIR association

[ February 21, 2014   //   ]

Russia’s Arbitration Court has thrown out allegations against the Russian TIR Guaranteeing Association (ASMAP) as “inconsistent with reality and defamatory”. In a satement published on 21 February, and referring to a decision by the court the previous week, the International Road Transport Union said that the court had rejected all four specific allegations by the the Federal Customs Service of Russia (FCS RF) that had been used to justify TIR restrictions on Russian territory, in particular alleged TIR debts run up by ASMAP.

The court also said it would seek to recover costs from the Customs administration.

IRU secretary general, Umberto de Pretto, said: “It is not a surprise that the Moscow Arbitration Court fully and unequivocally recognised as false and defamatory all the allegations from the FCS RF – which were used since July 2013 as the main publicly announced motivation to justify the current illegal restrictions on the TIR Convention in Russia.” He stressed: “This ruling proves that the FCS justifications for their illegal attack on the TIR System were not only defamatory, but completely fabricated and artificial. We thus expect the prompt restoration of ASMAP’s business reputation through the requested retractions by Custom’s chairman, as well as the full restoration of the TIR System in Russia.”

A few days earlier, the International Road Transport Union wrote to Russian president Vladimir Putin warning that TIR guarantee coverage on Russian Federation territory could be withdrawn if the country’s Customs Service (FCSRF)continues its illegal actions in breach of international law.

IRU president, Janusz Lacny, wrote: “in the absence of clear confirmation from Cuatoms reinstating the full functioning of the TIR System on the territory of the Russian Federation in the nearest future, the IRU Presidential Executive will have no other choice than to recommend to the IRU General Assembly to confirm that the TIR guarantee coverage in the Russian Federation, as well as for Russian TIR Carnet Holders, will be withdrawn.”

Russian customs has since July 2013 been progressively restricting the operation of the TIR system by withdrawing the facility from an increasing number of customs offices. This, says the IRU, has massively increased costs to international road transport operators in Russia.

Umberto de Pretto, added: “This is an absurd situation that has been going on for too long, harming our industry and moreover the cost of trade with Russia, which is by far today the biggest beneficiary of the TIR System. We cannot continue to operate in a situation where one government agency can act in total impunity of all Russian and international laws. We are now compelled to address President Putin, trusting that he can personally intervene to find a definitive solution to this crisis in the interest of all stakeholders of the TIR System as soon as possible. If not, we will regrettably be left with no other option than to withdraw coverage of the TIR System in Russia. This would be a lose-lose scenario.”

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