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Saudi Arabia joins TIR, eyes regional trade boost

Umberto de Pretto is the IRU secretary general. (Image source: IRU)

Saudi Arabia has become the 74th country to ratify the TIR Convention that will help improve and develop its transport sector, as outlined in its 2030 Vision and 2020 National Transformation Program, positioning the country as a key logistics hub

More than 30 per cent of global trade crosses the Red Sea, making Saudi Arabia crucial for goods transit through Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the wider Middle East.

Bilateral trade between Arab countries, however, is currently below 10 per cent, and only 5.8 per cent of Saudi exports go to its GCC neighbours. The GCC has collectively committed to join the TIR system, with Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE already signatories, and Bahrain and Oman set to join soon. 

?Saudi Arabia?s ratification is an important milestone in dramatically increasing and securing trade flows across the GCC, as well as the rest of the Arab world and beyond?, said Umberto de Pretto, IRU secretary general.

He added, ?I?m delighted to welcome Saudi Arabia into the global TIR family of nations and look forward to work closely with the Saudi authorities to swiftly implement the system.?

Saudi Arabia joins major trading nations, including Pakistan, China and India, to ratify TIR recently. TIR transits began operating last week across the China-Russia border, and last month between Pakistan and Iran.

TIR is the only global customs transit system. It guarantees the payment of customs duties and taxes, and makes border crossings faster, more secure and more efficient, reducing transport costs, and boosting trade and development.

GCC transport and trade prospects will take centre stage at the 2018 IRU World Congress in Muscat, Oman, this November, including a focus on new intermodal corridors that connect Africa, Asia and Europe via GCC countries using the TIR system.