Goods crossing territories in transit towards their final destination need to be compliant with national legislation of these transit countries regarding customs laws the protection of the environment, plant and animal health and animal welfare. Shippers must ensure that they obtain all relevant licenses, approvals, certificates for the movement of the goods and that the shipments are correctly labeled/marked, documented, and presented to the authorities in the country of departure, destination, and country (ies) of transit. The necessary arrangements include that the goods/shipments moved under transit are accompanied by documents, including the customs documentation (in EU terminology called TAD), and other licenses and certificates related to the shipments and goods. Hauliers (carriers) must present these documents at the offices of departure, destination and offices of transit, as well as sometimes also for controls en-route.
Up until today, in most jurisdictions, these documents need to be presented in paper form to the authorities in the office(s) of transit. Initiatives for digitization of cross-border trade documents are foremost designed to suit the requirements of the authorities in the country of destination and departure. The legal obligations of authorities in the transit countries seem not always been taken into consideration. An exception is the customs domain where various regional framework are designed or in place to digitize the entire transit procedure, or most recent initiatives in the transport sector related to the DAR.
The dematerialization of trade documents and paperless exchange of SPS and other licenses, such as CITES or WASTE, between authorities of the importing and exporting country may create a challenge for authorities in transit countries. The hard copy of the respective documents that must be presented and approved to fulfil legal obligations related to those documents, is no longer there and the data is not available for authorities in transit countries in the required format. For goods in transit, hauliers still must present these documents in the offices of transit and control points.
This White Paper aims to take stock of existing challenges and constraints for movement of goods under transit and to identify how they could be addressed to create a paperless transit environment. It reviews existing legal and operational practices with regards to presentation and control of transit accompanying documents (non-customs), and the use of relevant UN/CEFACT standards (data models, messages, BRS). It will further explore options with regards to integration of requirements of authorities in transit countries and identify possibilities for the private sector to make electronic exchanged documents available for authorities of transit countries.
It will also take stock of existing legal requirements for prior approval or movement of goods under transit on SPS ground and explore venues for simplification through principles such as mutual recognition agreements to satisfy the SPS objectives.
The aim is to present options for paperless controls by authorities in transit countries by making digital exchange schemes available and, where considered possible and appropriate, simplify relevant transit permits and licenses (and related procedures).