Within the United Nations framework of the Economic and Social Council, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) serves as the focal point for trade facilitation recommendations and electronic business standards, covering both commercial and government business processes that can foster growth in international trade and related services. In this context, the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) was established, as a subsidiary, intergovernmental body of the UNECE Committee on Trade, mandated to develop a programme of work of global relevance to achieve improved worldwide coordination and cooperation in these areas.
21 April 2015: This week in Geneva, the 25th Forum of UN/CEFACT gathered some 130 experts from more than 30 countries, intergovernmental organizations and the private sector in order to finalise a set of technical standards and recommendations which will support implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA).
The numerous and comprehensive UN/CEFACT’s trade facilitation tools have been internationally acknowledged and extensively used for a long time: they keep being openly designed by hundreds of experts in the world in order to complement outputs produced by other key international players -which actively attended the event (like WCO, UNCTAD, ITC, IMO, IATA,etc.)- and ultimately provide support to countries’ efforts both as they plan their commitments under the WTO TFA and as they implement these measures after the TFA has come into force.
The CEFACT continues to promote the "Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide", which will be working through an updated version of the website.
The 25th Forum also brought some major advances in the fields of transport, agriculture, tourism, supply chain, insurance, procurement and finance. These included: developing a data reference model to facilitate multimodal transport; improving the traceability of animal and animal products by fostering related information exchange; and defining how trade finance can be integrated into current trade facilitation frameworks and practices. All projects and activities are registered in the CEFACT publicly-accessible "Confluence" website.
Many experts to UN/CEFACT were able to participate in two successful parallel events: the Meeting of the Global Facilitation Partnership for Transportation and Trade (GFP) and the UN/LOCODE Conference, respectively. The next Forum will take place in Marseille, France, on 2-6 November 2015.