1 October 1996

Original: ENGLISH


Working Party on Facilitation of
International Trade Procedures
Meeting of Experts on Data Elements
and Automatic Data Interchange (GE.1)
(Fifty-fourth session, 16-17 September 1996)


  1. GE.1 held its fifty-fourth session in Geneva from 16-17 September 1996 under the chairmanship of Mr. R. WALKER (United Kingdom).

  2. The session was attended by representatives from: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.

  3. The session was attended by representatives of the European Union (EU).

  4. Representatives from Australia, Brazil, Gabon, Japan and Korea participated under Article 11 of the Commission's terms of reference.

  5. The session was also attended by representatives of the secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), as well as by representatives of the following intergovernmental organizations: European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the World Customs Organization (WCO). The following non-governmental organizations were represented: International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Express Carriers Conference (IECC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (S.W.I.F.T.), and the United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation. Also present at the invitation of the secretariat were a representative of the International Federation of Inspection Agencies (IFIA) and a representative of the North American Trade Procedures Organization (NATPRO).

    Item 1 - Adoption of the agenda

  6. Provisional agenda (TRADE/WP.4/GE.1/104/Rev.1) was adopted with the agreement to consider the promotion of UN/ECE Recommendation 25 under agenda item 3 and to consider agenda item 11 "Legal/commercial aspects of trade facilitation" at a joint session of GE.1 and GE.2. The report of the joint session shall be annexed to the reports of the fifty-fourth sessions of GE.1 and GE.2.

  7. The Chair opened the session by noting its importance and, in particular, the importance of finalizing the re-engineering process by approving TRADE/WP.4/R.1234 (Recommendations for the Establishment of CEFACT). He noted that the time spent on developing and finalizing TRADE/WP.4/R.1234 had delayed work on a number of other urgent issues such as developing a future strategy for UN/EDIFACT and putting the work of GE.1 in context with regard to electronic commerce, the Internet, and other information technology developments. Some of these subjects had been discussed at the JRT in Helsinki the previous week which was attended by over 250 participants from 28 countries. Those discussions, at the JRT, had made clear that there was a need to address these important subjects in a cohesive manner.

    Item 2 - Technical issues and reports from UN/EDIFACT standing technical groups


    Response to the French Position Contained in Annex to TRADE/WP.4/CRP.80
    Interactive Message Design Guidelines
    Issues Arising from the 17th Meeting of the SDG at Concord, 22-26 April 1996
    Syntax Development Group (SDG), Executive Summary, Meeting 17, Concord, 22-26 April 1996
    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 1, Syntax Rules Common to All Parts of this Standard plus the Directories
    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 2 - Syntax Rules Specific to Batch EDI
    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 3 - Syntax Rules Specific to Interactive EDI
    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 5 - Security Rules for Batch EDI (Authenticity, Integrity and Non- Repudiation of Origin)
    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 6 - Secure Authentication and Acknowledgement Message (Message Type = AUTACK)
    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 8 - Associated Data in UN/EDIFACT Data Exchange
    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 4 - Syntax and Service Report Message for Batch EDI (Message Type = CONTRL)
    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 4 - Syntax and Service Report Message for Batch EDI (Message Type = CONTRL), Corrigendum
    Draft UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 7 - Security Rules for Batch EDI (Confidentiality)
    Draft UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 9 - Security Key and Certificate Management Message (Message Type = KEYMAN)
    UN/EDIFACT Rules for Presentation of Standardized Message and Directories Documentation
    Ad Hoc Group 1 - UN/EDIFACT - Research, Strategy and Implementation Planning
    Revised UN/EDIFACT Directory Version/Release Procedures
    German position on TRADE/WP.4/R.1245 and TRADE/WP.4/R.1246, (Syntax Version 4 - Parts 5 and 6 for Security)
    Report to GE.1 from the Message Design Rules Group
    Pan American EDIFACT Board Resolutions
    Proposed corrigenda to TRADE/WP.4/R.1243, Syntax Rules ISO 9735-3, Interactive EDI

  8. The SDG Chair introduced TRADE/WP.4/R.1240 (Syntax Development Group (SDG), Executive Summary), outlining the status of each of part of version 4 of the UN/EDIFACT syntax. Related documents are discussed in more detail below. He then explained that TRADE/WP.4/R.1223 (Response to the French Position Contained in Annex to TRADE/WP.4/CRP.80) was a specific response to the very valuable editorial comments made by the EBES TAG which had resulted in improved versions of Parts 1, 2, 3 and 8 being submitted to ISO.

  9. He then introduced TRADE/WP.4/R.1238 (Issues Arising from the 17th Meeting of the SDG). This document outlines the substantive issues that remain unresolved in version 4 of the UN/EDIFACT syntax and divides them into two groups: those that should be resolved within the ISO fast track process and those for submission to the Message Design Rules Group. Comments on the issues contained in TRADE/WP.4/R.1238 should be sent, as applicable, directly to ISO TC 154 or directly to the Message Design Rules Group (MDRG). Contact information is provided at the end of this report.
    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Parts 1, 2, 3 and 8

  10. As approved during the March 1996 session, the following parts of version 4 of the UN/EDIFACT syntax had been delivered to ISO Central Secretariat for fast- track processing after final editorial changes by the SDG.
    • UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 1, Syntax Rules Common to All Parts of this Standard plus the Directories (TRADE/WP.4/R.1241)
    • UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 2 - Syntax Rules Specific to Batch EDI (TRADE/WP.4/R.1242)
    • UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 3 - Syntax Rules Specific to Interactive EDI (TRADE/WP.4/R.1243)
    • UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 8 - Associated Data in UN/EDIFACT Data Exchange (TRADE/WP.4/R.1248)

    GE.1 noted these documents.

  11. Following concerns expressed by the Delegation of Germany about printing errors identified in parts 1 and 3 of the syntax (TRADE/WP.4/R.1241 and TRADE/WP.4/R.1243), GE.1 agreed that corrigenda be produced and forwarded to the ISO Central Secretariat. The corrigendum for Part 3 was already available as TRADE/WP.4/CRP.117.

    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Parts 5 and 6

  12. The Chair of the Security Group introduced TRADE/WP.4/R.1245 ( UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 5 - Security Rules for Batch EDI: Authenticity, Integrity and Non- Repudiation of Origin) and TRADE/WP.4/R.1246 (UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 6 - Secure Authentication and Acknowledgement Message:Message Type = AUTACK). He noted that both documents had been aligned with other parts of the syntax and that a number of implementations already existed.

  13. The delegation from Germany confirmed its support for approval of parts 5 & 6. However, it also asked that the two requests found in TRADE/WP.4/CRP.105 (German position on TRADE/WP.4/R.1245 and TRADE/WP.4/R.1246) be considered. The first of request was for a matrix of valid code combinations to be placed in annex to part 6 and the second was for the development of implementation guides.

  14. GE.1 approved both of these requests, noting that implementation guidelines could be developed at a later date. The SDG chair also requested advice from ISO as to whether the implementation guidelines could be referenced in the text of the ISO standard so that people would be aware of their existence.

  15. The following resolution was then adopted by GE.1 for recommendation to WP.4:

    GE.1 resolves to progress the adoption of parts 5 and 6 of version 4 of the syntax as follows:

    • The Syntax Development Group (SDG) is instructed at its next meeting (16-20 December 1996), to review any editorial comments received on parts 5 and 6 of the syntax (as found in TRADE/WP.4/R.1245 and TRADE/WP.4/R.1246) and to add a matrix of valid code combinations in annex as recommended in TRADE/WP.4/CRP.105;
    • The document produced by SDG shall then be transmitted by the WP.4 secretariat to ISO, as an existing standard, to be processed by ISO for fast track procedure;
    • Any substantive comments outstanding will be input to the ISO process.

  16. The GE.1 chair concluded by noting the importance of this work for secure data transfer over networks.

    UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Parts 4, 7 and 9

  17. The following documents were presented for review and comment:
    - TRADE/WP.4/R.1250       	UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 4 - Syntax
      and                     	and Service Report Message for Batch EDI
      TRADE/WP.4/R.1250/Corr.1 	(Message Type = CONTRL)
    - TRADE/WP.4/R.1251       	Draft UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 7 - Security Rules
                              	for Batch EDI (Confidentiality)
    - TRADE/WP.4/R.1252       	Draft UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 9 - Security Key and
                              	Certificate Management Message (Message Type =

  18. After discussion, GE.1 recommended that the SDG do a final review of these documents at its next meeting in December 1996 taking into account any comments they receive. The final documents must be submitted to the UN/ECE secretariat no later than 27 January 1997 for publication as "R" documents for approval at the March 1997 session. After approval they will be immediately submitted into the ISO Fast track process. Comments on these documents should be send to the SDG no later than 1 December 1996.

    Conclusion: UN/EDIFACT syntax

  19. The GE.1 Chair warmly thanked the SDG for their work. The ISO Central Secretariat informed the group that they would initiate the fast track process for all parts of version 4 of the UN/EDIFACT Syntax that had been approved as existing standards.


  20. Because the Chair of the I-EDI group was unable to attend the meeting, the Interactive Message Design Guidelines (TRADE/WP.4/R.1237) was presented by the SDG chair. He noted that the only difference from the previous version presented to GE.1 was a small editorial change where the first character in the format of the composite data element tags had been changed from an "I" to an "E".

  21. GE.1 approved the Interactive Message Design Guidelines (TRADE/WP.4/R.1237) for recommendation to WP.4.


  22. The AC.1 chair reported on the outcome of their July 1996 meeting held in Munich.

  23. The Chair reminded GE.1 that AC.1 was looking forward to greater participation in their work. Following a request by the delegate of Ireland, the Chair confirmed that any delegation, including international organizations and non-governmental organizations, could nominate members to the group and encouraged them to do so.

  24. Numerous delegations including the European Commission, France and the United States supported the work of AC.1, and noted the importance of putting AC.1's activities in the correct context, properly explained in easily understandable terminology. Specific suggestions were made including the creation of an explanation for laypersons of the relationship between EDI and object technology and the creation of examples, based on the UNTDID, to show the application of this work.

  25. The GE.1 Vice-Chair suggested that GE.1 also address the issue of securing the integration of existing and future UN/EDIFACT work into new technologies such as tools for the exchange of electronic forms.

  26. The Chair noted that the ESG had been looking at these issues and was moving to a consensus on how to present this work in order to further the debate on strategy.

  27. In conclusion, GE.1 noted a commitment from the ESG, in cooperation with the AC.1 Chair, to produce a strategy paper for the March 1997 session putting into context with existing work the research and development done by AC.1.

  28. It then approved, for recommendation to WP.4, that:
    • AC.1 be the deciding party for distribution of its documents,
    • AC.1 hold informative meetings with JRT participants at upcoming JRTs,
    • the new name of AC.1 read "AC.1 - Research, Strategic Advice and Implementation Planning."

  29. GE.1 also accepted the issue identified in recommendation 4 of the AC.1 report (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.97):

    "That in the event of the approval of the Re-engineering effort and the establishment of CEFACT, that CEFACT establish, support and coordinate a formal quality management program."

    and shall inform WP.4 that it deserves serious consideration from a management point of view. GE.1 thus considers the issue of quality management as being closed for AC.1.


  30. TRADE/WP.4/CRP.96 (UN/EDIFACT Rules for Presentation of Standardized Message and Directories Documentation) had been reviewed by the Directory Audit and Directory Production Teams with the secretariat during the Helsinki JRT meeting and a number of changes had been agreed upon. Therefore, GE.1 noted TRADE/WP.4/CRP.96 as work in progress and asked that the comments be incorporated in a revised version. GE.1 further thanked EDIFRANCE for making an editor available for this highly detailed and technical document.

  31. TRADE/WP.4/CRP.104 (Revised UN/EDIFACT Directory Version/Release Procedures) had also been discussed during the Helsinki JRT, but no consensus had been reached. Therefore, GE.1 noted TRADE/WP.4/CRP.104. It also requested the Rapporteurs to review TRADE/WP.4/CRP.104 in their regions and to work for a consensus so that an agreed paper could be put to the March 1997 session.


  32. The Chair of the Message Design Guidelines Group (MDGG) presented the group's report to GE.1 (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.110). The group will meet in October 1996 to review final comments and to prepare the final version of TRADE/WP.4/R.840/Rev.3. Various presentations of the draft version had been made and the comments received as a result had been supportive.

  33. GE.1 approved, for recommendation to WP.4, to change the name of this group from "Message Design Guidelines Group" to Message Design Rules Group .

  34. The GE.1 Chair thanked the group for its significant contribution to the work of UN/EDIFACT; appealed to delegations to continue supporting the group in the completion of TRADE/WP.4/R.840/Rev.3 which was a critical document; and noted that GE.1 was looking forward to reviewing the final results at the March 1997 session.


  35. The Pan American Rapporteur informed GE.1 that all issues covered in TRADE/WP.4/CRP.111 (Pan American EDIFACT Board Resolutions) were handled at the Helsinki JRT. The GE.1 chair drew attention to paragraph 4 and noted the importance of encouraging the electronic exchange of information between secretariats. He further reported that a trial for DMRDEF and DMRSTAT messages would be held between interested regions during the next 6 months.

  36. The GE.1 chair also informed GE.1 that the Rapporteurs had agreed, due to the importance of expedited processing of the work on these messages, that they would be presented as a complete package for the automation of the DMR process after the trial period.

  37. GE.1 was also informed that the JRT in Helsinki had passed a resolution requesting the ESG to instruct the SDG to develop a syntactical solution to segment collision and that the ESG shortly would be reviewing this request.

    Item 3 - UN/EDIFACT policy and promotion


  38. The Austrian delegation introduced this topic by reporting on discussions by the JRT Promotion and Advisory Team (PAT) on how Recommendation 25 (Use of UN Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport) could be more effectively used. In particular they believed it would be useful for GE.1 to consider sending a letter to appropriate national government officials asking how they intended to act upon this Recommendation. The PAT further recommended that GE.1 consider sending this Recommendation to ECOSOC for approval as a UN Recommendation (as had been done previously with Recommendation 1 on the UN Layout Key).

  39. After discussion, GE.1 agreed to consider sending such a letter to officials nominated by national delegations, but only after the establishment of CEFACT, as it was believed that this would be a more powerful promotional tool. In doing this, GE.1 also noted the importance of recognition by national governments of UN/EDIFACT as this was believed to be one of the most effective ways to promote its use.

  40. GE.1 further decided to Recommend to WP.4 that Recommendation 25 be submitted to ECOSOC for approval as a UN Recommendation. The secretariat undertook to investigate the necessary steps for doing so and to report back to the next session.

    Item 4 - Reports from UN/EDIFACT Steering Group and UN/EDIFACT Rapporteurs


    -    TRADE/WP.4/CRP.98    The Chair's Report on the Activities of the ESG
    -    TRADE/WP.4/CRP.94    Recent Developments in UN/EDIFACT: Regional Reports
    -    TRADE/WP.4/CRP.114   Recent Regional Developments: Colombia
    -    TRADE/WP.4/CRP.118   Recent Progress of Trade Facilitation and UN/EDIFACT in
                              the Central and Eastern European Countries

  41. The Chair introduced the EDIFACT Rapporteurs' Regional Reports on Recent Developments in UN/EDIFACT (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.94) as well as Reports on Recent Developments in Colombia, in the Central and Eastern European Countries and in Hungary (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.114, TRADE/WP.4/CRP.118 and TRADE/WP.4/CRP.121). All of these documents were for information. The EDIFACT Rapporteurs and delegations then highlighted various aspects of these report as well as additional developments.

  42. The Rapporteur for Asia called attention to the approval of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a member of the Asia EDIFACT Board in June 1996 and Indonesia's plans to submit a formal application for membership at the October 1996 ASEB meeting in New Delhi. He also noted that with rapidly increasing trade volumes in the region trade procedures, whether electronic or paper based, had become an increasingly important issue.

  43. The delegation from Korea reported that in their country, EDI use first began in 1994 and they were now more than 6000 traders using EDI, a number expected to increase to 20,000 by the end of 1996. A significant proportion of Korean Trade was now based on EDI and an overwhelming majority of EDI in Korea was UN/EDIFACT. In addition, a number of important new systems based on UN/EDIFACT were under development, for example in government procurement and in banking.

  44. The Rapporteur for Western Europe reported that their new structure, the "European Board for EDI Standardization" (EBES) had been in place for just over a year now. The role of EBES was to coordinate all EDI activities in 18 countries, a considerable task involving work with many standards organizations in Europe (i.e., CEN, CENELAC, ETSI and EWOS). He further reported that during the last year he had been both the EDIFACT Rapporteur for Western Europe and the Chair of EBES but that he had recently offered his resignation as Chair of EBES in order to be abler to give more time to UN/EDIFACT.

  45. The Rapporteur for Western Europe continued, reporting that during a recent European Union coordinating meeting unanimous support had been given to TRADE/WP.4/R.1234 and to the UN/EDIFACT EDI standard.

  46. The Rapporteur for Australia/New Zealand noted that their Board had been reconstituted as explained in TRADE/WP.4/CRP.94 and called delegations attention to important developments in the trade and transport sectors highlighted in that same document. He also informed GE.1 that the Australian government recently issued a policy paper re-stating its endorsement of UN/EDIFACT and he undertook to make this policy paper available to the March 1997 session.

  47. The delegation of the United States reported that Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 161-2 strongly encouraging the use of UN/EDIFACT in government procurement had recently been approved.

  48. IATA informed GE.1 that it had an Internet World Wide Web page reporting on IATA'S UN/EDIFACT use at the following address: http//www.iata.org/ia/edihome.htm

  49. GE.1 noted document TRADE/WP.4/CRP.94 (Recent developments in UN/EDIFACT: regional reports), TRADE/WP.4/CRP.114 (Recent Regional Developments: Colombia), TRADE/WP.4/CRP.118 (Recent Progress of Trade Facilitation and UN/EDIFACT in the Central and Eastern European Countries) and TRADE/WP.4/CRP.121 (EDIFACT Report from Hungary) which the Regional EDIFACT Rapporteurs had submitted for information.

  50. The Chair of the EDIFACT Steering Group (ESG) introduced his report to GE.1 (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.98), noting that the section on the D.96B UN/EDIFACT directory would be covered under agenda item 5 and the section on the ISO MoU would be covered under agenda item 6.

  51. The ESG group on Duplicate Functionality had made its final report on the NAD-PNA/ADR issue during the Helsinki JRT and their recommendation was that no restrictions be placed on the use of these three segments. This recommendation had been accepted by the JRT and its Steering Committee, thus closing this issue. However, the JRT Steering Committee felt that the more general issues related to duplicate or overlapping functionality required consideration and that guidance to users was needed. In response to these concerns the Group on Duplicate Functionality had been asked by the ESG to continue its work and report on this issue at the next JRT.

  52. The Rapporteur for Western Europe noted that in the Report, the word "guidelines" were used, when what was really meant was "guidance" and the ESG Chair agreed with this assessment.

  53. The ESG Chair also noted that they were continuing work on the 10th anniversary of UN/EDIFACT under the leadership of Mr. C. Chiaramonti (France).

  54. GE.1 noted TRADE/WP.4/CRP.98 (The Report from the Chair of the ESG to GE.1).

  55. GE.1 noted that this would be the last session for Mr. R. Colcher (Brazil) as the PAEB Rapporteur and thanked him for his contributions as a Rapporteur to the ESG and the work on UN/EDIFACT.

    Item 5 - UN/EDIFACT Directories and message types submitted as Status 0


    TRADE/WP.4/R.1184/Corr.2    	Message Type Submitted as Status 0 For
                                	Information, Specification Message (QLSPEC)
    TRADE/WP.4/R.1228           	UN/EDIFACT Draft Directory D.96B
    TRADE/WP.4/R.1230          	Issues Arising from the D.96B Directory Audit
    TRADE/WP.4/R.1239           	Status 0 Message Summary for Messages Noted as
                                	Status 0 During the March 1996 Session of GE.1
    TRADE/WP.4/R.1239/Corr.1    	Status 0 Message Summary for Messages Noted as
                                   	Status 0 During the March 1996 Session of GE.1,
    TRADE/WP.4/CRP.115          	Status 0 Message Summary for Messages Noted to
                                	be Noted as Status 0 at the September 1996
                                	Session of GE.1

  56. The Directory Audit Team (DAT) Chair referred to the audit statement in the UN/EDIFACT Directory D.96B (TRADE/WP.4/R.1228) and recommended that the directory be approved.

  57. The Chair of GE.1 reported that following issues raised in the DAT report and concerns expressed by some users regarding the process followed in the finalization of the draft directory, the ESG had reviewed the situation in respect to the D.96B directory. After consultation with the DAT, the co-chairs of JTAG, and affected users, the ESG was satisfied with the actions taken to finalize the directory for submission and approval. Further, having noted that the changes in question satisfied the immediate needs of the user base, the ESG was recommending that the D.96B directory be approved.

  58. The ESG had, however, noted the point about possible ambiguity and had accepted an offer by the Australia/New Zealand region to write a paper on this issue for regional review prior to the next JRT. In addition, they had taken the actions described under agenda item 4, requesting that the ESG Group on Duplicate Functionality review the more general issues related to duplicate or overlapping functionality in order to provide guidance to users.

  59. GE.1 approved, for recommendation to WP.4, the D.96B directory.

  60. The delegate from Italy asked for clarification on the implementation of the March 1996 decision to abolish Status 1 and 2 messages in the directory, given that TRADE/WP.4/CRP.96 (the draft of TRADE/WP.4/R.1023/Rev.3, UN/EDIFACT Rules for Presentation of Standardized Message and Directories Documentation) only had been noted by GE.1.

  61. After consultation, the GE.1 Chair confirmed that the D.97A directory shall be published implementing the decision on status. Therefore, GE.1 requested that the document TRADE/WP.4/R.1023 be revised by its editor, Mr. M. Conroy (France), taking into account the comments provided at the Helsinki JRT and be forwarded to the secretariat for review by DAT and implementation. The version/release shall remain as it is and, as noted under agenda item 2, document TRADE/WP.4/CRP.104 (Revised UN/EDIFACT Directory Version/Release Procedures) shall be reviewed by the regions before a final paper is produced.

  62. The DAT Chair then informed GE.1 that issues arising from the D.96B Directory Audit were reported in document TRADE/WP.4/R.1230. The first issue, review of the UN/EDIFACT Rules for Presentation of Standardized Messages and Directories Documentation, had been covered under agenda item 2. The second issue, code values for the DIRDEF message, had been resolved via DMRs submitted by the secretariat and approved at the Helsinki JRT. The secretariat then confirmed that these code values would be implemented in the D.97A directory.

  63. The delegation of France expressed concern about the third issue on principles related to the development of the I-EDI directories as described in TRADE/WP.4/R.1230.

  64. The DAT Chair then reported that this issue had been further discussed with the I-EDI group and JTAG in Helsinki and it had been agreed that common directories for batch and interactive data elements and codes should be maintained. However, this would require more careful management of the maintenance of common data elements. A number of recommendations to ensure this management had been made in the form of a resolution that had been approved at the Helsinki JRT. These recommendations could be implemented with time, however, as a first step in this direction, DAT requested the authorization to add a new identifier in the data element directory as an essential first step in establishing effective control over common data elements.

  65. GE.1 noted TRADE/WP.4/R.1230 (Issues Arising from the D.96B Directory Audit) and agreed to recommend to WP.4 that DAT, DPT and the secretariat coordinate their efforts so as to introduce the new identifier for data elements in the publication of the D.97A directory.

  66. A number of delegations pointed out that the issue of whether there should continue to be Status 0 messages (or if they should be called something else) and the procedures for their processing was under review.

  67. The delegation of the United Kingdom informed GE.1 of JTAG's discussions on Status 0 message processing during the Helsinki JRT and their request that any review of the Status 0 publication process be done in consultation with them. This was supported by the Rapporteur for Western Europe.
    GE.1 then noted the following documents:
    TRADE/WP.4/R.1184/Corr.2    Message Type submitted as Status 0 For
                                information Specification Message (QLSPEC),
    TRADE/WP.4/R.1239 and       Status 0 Message Summary for Messages
    TRADE/WP.4/R.1239/Corr.1    Noted as Status 0 During the March 1996 Session
                                of GE.1 

    GE.1 further noted for Status 0 the Medical adverse drug reaction message (MEDADR) as described in TRADE/WP.4/CRP.115 (Status 0 Message Summary for Messages to be Noted as Status 0 at the September 1996 Session of GE.1).

    Agenda Item 6 - International Standardization Affecting Trade Interchange


    TRADE/WP.4/CRP.99     	    The Standards Liaison Rapporteur's Executive Summary
    TRADE/WP.4/CRP.100   	    Report on the Basic Semantic Repository (BSR) Project by
                         	    the Chairman of the BSR Management Committee
    TRADE/WP.4/R.106            Standards Liaison Meeting Report

  68. The Standards Liaison Rapporteur introduced his Executive Summary Report (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.99) and Meeting Report (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.106). He also reported that during the Standard Liaison Teams' (SLT's) meeting at the Helsinki JRT they had reviewed the DIS ballot version of the revised "Open-EDI Reference Model" and found it to be much improved. However, the SLT had also found inconsistencies in the text which had not been modified to reflect the addition of the IAeG (Inter Agency edi Group) diagram. Since the next JTC1/SC30 meeting to discuss this document would be before the March 1997 session, the Standards Liaison Rapporteur requested permission for the SLT team to develop detailed comments (using its Internet list server) for submission on the part of WP.4.

  69. GE.1 agreed to recommend to WP.4 that the SLT be allowed to submit detailed comments on inconsistencies in the DIS ballot version of the revised "Open-EDI Reference Model," to JTC1/SC30 in its name, providing copies of those comments to both the secretariat and the GE.1 Chair of GE.1 as per the SLT's terms of reference.

  70. During the Helsinki JRT the SLT had also reviewed an ISO fast track Data Directories Standard and first reactions were very positive.

  71. The Standards Liaison Rapporteur went on to note that SC14 had expressed an interest in the work of, and had made comments to the Message Design Rules Group (MDRG). This had resulted in plans for formal liaison between these groups. A meeting between SC14 and the BSR Management Committee had also taken place resulting in a useful exchange of views on BSR documents.

  72. GE.1 then noted the Standards Liaison Rapporteur Executive Summary Report (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.99) and Meeting Report (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.106).
    ISO MoU

  73. The GE.1 Chairman introduced the topic of the MoU with ISO, noting that the ESG in its report (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.98), had recommended that it be renewed, and for a longer time than the original two year period given the establishment of a joint syntax group and other areas of common interest.

  74. The proposal to renew the ISO MoU was widely supported by delegations and the delegation from the ISO indicated its desire also to renew the MoU and to set a meeting at the earliest possible date in order to discuss this.

  75. In conclusion, GE.1 agreed to recommend to WP.4 that the MoU with ISO be renewed for a longer period that the original two years. It should take into consideration the new CEFACT structure.

  76. The Chairman of the BSR Management Committee reported progress made, including a successful meeting with JTC1 SC14/WG4 where a common ground between the BSR rules document (BSRN101) and the work of SC14 had been found and SC14 had been asked to submit their comments to BSRN101.

  77. He also reported to GE.1 on the issue of free access (i.e. trade rights and copyright) where no agreement had yet been reached by the management committee. Based on the project team members all being volunteers and the IT system being a donation in kind, the ECE members of the BSR management committee did not believe that a fee for use of the BSR could be justified, but this was not a point of view shared by all.

  78. A number of delegations indicated their support for the BSR project, the delegation from Japan reporting that a BSR committee had been established by the Japan standards organization in order to contribute to the work, particularly in its multi-cultural and multi-lingual aspects. A desire was also expressed by several delegations to have the work on the BSR put into context with the work of AC.1 and data modelling.

  79. After further discussion, GE.1 decided to recommend to WP.4 that it confirm its support for free access to BSUs.

    Agenda Item 7 - Codes and policy related to codes

  80. There were no documents, and no discussion, under this agenda item during this session of the meeting.

    Agenda Item 8 - International Trade Transaction Model


    TRADE/WP.4/CRP.103   Report of the Steering Group for the International Trade
                         Transaction (ITT) Model

  81. The Convenor of the Steering Group for the International Trade Transaction Model provided a progress report on their work (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.103). In this report he highlighted the work programme found in annex I, with its four main areas: 1) the development of modelling methods and analytical tools; 2) the development of ITT models; 3) the development of ITT modelling infrastructures and cooperation with international organizations; and 4) Implementation of ITT modelling results.

  82. The GE.1 Vice Chair and Chair both congratulated the Convenor and the ITT group for the work done and called the attention of GE.1 to this work and its importance for GE.1's activities. The GE.1 Chair further emphasized the need to adopt a common modelling approach and encourage a cross fertilization of ideas and work between the ITT Group, AC.1 and BIM.

  83. GE.1 then noted the Report of the Steering Group for the International Trade Transaction (ITT) Model (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.103).

    Item 9 - Multilingualism in UN/EDIFACT


    TRADE/WP.4/CRP.101   Report from the Convenor of the Multilingualism and
                         Terminology Group for September 1996

  84. The Convenor of the Multilingualism and Terminology (MLT) Group presented his report (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.101) which was a background document describing the linguistic diversity of the world as shown in Annex A which lists, by country, the official languages and languages used by more than 3% of the population. Previous work of the MLT had identified target languages requiring major work. However, as Rapporteur his principal motivation had always been to promote the use of EDI by Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SME's) in their own language.

  85. The Convenor also reported his resignation as of 1 October l996 in order to allow an eventual re-focusing of the MLT activities in line with the priorities of CEFACT. He thanked all of the MLT group members for their valuable contributions to the task at hand.

  86. Delegations expressed their concern about the possible misinterpretation of the table in the Annex to TRADE/WP.4/CRP.111.

  87. Many delegations made statements in support of multilingualism and requested that the MLT group investigate and report on practical action in this area.

  88. The delegations from Austria and France also emphasized the issue of improving the quality of the terminology used in the source language in order that the translation into target languages, being resource intensive, can be done effectively. They further emphasized the contribution of such work to improving the overall quality of the source language standards/documents.

  89. This position was supported the delegation from the UK who asked the MLT group to review the new Message Design Rules and make comments to the Message Design Rules group as to how they might be improved in order to improve the terminology and language used in UN/EDIFACT.

  90. The GE.1 Chair thanked the Mr. Y. Lauzon (Canada) for his contributions as Rapporteur and as Convenor of the Multilingualism and Terminology Group and GE.1 noted TRADE/WP.4/CRP.111.

    Item 10 - Re-engineering: Recommendations for the Establishment of CEFACT


    TRADE/WP.4/R.1234           Recommendations for the Establishment of CEFACT

  91. The Chair introduced the Recommendations for the Establishment of CEFACT (TRADE/WP.4/R.1234), by summarizing the developments to date and noting that it was his intention to have GE.1 discuss those issues related to CEFACT that are specific to GE.1's work, such as empowerment of the JRT. He went on to inform GE.1 that during initial discussions by the ESG on empowerment they had decided it would be better to look at high level rather than detailed, specialized mandates (for example, empowering a group to Maintain and Develop UN/EDIFACT directories rather than empowering individual message development groups). No final decisions had been made, however, proposals would have to be developed during the coming months for consideration at the March 1997 session and the April 1997 JRT.

  92. The delegation from Austria noted that empowerment of the JRT was too detailed a topic to discuss in more than general terms during the GE.1 session and asked if there was a group to whom comments could be sent. The Chair replied that comments on empowerment of the JRT could be sent to the ESG.

  93. The delegation from the United States expressed concern as to how the Working Groups would be represented in the Steering Group and also noted their position that terms of reference for both the Plenary and the Steering Group were necessary before any Working Groups could be mandated.

  94. The Chair agreed with the last point and also confirmed that it was essential for Permanent Working Groups to be represented in the Steering Group. However, until the number of Working Groups is known, it will be difficult to agree on a general procedure for their representation. He then suggested that the "Centre" should revert to this issue once it had been established and the Permanent Working Groups had been mandated.

  95. The delegation from France drew GE.1's attention to the possibility stated in para. 84 of TRADE/WP.4/R.1234 for the Chair of any permanent Working Group to attend Steering Group meeting in a Consultative capacity on the request of the Chair of the Steering Group. Caution was expressed as to the eventual size of the Steering Group, given its management rather than "parliamentary" function.

  96. The delegation from the United Kingdom shared the concerns of the US delegation and said that the issue of representation in the Steering Group should be given high priority.

  97. The delegation from Italy referred to para. 64 (on voting) of TRADE/WP.4/R.1234 and suggested that if a vote was taken the Plenary should be notified.

  98. In response to an earlier question from the Austrian delegation, the Chair explained the collective role of the officers of the "Centre". Together, they have responsibility for the Centre's management and its work programme. However, it would be both too much work and too great a concentration of duties if the Chair of the Plenary were also the Chair of the Steering Group. Thus, it had been proposed that a Vice-chair be the Chair of the Steering Group. In his opinion, this did not constitute an additional organizational level within "the Centre." Chairing the Steering Group fulfilled the responsibility of CEFACT's Officers to "oversee the effective implementation of the Centre's agreed work programme" and most organizations have either a Bureau or similar group, consisting of its officers, who are responsible for management.

  99. The Chair concluded by noting that while he believed the upper levels of the CEFACT structure to be correct and effective, at the level of existing "Working Groups", such as the JRT, the issue of migration was critical. Change should not be made without careful consideration, taking into account the successful and important contributions made by existing structures. For example, no decisions should be taken without consideration as to their effects on the Regional EDIFACT Boards that currently employ 8 or 9 people in full-time support of UN/EDIFACT activities.

  100. The delegation from Ireland noted the need for transparency in the migration process and expressed a hope that existing structures would remain in place until a migration strategy could be agreed upon by all parties.

  101. The delegation from the European Commission fully supported this statement and further emphasized the need to involve all those participating in the UN/EDIFACT process in the development of the new structures and organization.

  102. The need to keep existing structures in place until the new ones were ready was repeated and, in conclusion, GE.1 agreed to recommend to WP.4 that current structures stay in place until a full migration strategy and new structures had been agreed upon and enacted.

    Item 11 - Legal/Commercial aspects of trade facilitation


    TRADE/WP.4/CRP.102          	Report from the Legal Rapporteurs

  103. The discussion of this agenda item was deferred to a joint session of GE.1 and GE.2 on the legal and commercial aspects of trade facilitation held during the morning of 19 September 1996. The report of the joint session can be found in Annex A to this report.

    Item 12 - Other Business


    TRADE/WP.4/R.1222              	Electronic Data Interchange - A Management
    TRADE/WP.4/R.1226              	EDI and UN/EDIFACT - A Technical Overview
    TRADE/WP.4/R.1226/Corr.1    	EDI and UN/EDIFACT - A Technical Overview,

  104. The secretariat introduced documents TRADE/WP.4/R.1222 (Electronic Data Interchange - A Management Overview) and TRADE/WP.4/R.1226 (EDI and UN/EDIFACT - A Technical Overview). It noted that these documents had been developed within the context of joint work on the promotion of UN/EDIFACT being undertaken by the ECE and ESCAP secretariats in countries having dual ECE/ESCAP membership and, in particular, CIS countries.

  105. During the Helsinki JRT, maintenance of the Technical Overview (TRADE/WP.4/R.1226 which is actually an electronic book) had been discussed by a joint meeting between the secretariats and the Promotion Advisory Team. It had been decided that the ECE secretariat would act as a central point for collecting comments and that these would then be reviewed twice a year during the JRTs. Final recommendations for changes coming out of the JRTs would be forwarded from the ECE secretariat to ESCAP who had the software and personnel available for the actual updating.

  106. It was noted that the Management Overview would also need updating and maintenance, in particular, part 6 with country information. The Australian delegation offered to supply the secretariat with information about developments in their country for the next update and it was suggested that information about APEC initiatives also be included.

  107. Numerous delegations noted the importance and interest of these documents.

  108. GE.1 then noted TRADE/WP.4/R.1222 (Electronic Data Interchange - A Management Overview) and TRADE/WP.4/R.1226 (EDI and UN/EDIFACT - A Technical Overview) and encouraged the secretariat in their efforts to maintain and promote them.

  109. The secretariat then informed delegates of the following WP.4 meeting dates and deadlines for document submission:

    Week beginning               Translation      	Issuance as "R" Document
    Monday, 17 March 1997       16 December 1996    27 January 1997
    Monday, 15 September 1997   16 June 1997      	28 July 1997

  110. The following meeting dates for the WP.4 Meeting of Experts on Data Elements and Automatic Data Interchange (GE.1) were approved:

      55th Session  -           17-18 March 1997
      56th Session  -           15-16 September 1997

  111. GE.1 recommended to WP.4 to confirm the following meeting dates:
          Joint Rapporteurs Team Meeting   	-  21-25 April 1997, Singapore 
                                       	-  29 September - 3 October 1997,
                                           	   Anaheim, California (close to
                                           	   Los Angeles)
          Ad hoc Group 1               	-  18-22 Nov. 1996, Concord
                                       	-  23-24 April 1997, Singapore     
          Standards Liaison Team           	-  April 1997 JRT
                                       	-  Sept./Oct. 1997 JRT
          EDIFACT Steering Group           	-  9 and 11-13 December 1996,
          ISO 7372 Maintenance Agency      	-  To be agreed
          MDR Group, Draft & Edit Team     	-  21-25 Oct. 1996, Hong Kong
                                       	-  April 1996 JRT, Singapore
          Syntax Development Group     	-  16-20 Dec. 1996, Dublin  
          Legal Rapporteurs Team Group      -  April 1997 JRT
    	                                -  Sept./Oct. 1997 JRT
          Directory Production Team         -  18-22 Nov. 1996, Geneva
          Directory Audit Team              -  9-13 Dec. 1996, Geneva
          BSR MC Meeting               	-  16 December 1996, Geneva

  112. Contact information for submission of comments, as requested in the above minutes:
     Comments on substantive issues related to Parts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8 of the
     UN/EDIFACT syntax, version 4 (TRADE/WP.4/R.1241, TRADE/WP.4/R.1242,
     TRADE/WP.4/R.1243, TRADE/WP.4/R.1245, TRADE/WP.4/R.1246, TRADE/WP.4/R.1248
     and TRADE/WP.4/CRP.117), which have been approved by GE.1/WP.4 as existing
     standards for submission to ISO for fast-track processing should be sent to:
         Dr. Winfried Hennig
         DIN NBü
         D-10772 Berlin
         Telephone: 49 30 2601 2305
         Telefax:   49 30 2601 1158
         Internet:  dallmann@nkt.din.de      
     Comments on Parts 4, 7 and 9 of the UN/EDIFACT syntax, version 4
     (TRADE/WP.4/R.1250, TRADE/WP.4/R.1250/Corr.1, TRADE/WP.4/R.1251 and
     TRADE/WP.4/R.1252) which are still drafts and will be finalized by SDG for
     approval at the March 1997 session should be sent no later than 1 December
     1996 to the SDG at:
         INTERNET server address: sdg-comments@premenos.com 
     Comments on the Message Design Rules should be sent to:
               Mr. Michael Conroy, EDIFRANCE
               c/o MDG Group
               32 Rue de Lisbonne BP 631
               75367 Paris    CEDEX 08
               Fax  33 1 44 95 36 98
               Internet: desco11@calvanet.calvacom.fr
     Comments on legislative needs, requirements and current practice should be
     sent to one of the two following addresses:
               Ms. Anne Troye
               Commission for the European Communities
               DG III/F6 N105/5-48
               200, Rue de la Loi
               B-1049 Brussels
               Fax: 32 2 296 8387
               Internet: anne.troye@dg3.cec.be
               Mr. Renaud Sorieul
               Legal Officer, UN/OLA/ITLB
               Secretary UNCITRAL Working Group on EDI
               Vienna International Centre
               Room E-0465
               A-Vienna 1400
               Fax: 43 21345 4071
               Internet: rsorieul@unor.un.or.at
     Comments on empowerment of the JRT for consideration by the ESG, (comments
     for consideration at the December 1996 ESG meeting must be received by 1
     December 1996) as well as comments on TRADE/WP.4/R.1222 (Electronic Data
     Interchange - A Management Overview) and TRADE/WP.4/R.1226 (EDI and
     UN/EDIFACT - A Technical Overview), should be sent to:
               Ms. Virginia Cram-Martos
               Trade Facilitation Section
               UN/ECE Trade Division
               Palais des Nations, Rm. 450
               1211 Geneva 10
               Fax: 41 22 917 0037
               Internet: virginia.cram-martos@unece.org
     Comments for consideration by the Bureau and on other subjects, should be
     sent to: 
               Mr. Hans Hansell
               Trade Facilitation Section
               UN/ECE Trade Division
               Palais des Nations, Rm. 442
               1211 Geneva 10
               Fax: 41 22 917 0037
               Internet: hans.hansell@unece.org

  113. For constantly updated information on Trade Facilitation and UN/EDIFACT work as well as documentation for the next meeting, delegates can refer to:

    The UN/ECE Internet WWW TRade Facilitation Information eXchange (TRAFIX)
    ADDRESS: http://gatekeeper.unicc.org/unece/trade/facil/

    Item 13 - Adoption of the report of the fifty-fourth session

  114. The report of GE.1 was adopted on 20 September 1996 on the basis of a draft prepared by the secretariat.

Annex A


(19 September 1996)


TRADE/WP.4/CRP.102    Legal Rapporteurs Report

  1. The joint session was chaired by Mrs. B. Curry, Vice-Chair of WP.4.

  2. The Legal Rapporteurs, Ms. Troye and Mr. Sorieul, reported on activities related to WP.4's legal programme of work during the past six months. Their report focused on the outcome of the discussions held at the meetings of the Legal Rapporteurs Team (LRT) in Brussels (May 1996) and Helsinki (September 1996); and is summarized below:

  3. WP.4 Re-Engineering Process (Trade/WP.4/R.1234): Further to the discussions at the Helsinki JRT meeting, the Legal Rapporteurs recommended that the LRT should remain an autonomous group, i.e. a permanent Working Group under CEFACT, to preserve its special function and role as a forum for discussing a number of issues of common interest to EDI and Trade Facilitation. At the Helsinki LRT Meeting, it was also recommended that the current LRT programme of work be reviewed to take into account new developments. At the next JRT Meeting in Singapore, the draft terms of reference and the draft programme of work of the LRT would be drawn up.

  4. Recommendation 26 (Interchange Agreement): The Legal Rapporteurs summarized recent progress made in the area of interchange agreements based on Recommendation 26, which included the development of a model interchange agreement by Norway; the finalization by Sweden of a similar agreement and the preliminary work undertaken by Denmark with respect to the elaboration of a generic Technical Annex. The Rapporteurs also raised the issue of how Recommendation 26 would fit into the wider scope of electronic commerce and suggested that the model interchange agreement should be examined in that perspective. They also described the on-going monitoring of the development of standard communications agreements between users and service providers by the Legal Rapporteurs and UNCITRAL.

  5. Negotiable Documents: The Legal Rapporteurs briefly outlined the four initiatives monitored by the LRT, which included: the BOLERO scheme; the ICC- E100 project; SITPRO's proposal on the replacement of paper-based letters of credit; and the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce. Although the BOLERO scheme is a commercial project, the Legal Rapporteurs considered it necessary to closely follow generic legal issues linked to the scheme which could have wider legal implications, especially for EDI users. The Rapporteurs also summarized the work of UNCITRAL in this field. It was noted that UNCITRAL had recently adopted legal provisions regarding the replacement of paper documents by electronic equivalents for both negotiable and non-negotiable transport documents. As concerns the ICC-E100 project, the Legal Rapporteurs noted that contacts had been successfully established with the ICC, with the view to developing cooperation. The cooperation needs to be organized further.

  6. International Trade- National Legal and Commercial Practice Barriers: The analysis of the data received had proved to be a more complex task than anticipated because of the combination of quantitative and qualitative data. As the preliminary work to start this analysis was now completed, a progress report on quantitative data could be expected at the next session.

  7. Electronic Authentication- Defining electronic messages and their signatures: The Legal Rapporteurs noted that document TRADE/WP.4/R.1096 had initially focused on transport law and its scope should be broadened to include other international conventions dealing with definitions of writings, signatures and documents in the field of international trade law. The Legal Rapporteurs mentioned that an inventory of these international instruments would be prepared for discussion at the next JRT session and document TRADE/WP.4/R.1096 would be updated accordingly. The UN/ECE secretariat reported that several responses from international organizations to a questionnaire dealing with these issues had been received, however there was still follow-up to be done. The Legal Rapporteurs also pointed to the complexity of international treaty law issues involved in reviewing and re-discussing already adopted international conventions and noted that advice might be needed in due course as to how the requirements for writings and signatures could be circumvented without entering into a revision of those international conventions.

  8. Cooperation with other international bodies: As mentioned above, cooperation with ICC, especially with reference to the ICC-E 100 project, needed to be enhanced to avoid duplication and provide each body with opportunities to contribute to each other's projects. The Legal Rapporteurs reported that the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce had been adopted in June 1996 and was available in its English version under: http://www.un.or.at./uncitral. Copies of the model law and its Guide to Enactment in all official languages would be circulated at the next session.

  9. Other projects: With reference to judicial messages, it was noted that the two messages for court procedures: CASINT and CASRES, had been progressed to Status 1 at the Brazil JRT Meeting in April 1996. Joint work might be required in the future to enhance both messages.

  10. New items of work: The Legal Rapporteurs summed up the progress made in new areas of work: electronic invoicing and self-billing; certification authorities; and data protection.

  11. In the area of electronic invoicing and self-billing, the Legal Rapporteurs stressed that investigation of the legal implications was required. The Legal Rapporteurs pointed to the many differences which existed between countries in particular in the area of self-billing and mentioned that barriers linked to tax regulations could sometimes make the use of self-billing procedures impossible.

  12. Close examination of the legal implications linked to the development and use of certification authorities was also considered to be necessary. The Legal Rapporteurs noted that UNCITRAL had carried out initial work and was currently in the process of collecting more information on the subject. The work of ICC in this area is also monitored by the Legal Rapporteurs Team.

  13. The Legal Rapporteurs also noted the necessity to address the issue of data protection. It was reported that national legislation on data protection existed in several countries including Taiwan, Japan and on the European level through a EU Directive requiring implementation by 1998. It was felt that these measures would affect countries without data protection laws since the measures require adequate protection to be provided when transferring data. As UN/EDIFACT messages generally carry identification data, the Legal Rapporteurs suggested to investigate further this issue in order to provide EDI users with general guidance.

  14. The Legal Rapporteurs also briefly mentioned the TEDIC Project (Trade EDI Certification) which had been presented to the LRT at the Helsinki JRT meeting as a follow-up to the request made by WP.4 at its previous meeting to further examine this project. They noted the importance of the project which should be included in the revised programme of work and stressed that several issues, and especially security matters, remained to be addressed.

  15. Programme of Work: The Legal Rapporteurs explained that due to recent developments, including new projects and initiatives as well the re-engineering process, a new programme of work should be drawn up in the light of the re- engineering process.