- GE.1 held its fifty-fourth session in Geneva from 16-17 September 1996 under
the chairmanship of Mr. R. WALKER (United Kingdom).
- 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.
- The session was attended by representatives of the European Union (EU).
- Representatives from Australia, Brazil, Gabon, Japan and Korea participated
under Article 11 of the Commission's terms of reference.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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 =
- UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 4 - Syntax and Service
Report Message for Batch EDI (Message Type =
- 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 =
- 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
- 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
SYNTAX DEVELOPMENT GROUP (SDG)
- 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.
- 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.
REVISION 4 OF THE UN/EDIFACT SYNTAX
UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Parts 1, 2, 3 and 8
- 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
- UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 3 - Syntax Rules Specific to Interactive EDI
- UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Part 8 - Associated Data in UN/EDIFACT Data
GE.1 noted these documents.
- 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
UN/EDIFACT Syntax, Parts 5 and 6
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The following resolution was then adopted by GE.1 for recommendation to
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
- 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
- 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 =
- 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
- 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
INTERACTIVE MESSAGE DESIGN GUIDELINES
- 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".
- GE.1 approved the Interactive Message Design Guidelines (TRADE/WP.4/R.1237)
for recommendation to WP.4.
AD HOC GROUP 1 (AC.1) REPORT
- The AC.1 chair reported on the outcome of their July 1996 meeting held in
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- GE.1 also accepted the issue identified in recommendation 4 of the AC.1
"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.
UN/EDIFACT RULES FOR PRESENTATION OF STANDARDIZED MESSAGE AND DIRECTORIES
DOCUMENTATION AND REVISED UN/EDIFACT DIRECTORY VERSION/RELEASE PROCEDURES
- 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.
- 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.
MESSAGE DESIGN RULES
- 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.
- 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 .
- 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
PAN AMERICAN EDIFACT BOARD RESOLUTIONS
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
UN/ECE RECOMMENDATION NUMBER 25
- 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
- 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.
- 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
REGIONAL EDIFACT RAPPORTEURS REPORTS
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
REPORT FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE EDIFACT STEERING GROUP (ESG)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- GE.1 noted TRADE/WP.4/CRP.98 (The Report from the Chair of the ESG to
RETIREMENT OF THE PAEB RAPPORTEUR
- 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
D.96B UN/EDIFACT DIRECTORY
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- GE.1 approved, for recommendation to WP.4, the D.96B directory.
- 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.
- 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.
ISSUES ARISING FROM THE D.96B DIRECTORY AUDIT
- 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.
- The delegation of France expressed concern about the third issue on
principles related to the development of the I-EDI directories as described in
- 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.
- 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.
STATUS 0 MESSAGES
- 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.
- 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
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
STANDARDS LIAISON RAPPORTEUR'S REPORT
- 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.
- 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
- During the Helsinki JRT the SLT had also reviewed an ISO fast track Data
Directories Standard and first reactions were very positive.
- 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.
- GE.1 then noted the Standards Liaison Rapporteur Executive Summary Report
(TRADE/WP.4/CRP.99) and Meeting Report (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.106).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
THE BASIC SEMANTIC REPOSITORY (BSR)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- There were no documents, and no discussion, under this agenda item during this session of
Agenda Item 8 - International Trade Transaction Model
TRADE/WP.4/CRP.103 Report of the Steering Group for the International Trade
Transaction (ITT) Model
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Delegations expressed their concern about the possible misinterpretation of
the table in the Annex to TRADE/WP.4/CRP.111.
- Many delegations made statements in support of multilingualism and requested
that the MLT group investigate and report on practical action in this area.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Item 10 - Re-engineering: Recommendations for the Establishment of CEFACT
TRADE/WP.4/R.1234 Recommendations for the Establishment of CEFACT
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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,
JOINT ECE/ESCAP TRAINING PROJECT
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Numerous delegations noted the importance and interest of these documents.
- 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
DEADLINES AND MEETING DATES
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- Contact information for submission of comments, as requested in the above
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
Telephone: 49 30 2601 2305
Telefax: 49 30 2601 1158
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
Fax: 32 2 296 8387
Mr. Renaud Sorieul
Legal Officer, UN/OLA/ITLB
Secretary UNCITRAL Working Group on EDI
Vienna International Centre
Fax: 43 21345 4071
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
Comments for consideration by the Bureau and on other subjects, should be
Mr. Hans Hansell
Trade Facilitation Section
UN/ECE Trade Division
Palais des Nations, Rm. 442
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: 41 22 917 0037
- 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)
Item 13 - Adoption of the report of the fifty-fourth session
- The report of GE.1 was adopted on 20 September 1996 on the basis of a draft
prepared by the secretariat.
REPORT OF THE JOINT GE.1 AND GE.2 SESSION
ON LEGAL AND COMMERCIAL ASPECTS OF TRADE FACILITATION
(19 September 1996)
TRADE/WP.4/CRP.102 Legal Rapporteurs Report
- The joint session was chaired by Mrs. B. Curry, Vice-Chair of WP.4.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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-