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TRADE/WP.4/GE.2/105
30 September 1996

Original: ENGLISH
ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE
COMMITTEE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE

Working Party on Facilitation of
International Trade Procedures
Meeting of Experts on Procedures and
Documentation (GE.2)
(Fifty-fourth session, 18 September 1996)
   

REPORT OF THE FIFTY-FOURTH SESSION OF THE MEETING OF EXPERTS ON PROCEDURES AND DOCUMENTATION

  1. The Meeting of Experts (GE.2) held its fifty-third session in Geneva on 18 September 1996 under the chairmanship of Mr. E. Goffin (Belgium).

  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. The provisional agenda (TRADE/WP.4/GE.2/104/Rev.1) was adopted with the incorporation of item 4(d) Recommendation No.16 "UN/LOCODE - Code for ports and other locations" and the understanding that item 7 "Legal/commercial aspects of trade facilitation" had been deferred to a joint session of GE.1/GE.2. The Report of the Joint Session of GE.1/GE.2 on 19 September 1996 is appended to the Reports of the fifty-fourth sessions of GE.1 and GE.2.

    Item 2 - Programme of work and priorities

    Documents: - Recommendations for the establishment of CEFACT (TRADE/WP.4/R.1234)

  7. In his introduction, the Chairman of the Meeting of Experts commented on document TRADE/WP.4/R.1234, Recommendations on the establishment of the Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (CEFACT). He explained that this document was the outcome of long discussions, and that it was now time for delegations to take the final decision.

  8. The Chairman added that this matter should further be debated during the session of the Working Party on Thursday afternoon 19 September 1996 and on Friday 20 September 1996. Having noted that document TRADE/WP.4/R.1234 did not contain a detailed Programme of work, he invited delegations to comment on the programme issues of this document.

  9. Several delegations participated in the discussion of the future programme of work of the Centre.

  10. A representative of the delegation of the United Kingdom suggested that ITT Modelling methods should be used for establishing programme elements. He also underlined the importance of the implementation of WP.4 Recommendations No.8 "Unique identification code methodology - UNIC", No.11 "Documentary aspects of transport of dangerous goods" and No.12 "Measures to facilitate transport documents procedures".

  11. In commenting on the organizational structure of CEFACT, the WCO representative indicated that it would be difficult for the vice-chair nominated by intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to adequately represent their constituency. She suggested that intergovernmental organizations such as WCO should be represented at the CEFACT Steering Group.

    Item 3 - Analysis of the International Trade Transaction (ITT)

    Documents:

    • - Report of the Steering group on International Trade Transaction (ITT) Modelling (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.103)
    • - Concordance between commercial documents and UN/EDIFACT messages (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.109)

  12. In his introduction of document TRADE/WP.4/CRP.103, the Convenor of the Steering group reported on the main actions undertaken by the group following the decisions of the March 1996 GE.2 session. At its meeting held on 19-20 June 1996, the Steering group had reviewed the information on the development of electronic ITT models. The Convenor noted that, during that meeting, the Steering Group had developed a draft programme of work to be incorporated in the future Programme of work of CEFACT. During that meeting, the suggestion was made to implement a new method (Matrix method) for the revision of Recommendation No.18. The use of the World Wide Web Network for further promotion of ITT Modelling was also underlined. In the course of the Convenor's statement, many members of the Steering Group gave a briefing on the achievements of the ITT Modelling.

  13. The Convenor also underlined the need for further developments of the aligned international trade documents systems, especially for countries in transition, as a preliminary step, in many cases, for the introduction of EDI.

  14. Several delegations participated in the discussion and favourably commented on the results achieved by the Steering group and the importance of this GE.2 activity.

  15. The Chairman of GE.1, on behalf of the Meeting of Experts on Data Elements and Automatic Data Interchange, supported the close cooperation between the experts of GE.1 and GE.2 experts in this field. He stated that it might be fruitful for the implementation of the UN/EDIFACT developments.

  16. The Meeting recommended that the Steering group continue its activities on the issues indicated in the report in close cooperation with GE.1 experts and report again in March 1997. The next meeting of the Steering group will take place in November 1996. The Meeting thanked the ECE Regional Adviser on Trade Facilitation, Mr. W. Keenan, as well as a member of the delegation of the United Kingdom, Ms. M. Brewster for the excellent demonstration they did on the use of the World Wide Web and modern modelling techniques. A member of the secretariat, Mr. J. Kubler, was thanked for the introduction of the Matrix method in the ITT Modelling and the proposal for the revision of Recommendation No.18 "Facilitation measures related to international trade procedures" based on this matrix.

    Item 4 - Implementation of ECE/FAL Recommendations

    Document: - Methodology for estimating costs and benefits of trade facilitation (TRADE/WP.4/R.1260)

  17. The representative of IECC introduced document TRADE/WP.4/R.1260, which analyses gains on Trade Efficiency as found in the UNCTAD Statistical Pocket Book (TD/STAT/PB.1). These estimates were based on the publication of Fact Sheet 5, presented to the United Nations International Symposium on Trade Efficiency (17- 21 October 1994). His feeling was that the cost/value relationships, relied upon by UNCTAD were questionable. Moreover, any calculations which seek to apply documentary and procedural costs, ascertained in respect of manufactured/consumer goods to world trade, as a whole, were unsustainable. He stated that a clarification was needed not to mislead multinational companies and small businesses participating in international trade.

  18. A representative of the delegation of Romania supported the IECC judgements and underlined the need for the development of a tool for measuring costs of international trade and benefits from trade facilitation. He proposed to continue work on this subject.

  19. Many delegations participated in the discussion and gave additional examples of estimating costs and benefits of trade facilitation. The common view was to promote trade facilitation in general terms for all industrial sectors, as it would be difficult to develop a unique method.

  20. At the proposal of the Chairman, the Meeting agreed to introduce an item on the development of a methodology for the estimation of costs and benefits of trade facilitation in the future Programme of work; an appropriate working group could be included in the structure of CEFACT.

    (a) Recommendation No. 4 "National Trade Facilitation Organizations"
    Document: - List of National Trade Facilitation Committees and Focal Points (TRADE/WP.4/R.898/Rev.7)

  21. The Meeting noted document TRADE/WP.4/R.898/Rev.7, the list of existing committees and focal points, prepared by the secretariat. Delegations were asked to send to the secretariat the contact information on their national trade facilitation bodies, including E-mail addresses. The need for the revision of this Recommendation was underlined, especially in view of the establishment of CEFACT. The attention was drawn to new information regarding World Wide Web pages included in the document.

  22. The Chairman requested the secretariat to continue work on the maintenance of the list and to submit its updated version to the next session of GE.2.

  23. The secretariat drew attention to the Trafix homepage where delegations include information on national Trade Facilitation bodies. Further, it offered assistance to delegations in hosting their respective homepages, should they lack technical means to upload information on the World Wide Web.

  24. A representative from the delegation of the United Kingdom emphasized the need to modernize Recommendation No.4 which he found outdated.
    (b) Recommendation No.10 "Ships' codes"
    Document: - Revision of WP.4/Recommendation No.10 "Code for ship's names" (TRADE/WP.4/R.1253)

  25. The representative of ICS introduced document TRADE/WP.4/R.1253, containing proposals for the revision of this Recommendation. He explained that WP.4, at its forty-fourth session in March 1996, had agreed to recommend the use of the IMO's Ship Identification Number Scheme for the unique identification of ships.

  26. The Meeting agreed to adopt the proposal and the Chairman requested the secretariat to prepare a new revised version of the Recommendation to be submitted to the next session in the official format. Further, he thanked the delegations of ICS for their valuable contribution.
    (c) Recommendation No.12 "Measures to facilitate transport documents procedures"
    Document: - Implementation of ECE/FAL Recommendation No.12 (TRADE/WP.4/R.1218)

  27. The Chairman explained that, for the time being, the Meeting had no written contributions on the subject, but that this topic was crucial in respect of the implementation of non-negotiable documentation in the area of maritime transport. He proposed to keep this item on the agenda for the next meeting of GE.2.
    (d) Recommendation No.16 "UN/LOCODE - Codes for ports and other locations"

  28. The Chairman informed the Meeting that some participants had requested that the subject of UN/LOCODE should be addressed, despite the fact that it did not appear on the agenda for the meeting.

  29. The representative of ICS stated that the UN/LOCODE was vital for the shipping industry; its expansion from a modest start to a broader and broader coverage had led to its daily use in world trade. ICS therefore supported the continued work on UN/LOCODE and suggested that it should deserve a more focused attention, possibly through the creation of an appropriate function within the proposed CEFACT structure.

  30. He drew the attention to some more specific problems noted in the current issue of UN/LOCODE and expressed concern about a large number of locations marked for deletion in some country lists. Users had informed the ICS that many of these were actually in use and that their deletion might hamper trade operations. The use of diacritic signs in place names also created problems, as many users were not familiar with such signs and could not handle them with their data processing and transmission equipment.

  31. The representative of Australia recalled that the question of providing UN/LOCODE entries for off-shore oil rigs had been brought up for some time. Australia would now need code allocations for a number of installations, all located in Australian territorial waters. He had noted that Recommendation No. 16 provided a function identifier (7) for fixed transport functions, e.g. oil platforms.

  32. The representative of IATA informed the meeting that it had been agreed within his organisation to propose a Recommended Practice, stating that IATA will work in co-operation with the United Nations on the establishment and maintenance of a data base for a coding system based on the UN/LOCODE; he recommended that Computer Reservation Systems and other transport providers should use the UN/LOCODE for purposes outside the normal allocation procedure for IATA 3-letter location identifiers, which would be maintained for the foreseeable future.

  33. The WP.4 Consultant on UN/LOCODE, Mr. G. Roos (Sweden), responding to the questions raised, explained that some discrepancies had been found in the current version of UN/LOCODE and that every effort would be made to eliminate them from the 1997 issue.

  34. As to the code requests for off shore oil rigs, the Consultant suggested that code elements should be allocated provisionally and that the question should be adressed at a future meeting.

  35. A discussion with IATA experts had led to the question of code capacity. The Recommended Practice proposed by IATA could lead to a very large number of code requests and it could not be excluded that, for some countries, the 17576 possible permutations with a 3-letter code would not suffice. Instead of using alpha-numeric codes or expanding to four letters (which would be either inadequate, too costly or too complicated), it had been suggested that "substitute" country codes could be introduced, by using the next available letter in the alphabet (e.g. UT for US, DF for DE, etc). This was not a matter of immediate concern but might require consideration at a future meeting.

  36. The Chairman, summing up the discussion, noted with satisfaction the widespread support for the work on UN/LOCODE and the need to provide for continued work through appropriate arrangements, e.g. by convening an ad hoc Working group of interested experts in the framework of CEFACT.
    (e) Recommendation No. 17 "PAYTERMS - Abbreviations for Terms of Payment"
    Document: - Revision of Recommendation No.17 (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.112)

  37. A representative of the ad hoc group on this subject introduced document TRADE/WP.4/CRP.112 on the codification of Terms of Payment and the updating of Recommendation No.17. The urgent need for clear definitions of Terms of Payment was underlined.

  38. A representative of Norway asked the ad hoc group to continue its efforts to develop codes for Terms of Payment. He expressed the wish of his delegation to participate in the activities of the ad hoc group.

  39. The delegation of Romania supported the revision of this Recommendation and proposed to collect and analyze all known codification systems for Terms of Payment.

  40. The Chairman concluded that this activity should be maintained in the framework of CEFACT by a working group on the subject with the participation of the delegations of Romania, Austria, France, Belgium, Norway and of the secretariat.
    (f) Recommendation No.18 "Facilitation measures related to international trade procedures"
    Documents:

    • Questionnaire on pre-shipment inspection (TRADE/WP.4/R.1255)
    • Operation of the Independent Entity established under Article 4 of the Agreement on Preshipment Inspection (TRADE/WP.4/R.1256)

  41. The representative of the World Trade Organization introduced document TRADE/WP.4/R.1255 (Operation of the Independent Entity Established under Article 4 of the Agreement on Preshipment Inspection). She informed the session about the origin and major provisions of the Agreement. As the creation of the Independent Entity is a relatively novel possibility (which became operational in May 1996), there is little experience to assess its operation.

  42. The Meeting discussed the revision of Recommendation No. 18, in particular, the preshipment inspection, including the cost and time-frame for this procedure. The Questionnaire, contained in document TRADE/WP.4/1255, was also discussed. The debate led to the following three decisions:

    1. The withdrawal of document TRADE/WP.4/1255.
    2. The creation of an ad hoc group consisting of the representatives of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, France, Romania, Germany, IFIA, the secretariat and the EU to look into the issue of preshipment inspection.
    3. Following the proposal from the Vice-chair of GE.2, it was agreed to inform WTO of WP.4 activities in this area in relation to the review of the implementation of the Agreement on PSI.

  43. The Meeting also noted that the general revision of Recommendation No.18 is a very important task to be carried out in cooperation with the Steering Group on the ITT Modelling.
    (g) Recommendation No.20 "Codes for units of measurement used in international trade"
    Documents:

    • - Draft revision of Recommendation No.20 (TRADE/WP.4/R.1224)
    • - Request for inclusion in Recommendation No.20 (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.113)

  44. A member of the secretariat explained that, although the revised version of this Recommendation had been formally approved at the March 1996 session of GE.1, the translations into official languages of the addendum to document TRADE/WP.4/R.1224 had not been achieved before this session due to the big volume of documentation. The Meeting should revert to this subject again at the next session in March 1997.

  45. A representative of the delegation of Germany introduced document TRADE/WP.4/CRP.113, containing a request for its inclusion in Recommendation No.20. He explained that the document was for information and not for decision. He proposed to reconsider the proposal at the next meeting.

  46. The Chairman asked the secretariat to issue the proposal in the series of WP.4 working documents and to provide the translation of the above-mentioned addendum for the GE.2 session in March 1996.

    Item 5 - Revision of the Kyoto Convention

    Document: - Revision of the Kyoto Convention (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.108)

  47. The representative of the delegation of the Netherlands introduced document TRADE/WP.4/CRP.108 which presented one of the three possible ways for the revision of the Kyoto Convention on Customs procedures. This document contains a Dutch compromise proposal for the structure of a revised Convention. The other two possibilities are (i) leaving the structure of the Convention as it is and (ii) drafting an entirely new Convention. The structure will be one of the main topics of discussion during the meeting of the WCO working group on the revision of the Kyoto Convention in October 1996 in Brussels.

  48. He stressed that Customs procedures are part of trade procedures and that further simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures will contribute to the overall trade facilitation process. Equally, ECE/CEFACT could bring a useful input in the WCO debates on this topic in several aspects. He therefore felt that ECE/CEFACT should liaise through an ad hoc or permanent group with WCO; nevertheless, duplication of work between the two bodies must be avoided and complementarity fostered. Sweden expressed interest in participating in such a working group. The representative of WCO stressed the importance of avoiding duplication in the work of the two bodies, but was aware of the value of the Dutch proposal.

  49. It was decided that the delegation of the Netherlands with the collaboration of Sweden and the WCO would prepare terms of reference and mandate for an ad hoc Working group for the March 1997 session.

    Item 6 - Trade documents names and functions

  50. At the request of the Chairman, who explained that this subject had been covered by the discussion on agenda item 4 "Analysis of the International Trade Transaction (ITT)", it was agreed to revert to this item at the next session.

    Item 7 - Aligned forms and the Trade Data Elements Directory (UNTDED)

    Document:
    • Purchase Order Layout (TRADE/WP.4/R.1258)
    • Single Administrative Document for Customs Declaration (TRADE/WP.4/R.1259)
    • Enquiry/Request for Quote (TRADE/WP.4/R.1261)
    • Offer/Quotation (TRADE/WP.4/R.1259)

  51. The representative of the delegation of Romania introduced all above-mentioned documents and indicated that UNTDED was a valuable source of information for the development of aligned international trade documents and electronic messages. He assured the Meeting that his delegation would continue this work.

  52. Several delegations supported the initiative of the delegation of Romania. The delegations of the European Union and UNCTAD agreed to comment on document TRADE/WP.4/R.1259, Single Administrative Document for Customs Declaration, for the preparation of its new version. The delegation of France drew the attention of the secretariat to the problem of the alignment of the phitosanitary certificate and the need to inform the appropriate international organizations.

  53. Taking into account the progress reached by the delegation of Romania in this area, the Meeting agreed to revert to this item at the next session.

    Item 8 - Legal and commercial aspects of trade facilitation

    Document: - Report from the Legal Rapporteurs (TRADE/WP.4/CRP.102)

  54. This item was considered at the joint session of GE.1 and GE.2 on legal matters on 19 September 1996. The Report of this joint session is reproduced in the Annex to this Report.

    Item 9 - Other business

    Recommendation No.21"Codes for types of cargo, packages and packaging materials"
    Documents: - Proposal for amendments to Annex I and II of Recommendation No.21 "Codes for types of cargo, packages and packaging materials" (TRADE/WP.4/R.1263)

  55. In the introduction of document TRADE/WP.4/R.1263, the representative of the delegation of Germany indicated that, in Recommendation No.21, passengers are classified as cargo and assigned to the type of "Mobil self-propelled units". In order to alter the inappropriate assignment within the classification system, the proposal was made to include a separate category for passengers in addition to cargo.

  56. At the proposal of the Chairman, supported by ICS, the Meeting agreed to ask the secretariat to amend Annex I and II of the Recommendation and to submit them for approval by the next session of GE.2 in March 1996.
    Publication of WP.4/Recommendations

  57. In accordance with the decision taken by WP.4 at the session in September 1994, the secretariat informed the Meeting that all the Recommendations approved by the Working Party had been published in document ECE/TRADE/200.
    Meeting dates and deadlines

  58. The secretariat informed delegations of the following WP.4 meeting dates and deadlines for document submission:
    
    Week beginning                  Translation             Issuance as WP.4 Document
    
    Monday 17 March 1997          15 December 1996          15 January 1997
    
    

  59. Contact information for submission of comments, as requested in the above Report:
     For the Programme of Work and Priorities and the revision of Recommendation No.17
     "PAYTERMS":
     
     	Mr. Emile GOFFIN, Chairman of GE.2 
    	Directeur général adjoint
    	Office belge du commerce extérieur
     	162, Bd. Emile Jacqmain, Bte 36
    	B-1000 BRUXELLES
     	Belgium
     	Fax: +32 2 217 61 23
    	E-mail: goffin@obcebdbh.be
     
     
     For analysis of the International Trade Transaction (ITT):
     
    	Mr. Dumitrache DIMA
    	Vice-Chairman of WP.4
    	Vice Président ROMPRO
    	Directeur Général
    	Ministère du Commerce
    	Romanian Foreign Trade Centre
     	ROMPRO
     	17, Apolodor Str.
    	70661 BUCAREST, Sect 5
     	Romania
     	Fax: +401 311 1491
     	E-mail: ddima@u1.ici.ro
     
     For revision of the Kyoto Convention:
     
     Mr. Ari Van Bellen
     Secretary General SITPRONETH
     Senior Advisor EDIFORUM
     EDIFORUM
     P.O. Box 262
     N-2266 J LEIDSCHENDAM
     NETHERLANDS
     Fax: +31 70 327 6965
     E-mail: ediforum@worldaccess.n
     
     For UN/LOCODE - Code for ports and other locations:
     
     Mr. Ernst SMIRNOV
     Trade Facilitation Section
     Un/ECE Trade Division
     Palais des Nations, Office 440
     1211 Geneva 10
     Switzerland
     Fax: +41 22 917 00 37
     E-mail: ernst.smirnov.ece@unog.ch
     
     Copies of contributions should also be sent to the secretariat of WP.4.
     
    

    Item 10 - Adoption of the Report of the fifty-fourth session

  60. The report of the GE.2 was adopted on 20 September 1996 on the basis of a draft prepared by the secretariat.

ANNEX

REPORT OF THE JOINT GE.1 AND GE.2 SESSION ON LEGAL AND COMMERCIAL ASPECTS OF TRADE FACILITATION (19 September 1996)

Documents:

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.

    _____________