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20th UN/CEFACT Forum marks progress on electronic business and trade facilitation processes

Published: 26 September 2012

The UN/CEFACT Forum—a meeting of experts from around the world working within the global remit of the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and an intergovernmental body of the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe)—held its 20th session at the University of Technology in Vienna from 17 to 21 September. 

Public-private sector participants included over 130 business and technology experts from 27 UN Member States, the United Nations, the European Union and other international organizations including World Customs Organization (WCO), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA). Experts located around the globe contributed through teleconferencing. 

Efforts focused on business processes both for governments and for the private sector in electronic business and trade facilitation. Experts contributed their skills and experience from a wide range of domains: accounting/audit, agriculture, customs, finance/payments, government, insurance, international trade procedures, procurement, supply-chain management and transport and logistics.  

The Forum made progress in current projects and plans for future developments, as well as in the maintenance of existing recommendations and standards, including the update of Recommendation 14 (Authentication of trade documents by means other than signature), the Single Window Interoperability Recommendation 36 project - to increase the “family” of Single Window Recommendations 33-34-35 developed in the 2004-2011 period,  public-private partnership and consultation models. 

Discussions focused on joint projects with other standards development organizations, including the new “Open data interchange framework” with ISO; and workshops were conducted on key subjects, e.g. e-Procurement, Trusted Exchange on Trade Documents and Global Electronic Freight Exchange.

Although UN/CEFACT’s approach is highly cross-sectoral, as confirmed by the development of standards and projects such as the cross-industry invoice and the supply-chain-process common requirements, which were also addressed during the Forum, significant activity was carried out in specific sectoral environments:  “e-Labs”  (electronic laboratory observation report) and new “Livestock Traceability” projects in agriculture; three new projects concerning Core Components in the insurance sector (for commercial insurance, for property claims handling and for the reimbursement of claims); new “Destination Travel Information” ( DTI process) project in travel & tourism.

UN/CEFACT standards are used worldwide by Governments and business communities, for example UN/EDIFACT (United Nations Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport) since 1987; and sectors such as agriculture are increasingly using UN/CEFACT standards. For example eCertification (eCert) has already been adopted by over 40 countries.

The 21th UN/CEFACT Forum will be held in Geneva from 15 to 19 April 2013.  

Additional information can be found on http://www.unece.org/cefact.html

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