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28th UN/CEFACT Forum - supporting trade facilitation

Trade facilitation is gaining interest from countries all around the world following the conclusion of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in Bali in 2013. As a result, the work of the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), which develops a body of freely available recommendations and standards that help reduce regulatory and procedural barriers to trade, is receiving support from an unprecedented scope of countries.

160 experts from over 40 countries and organisations in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America are gathering this week in Bangkok for the 28th UN/CEFACT Forum (26 - 30 September) to develop recommendations, standards and other instruments to support trade facilitation.

Some of the key expected outcomes are:

  • Approval by the Bureau of the UNECE Recommendation on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in Trade Facilitation;
  • Launching of a new UN/CEFACT project on core operational aspects of Single Windows;
  • Finalisation of the draft UN/CEFACT standard for traceability of agricultural products, including animal and plant fibres;
  • Sharing of best practices in using UN/CEFACT standards, recommendations and guidance for directly exchanging electronic sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) certificates; and
  • Completion of the project that produced the Verified Gross Mass (VERMAS) message that allows the transmission of the weight and related details for a packed container (it is a legal requirement that all parties along the transport chain are informed about the verified gross mass of a container).

Eight Mini Conferences have been organised during the week to showcase ongoing UN/CEFACT projects and new deliverables. The topics include women in trade facilitation, sustainable fisheries (FLUX standard) and Single Window.

This edition of the UN/CEFACT Forum is co-hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) of Thailand.