• English

Media Clippings

UN/CEFACT - Opinion: Scenario for post-Brexit UK

08/12/2017

http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2017/12/08/no-the-brexit-deal-hasn-t-just-sold-the-country-down-the-riv

by Oliver Norgrove, blogger and political commentator who worked for the Vote Leave campaign. He is campaigning for the UK's return to EFTA. He also studies a political Masters degree in Elections, Campaigns and Democracy

When it comes to the issue of the Irish border, the key phrase in today's report on the conclusion of phase one talks is: "The United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and Customs Union."

It is true that this does not bring finality to the Irish border problem, but this is not the point. Today was really about cementing a workable outline. Instead, the key is that there is enormous political will for a soft border and that the ball is now in the UK's court to propose constructive island-specific solutions. In other words, the agreement on phase one gives Britain a chance to be creative, and if it cannot do so it has nobody else to blame. In essence, the Europeans have presented us with an interesting negotiating test.

(…)

As a hesitant and inexperienced new customs entity, we should think of attachment to the European regulatory sphere as a helping hand. Without it, our intricately integrated supply chains will meet crippling resistance from all manner of checks and customs formalities. Third country protocols are designed deliberately to protect the integrity of the EU's established market. Close cooperation will bring some much needed stability.

Post-Brexit, British trade policy ought to be centred on efforts to bridge regulatory divides by championing global initiatives (like UNECE's Single Window) in regulatory forums and international conventions covering sectors we have significant expertise and clout in. This is not idealistic or implausible. If we are talking about international leadership, a truly 'global Britain' should divert its attention towards schemes designed to enhance trade facilitation.

It is inconceivable at this stage that the European Council will reject the Commission's recommendation to move on to the second phase of talks. The time frame simply won't allow for it. The immediate focus now should be upon massaging the need to avoid a hard Irish border and fighting to achieve necessary behind-the-border solutions to approaching problems. These include, for instance, reaching agreement on VAT and tackling the especially thorny issue of agricultural tariffs.

I don't think we should go as far as to describe today's progress as a huge achievement. If the Brexit negotiations have taught me anything it is to expect the unexpected and things could turn sour at any moment. Given that the Article 50 talks have been characterised by lengthy impasses, I am encouraged by progress of any kind. But I still maintain that the best Brexit available to Britain is one that sees us retain membership of the Single Market we were a frontrunner in creating.

The Irish border issue is now one of the key reasons for this and I think we will struggle to conjure up imaginative solutions to potential sources of friction. Ultimately we must work with the reality we have and I think we can at least be thankful for the chance. We have not been sold down a river. We have decided to leave well-protected structures and alternatives will not come easy. It's really now down to us.

Jamaica: Implementing A Single Window For Trade
28/11/2017
jamaica-gleaner.com/article/shipping/20171128/implementing-single-window-trade

Implementing a single window for trade would greatly enhance business operations within Jamaica's trading community. The country is on its way to developing a single window to provide one entry point for all import, export and transit related regulatory requirements, as a means of improving connectivity between port and terminal operators, customs offices, other regulatory agencies, and traders. The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business defines a single window for trade as "a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry."

In order to bring this to fruition, trade-related entities within government will need to establish the institutional capacity necessary to coordinate implementation and manage operation of the single window, allowing the country to benefit from the economic opportunities arising from increased ease of international trade.

Once implemented, the single window is expected to allow importers and exporters to lodge documents electronically and facilitate the electronic exchange of information between government agencies and traders. This promises to reduce the time and money it takes to carry out trade transactions.

Recently implemented

 Sounds familiar? Well it should, as traders will already be familiar with two pillars of the single window. The recently implemented Customs Management System (ASYCUDA, Automated System for Customs Data) facilitates the electronic submission of customs declarations and shipping manifests. The Port Community System promises to provide an electronic messaging interface to facilitate the exchange of information along the supply chain.

While some trade regulatory entities have computerised some of their processes, these initiatives were implemented separately by each entity, resulting in limited integration or coordination between the related systems. The result was that importers and exporters still had to visit multiple entities to complete approval processes and sign multiple physical documents. Once the processes are re-engineered and the automated systems are fully integrated, it is estimated that the time taken to import and export goods would be reduced.

The implementation of the single window will require further modernisation of other trade and border agencies to bring trade facilitation practices and standards in line with international best practice.

The shipping community is eagerly anticipating all the electronic upgrades which will facilitate trade and support the emergence of Jamaica as a significant global logistics hub.

Jamaica: Implementing A Single Window For Trade

Implementing a single window for trade would greatly enhance business operations within Jamaica's trading community. The country is on its way to developing a single window to provide one entry point for all import, export and transit related regulatory requirements, as a means of improving connectivity between port and terminal operators, customs offices, other regulatory agencies, and traders. The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business defines a single window for trade as "a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry."

In order to bring this to fruition, trade-related entities within government will need to establish the institutional capacity necessary to coordinate implementation and manage operation of the single window, allowing the country to benefit from the economic opportunities arising from increased ease of international trade.

Once implemented, the single window is expected to allow importers and exporters to lodge documents electronically and facilitate the electronic exchange of information between government agencies and traders. This promises to reduce the time and money it takes to carry out trade transactions.

Recently implemented

Sounds familiar? Well it should, as traders will already be familiar with two pillars of the single window. The recently implemented Customs Management System (ASYCUDA, Automated System for Customs Data) facilitates the electronic submission of customs declarations and shipping manifests. The Port Community System promises to provide an electronic messaging interface to facilitate the exchange of information along the supply chain.

While some trade regulatory entities have computerised some of their processes, these initiatives were implemented separately by each entity, resulting in limited integration or coordination between the related systems. The result was that importers and exporters still had to visit multiple entities to complete approval processes and sign multiple physical documents. Once the processes are re-engineered and the automated systems are fully integrated, it is estimated that the time taken to import and export goods would be reduced.

The implementation of the single window will require further modernisation of other trade and border agencies to bring trade facilitation practices and standards in line with international best practice.

The shipping community is eagerly anticipating all the electronic upgrades which will facilitate trade and support the emergence of Jamaica as a significant global logistics hub.

Thailand: The Role of Government in Promoting Industry 4.0

22/11/2017
http://ow.ly/fiZQ30gJXKv
Original language: Thai

Transforming a business into a digital business is imperative if the challenge is to make a living in the future. But on the path to that point, there are many elements that need to be pushed to the standard. This article introduces the concept of public sector role in promoting industry. 4.0.

Government targets within 10-20 years. From now on, every economic activity must be connected internally and internationally with digital technology. Thailand is an important part of the Global Value Chain to achieve that goal. Thailand needs to start supporting Thai businesses. Digitize yourself to Digital Business to be ready to connect with the international business network as a step. Government must be prepared to support the business sector. Especially SMEs in the following.

1. Encourage the industry to become a digital business.

Digitize is a digital business that must start with digital business processes and be able to connect with business partners, especially those who buy online. There are four basic types of transactions: Purchasing Order, PO, Invoice, Payment and Receive.

Starting in preparation for industry 4.0, the government must accelerate its support for at least the following industries.

1) Support the use of standardized information and standard messages, including:

* International Standard Code Currently, public and private, have settled on the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN 13 digits) of the GS1 

* standard product codes separately. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is currently under the management of the GS1 Code. The UNSPSC code is a multi-level product grouping code. This is very important for international trade management.

* Electronic invoice standard Powered by the Office of Electronic Transaction Development. Bank of Thailand, Department of Revenue and the Federation of Thai Industries Use standardized standards of UN / CEFACT This electronic invoice standard covers other electronic trading documents, such as e-tax invoices, receipts (e-Receipts), and so on.

* Payment Information Standard The Bank of Thailand joined the Federation of Thai Industries And the Office of Electronic Transaction Development. (Public Organization) has developed a national payment message standard that will automatically link trade and payment information. Straight-Through Processing, which speeds up and reduces costs in business processes. Thailand has adopted ISO 20022.

2) Support the development of business software for small and medium businesses. 

Small business (SMEs) do business with less complicated steps like big business. The process of work is relatively simple, but it covers the work within the value chain. Core processes from the upstream to the downstream. Supporting processes are like large businesses. But every step is not as deep as a big business.

(…)

The fundamentals of the digital economy 

20/11/2017
http://ow.ly/cRy330gIm8B
Original language: Russian

INTERNATIONAL STANDARD OF ELECTRONIC EXCHANGE OF DATA UN / EDIFACT

UN / EDIFACT (English) is a set of international standards, directories and rules for the electronic exchange of structured data (relating in particular to commerce and services) between independent computerized information systems. In this sense, UN / EDIFACT is a system of international standards for the electronic exchange of commercial data. The abbreviation of the name is deciphered as follows (see www.unece.org/trade/untdid/texts/d100_d.htm ):

UN / EDIFACT - United Nations Rules for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport

UN / EDIFACT - United Nations Electronic Data Exchange Rules for Administration, Trade and Transport.

The concept of "trade" (English trade) has a broad interpretation here, including the issues of freight forwarding, customs clearance, insurance, etc. 

The UN / EDIFACT and UNTDED have been developed jointly by the UNECE Working Party on Facilitation of International Trade Procedures and the ISO1515 Technical Standardization Committee of the International Standard Organization. The results of this development were fixed by international standards. The first version of UN / EDIFACT was published by the International Organization for Standardization in October 1988 as two documents:

ISO 7372 - 86 "Trade data interchange. Trade data elements directory. First edition. 1986-03-01 "(Handbook of commercial data elements);

ISO 9735 - 88 "EDI for administration, commerce and transport (EDIFACT). Syntax rules. 1988-07-15 "(EDIFACT Syntax Rules).

In accordance with the UNECE Recommendation No. 25 on the Use of the United Nations Standard for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport, it is recommended that "UN / EDIFACT be implemented as a single international standard for electronic data interchange (EDI) between public administrations and private companies in all economic sectors on a worldwide basis . "

Based on the UN TDED data, a standard UN / EDIFACT message library has been developed - the so-called UNSM (United Nations Standard Message). The UN / EDIFACT Directory and Standard Message Library is updated bi-annually and is published on the UN / CEFACT website.

(…)

For each SubSet of the standard UN / EDIFACT message, an application guide is developed with an indication of the list of used data elements, code lists and examples of transmitted information - the so-called MIG (Message Implementation Guidelines), which includes a diagram of the segments and segment groups of the standard message:

The use of standard UN / EDIFACT directories makes it possible to simplify the process of developing electronic documents in the syntax of an extensible XML markup language (eXtensible Markup Language). The simple and relatively easy to implement XML syntax is characterized by the absence of strict organization of the structures, directories and codes inherent in UN EDIFACT. Hence - the presence of many different types of development in the syntax of XML, in which incompatible codes and classifiers are used.

The use of an "international standard" of XML without harmonizing with the requirements of international reference books and data models often leads to the incompatibility of XML message formats among themselves and, as a consequence, to the need for individual adjustment of information interaction inherent in the application of UN EDIFACT applications.

(…)

The guidelines developed by SMDG for the application of UN / EDIFACT messages are actively used by all international companies. For example, these messages are used in the information systems of the container terminals of the Big Port of St. Petersburg or in the organization of information interaction with customers in the information system of MAERSK LINE:

At the same time, most state officials are not currently familiar with either the EDIFACT electronic data exchange standards or with the experience of applying EDI to Russian and foreign businesses. Any activity in this direction was suspended in connection with the liquidation of the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations in 1997, which oversaw the work of the Interdepartmental Coordination Council of IMCC EDIFACT, which ceased its work simultaneously with the liquidation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.

Netherlands: Soon there will be an obligation to receive and process electronic invoices 

20/11/2017
http://eeiplatform.com/19446/scobdo-results-event/

The obligation to receive and process electronic invoices is approaching rapidly. Many suppliers and governmental bodies already prepared their systems accordingly. The European Directive however mandates that not only UBL but also UN/CEFACT invoices must be accepted. Some countries and industry sectors develop variants of the new European Norm.

For suppliers and for governmental bodies the adaptation of their systems to the Norm with all its variants is a major investment. Fortunately a solution has been developed that allows for automatic conversion between the variants and the presently used formats: SCOBDO.eu.

Wednesday 13 December the results of the SCOBDO project are presented at the E-invoicing in Practice Conference, near Utrecht, The Netherlands.

At this event, conversion between e-invoicing formats is demonstrated, the underlying technology is shown and the practical use of the system is discussed.

(…)

SCOBDO is a project. lead by the University of Groningen. Participants are eVerbinding, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Logius, the Municipality of Groningen, Vanenburg Software and GEFEG.mbH. SCOBDO is partly funded under the CEF program of the European Commission, and runs from September 2016 to December 2017.

UN/CEFACT - Blockchain Interoperability

18/11/2017
http://www.thansettakij.com/content/231284
Original language: Thai

At this moment, it is believed that the reader will hear the story about Blockchain somewhat. The joint development between local commercial banks and operators and the development of Cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, and many software developers have introduced the Blockchain application and services to address Cybercrime problems. concern for many businesses 

However, there is no question that the development Blockchain variety of businesses today are fundamentally compatible, however. Developed systems can be connected. Information sharing and collaboration? The so-called Interoperability because current development is a business matching or partner relationship. This may cause problems. If there is a link to a system that has evolved in the future.

To fix the problem. Standardization and electronic transactions and international organizations, such as the International Standard Organization (ISO) and the United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN / CEFACT), share the same rapid development of technology. The development and use of the Core Component Library (CCL), a major component of software development and applications It is the basis for data harmonization. In addition, the system has been upgraded to more data-centric and data-centric exchanges to maximize the benefits of the system. Both in terms of trade processes. Linking with government agencies This enables the same data to be used throughout the end-to-end supply chain and can be analyzed and utilized in the Big Data database.

The experts agreed to set up Blockchain standards for interoperability between the developed subsystems and maximize their benefits to the economic ecosystem. Major initiatives include the Blockchain White Paper Project under UN / CEFACT. Consider the use of current electronic transaction standards.

However, in addition to the standard of information technology. The key to using Blockchain is to make the most of it: 1) Improve the system / process throughout the supply chain to match the technology. 2) Improve the rules and regulations of government agencies to be flexible to the change of technology. 3) Improve the work of the government to link to the system. Information technology of the private sector. For the most benefit. The Council of Shipping of Thailand. Follow up progress and work with relevant government agencies and private sectors.

Russia: The fundamentals of the digital economy

13/11/2017

Original language: Russian

Sea News continues a series of publications on the introduction of the Single Window mechanism and electronic data interchange between carriers and government agencies at sea border crossing points.

In the "Strategy for the Development of the Information Society in the Russian Federation for 2017-20130", approved by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, the digital economy is defined as " economic activity in which the key factor in production is data in digital form , processing large volumes and using analysis results in comparison with traditional forms of management can significantly improve the efficiency of various types of production, technology, equipment, storage, sale, delivery, then var and services ".

In accordance with the International Recommendations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) No. 33 "Recommendation and guidelines for the establishment of a Single Window mechanism for improving the effective exchange of information between trade organizations and government agencies" and No. 34 "Simplification and standardization of data for international trade "The introduction of the" single window "mechanism implies mandatory harmonization and unification of relevant trade documents and data sets.

In order to achieve compatibility with other international systems and application mechanisms, documents and data models in the Single Window mechanism should be built on the basis of international standards and recommendations. When compiling lists of data covering the information of the initial list of documents and messages to be harmonized, as well as in the formation of a national data model, it is necessary to identify the data elements, including their designations and description of the format in accordance with the requirements of international standards.

The proposed series of publications will address the following issues of standardization and application of data elements:

(1) United Nations Trade Data Elements Directory (UNTDED, ISO 7372); 

(2) International Standard for Electronic Data Interchange UN / EDIFACT; 

(3) UN / CEFACT key component library (CCL) and UN / CEFACT technical specifications (CCTS); 

(4) World Customs Organization data model; 

(5) The concept of an intelligent "data pipeline"; 

(6) Application of a unique UCR number to implement traceability of consignments.

UN Trade Data Elements Directory (UNTDED, ISO 7372)

In the international standard ISO 9735 (GOST 6.20.1-90) "Electronic data interchange in management, trade and transport (EDIFACT). Syntax rules "the following definitions are given:

Data is the presentation of concepts in a formalized form, suitable for communication, interpretation or processing by hand, or by automatic means.

A data item is a unit of data, which is considered indivisible under certain conditions. In EDIFACT, this is a unit of data for which methods of identification, description, and representation of a value are defined.

Directory of data elements - a list of identified, described and named data elements with an indication of how the corresponding values ​​of data items should be presented.

The UN TDED International Trade Data Elements Directory has been developed and is being supported by the United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN / CEFACT) under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

The UN TDED directory has since 1986 been given the status of an international standard by the International Standard Organization, ISO 7372-86 (GOST 6.20.2-91). The term "foreign trade data" is introduced by the state standard GOST 6.20.2-91, corresponding to ISO 7372-86. Therefore, in Russian, UN TDED stands for the abbreviation UNTDED (UN Trade Data Elements Directory)

UN TDED contains a detailed description of 10 groups of standard data elements with their name, description and presentation.

UN TDED is periodically updated and published electronically and on paper (1991, 1993, 2005).

(…)

Accelerate paperless trade measures as development engine: UN report

04/11/2017

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2017-11/04/content_34102379.htm

Approx: 5 articles

Reducing trade costs is essential for countries to effectively harness trade as an engine for growth and sustainable development, a United Nations report said Friday.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), along with the other regional commissions, for Africa (ECA), Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Western Asia (ESCWA), said in their report that to accomplish such a growth engine is by tackling non-tariff sources of trade costs and addressing cumbersome regulatory procedures and documentation requirements.

"Indeed, trade facilitation (the simplification and harmonization of import, export and transit procedures) includes paperless trade," said the report.

Paperless trade is the use and exchange of electronic data and documents to support the trade transaction process.

The report noted that this has taken on increasing importance as evidenced by the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which entered into force in February 2017.

The results of the report are based on data from 120 countries worldwide. It shows the global average implementation rate of the set of trade facilitation and paperless trade measures considered in the survey is about 60 percent.

It notes that top performers such as the Netherlands (93.6 percent), Singapore (90.3 percent), the Republic of Korea (89.2 percent) and China (84.9) have maintained their momentum.

The report shows that being a small or less developed country is not necessarily associated with poor trade facilitation performance.

In fact, more than 40 economies with GDP per capita of less than $10,000, achieve implementation rates higher than 50 percent, said the report.

UN/CEFACT - Accelerate paperless trade measures as development engine: UN report

04/11/2017

Approx: 5 articles

Reducing trade costs is essential for countries to effectively harness trade as an engine for growth and sustainable development, a United Nations report said Friday.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), along with the other regional commissions, for Africa (ECA), Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Western Asia (ESCWA), said in their report that to accomplish such a growth engine is by tackling non-tariff sources of trade costs and addressing cumbersome regulatory procedures and documentation requirements.

"Indeed, trade facilitation (the simplification and harmonization of import, export and transit procedures) includes paperless trade," said the report.

Paperless trade is the use and exchange of electronic data and documents to support the trade transaction process.

The report noted that this has taken on increasing importance as evidenced by the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which entered into force in February 2017.

The results of the report are based on data from 120 countries worldwide. It shows the global average implementation rate of the set of trade facilitation and paperless trade measures considered in the survey is about 60 percent.

It notes that top performers such as the Netherlands (93.6 percent), Singapore (90.3 percent), the Republic of Korea (89.2 percent) and China (84.9) have maintained their momentum.

The report shows that being a small or less developed country is not necessarily associated with poor trade facilitation performance.

In fact, more than 40 economies with GDP per capita of less than $10,000, achieve implementation rates higher than 50 percent, said the report.

China: Chongqing "single window" today on-line operation of international trade
01/11/2017
http://news.ifeng.com/a/20171101/52892630_0.shtml
Original language: Chinese
Approx: 18 articles

China (Chongqing) International Trade single window (hereinafter referred to as: Chongqing "single window") on-line operation, companies only need to enter a system. The documents only need to submit once the service will be more convenient. At the same time, Chongqing international trade facilitation degree will be further enhanced, Chongqing port customs clearance will be optimized more than 30%, customs clearance time will be reduced by more than 10%, business costs will fall more than 10%.
Let the data run more international trade enterprises save time and effort
(…)
Juhang International is a platform to provide cross-border logistics solutions, to help enterprises declaration, is an important business. April 2017, Juhang International has become the first batch of Chongqing single window pilot enterprises; May 9, Juhang International successfully declared a single window of our first declaration of business; August 2, Juhang International successfully declared Single window of the original certificate of origin business.
(…)
The official said, "single window" to achieve a record, multiple calls, reduce duplication of operations, improve data accuracy; and the state of real-time transparent, full risk control. At present, the company has achieved 100% electronic processing of document processing and information exchange, customs clearance error rate reduced to 3 million, customs clearance efficiency increased by nearly 200%, customs clearance costs by more than 50%.
(…)
Juhang International's change is only a microcosm of the city's promotion of trade facilitation. According to incomplete statistics, a single window officially on-line operation, the Chongqing port will achieve more than 30% of customs clearance links, customs clearance time by more than 10%, corporate costs fell more than 10%.
Break the "information barriers" long run a window to do. 
In the past, "system barriers" and "information island" led directly to the port regulatory authorities, terminals, freight yard and other units in the port clearance operations business coordination is not smooth, affecting customs efficiency, increase business costs, "single window" to improve this situation The opportunity.
(UN / CEFACT) in the form of a proposal, refers to the international trade enterprises through a channel one-time submission of relevant information, data and a single window by the United Nations Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business Center (UN / CEFACT) Certification, to meet the import and export regulatory authorities and international logistics related requirements of the application system. In layman's terms, it can solve the problem of repeated reporting, long reporting, data and document coordination, simplification and standardization, as well as the transparency of the government regulatory process, to achieve international trade facilitation.
In February this year, Chongqing, a single window construction officially started in late July, a single window function on the line, into the commissioning operation phase. At present, a single window successfully docked the city's 22 international units involved in the international trade chain 54 systems, to achieve the system interoperability, bringing together 57 information sharing, 368 million, to promote water and iron logistics information sharing and business collaboration functions.
(…)
According to the national "single window" framework of the top design, Chongqing "single window" opened the government services, logistics cooperation, data services, the application of four plates, planning and construction of 39 functions. In addition to the national standard version of the nine national administrative functions, the remaining 30 are developed in Chongqing, "features" features, including: cross-border trade e-commerce public service platform, the whole process of imports of drugs, foreign trade enterprises, such as credit.
It is worth mentioning that the "single window" will provide 108 convenience measures for traffic at the port of Chongqing, such as providing 25 convenience measures for customs brokers, providing 23 convenient measures for consignee and consignor and its agents, To provide convenient measures 9, for the national inspection to provide convenient measures 7 and so on.
At present, a single window focused on solving the four aspects of the "blocking point" problem, the initial realization of "Stone". First, to solve the problem of information sharing, to achieve information exchange; Fourth, to solve business collaboration issues, to achieve business flow of the two, to solve the problem of information sharing,

China: Chongqing "single window" trade facilitation system to be operational 

27/10/2017

Original language: Chinese

Approx: 6 articles

"Single window" as an important international trade facilitation measure, for enterprises to reduce the burden of speed is of great significance. Today, Chongqing "single window" system construction has been basically completed, and will be running on October 31.

Xiao Wenjun, deputy director of the port office of the city government, introduced the "single window" by the United Nations Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business Center (UN/CEFACT) in the form of a proposal, meaning that companies engaged in international trade through a channel to submit in one go information, data and documents to meet the import and export regulatory authorities and international logistics-related requirements of the application system.

"In layman's terms, it can solve the problem of repeated reporting, long reporting, to achieve data and document coordination, simplification and standardization and transparency of the government regulatory process to achieve international trade facilitation", explained Xiao Wenjun.

From the perspective of international trade development, the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which came into effect by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in February this year, clearly requires Member States to simplify customs clearance and reduce customs clearance costs by establishing a "single window". From the perspective of China's opening to the outside world, the construction of "single window" is not only an important part of building the country's national trade infrastructure, but also an important platform for full participation in shaping the new pattern of international economic governance.

To promote the construction of inland international logistics hub and port highlands, and continuously enhance the level of trade and customs clearance in Chongqing port, the city will include "single window" construction in the city to deepen the reform of key tasks. At present, Chongqing "single window" system construction has been basically completed, and will be operational online on October 31.

UN/CEFACT - Meeting of the ITU Standardization Sector Distributed Accounts Focus Group was held

24/10/2017
http://www.bitecoin.com/online/2017/10/26834.html 
Original language : Chinese

October 17, 1917, the first meeting of the International Telecommunication Union Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Distributed Accounts Focus Group (FG DLT) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Institute of Cloud Computing and Big Data, China Information and Communication Research Institute Deputy Director He Baohong led the Chinese delegation to attend the meeting, from China, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Russia and other countries, as well as the European Union, the United Nations agencies more than 80 representatives attended the meeting.

At the meeting, China Institute of Information and Communication Wei Kai was elected vice chairman of the group, Swiss telecommunications innovation director David Watrin and the Russian central bank chief technology director Maxim Grigoriev were elected chairman and vice chairman.

On the basis of the technology of China's Ministry of Information and Communication Research Institute and the People's Bank of China, on behalf of China's industry, the technology of "Trusted Blockchain: An assessment framework for distributed ledger technologies" Proposal, get the enthusiastic response from all sides. The delegates agreed that the evaluation criteria for the establishment of distributed accounting techniques at this stage, both for the promotion of technology and the choice of technology for users, are of great importance and this proposal has opened a good job for this work Head, and agreed to set up related issues to continue research.

(…)

At the three-day meeting, the European Commission, the Russian Central Bank, the United Nations Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business Center (UN / CEFACT), Credit Suisse, Ericsson, Symantec, Kochi, etc. introduced finance, energy, telecommunications, government, etc. Field application case. ISO TC307 and GSMA presented their respective research progress and expressed their willingness to cooperate with ITU-T. R3 organization also in the General Assembly on the Corda architecture in detail the design concept and framework.

Representatives generally agreed that ITU-T FG DLT brings together stakeholders in various fields such as R & D, application and regulation of distributed books in the world, and is the most important international platform to discuss the issue of distributed books.

The meeting discussed and identified the organizational structure and main objectives of the ITU-T distributed account focus group. The FG DLT consists of four working groups, the General Working Group, the Technology and Architecture, Applications and Policies. It is planned to use a series of four terms in terms of terminology and concepts, reference architecture, application scenarios, policy and supervision in distributed books. Results, and proposed a distributed book of international standards of the road map.

(…)

MSC receives UN award for electronic data exchange
12/10/2017
http://www.mundomaritimo.cl/noticias/msc-recibe-galardon-de-naciones-unidas-por-intercambio-de-datos-electronicos
Original language: Spanish

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) received UN / EDIFACT recognition for its contribution to the Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Trade and Transport, according to an official statement issued by the shipping company.The award corresponds to an international organization standard for electronic data interchange at the global level.Since the implementation of this measure 30 years ago, 

UN / EDIFACT has become a reliable standard, helping companies optimize their communication efforts and improve efficiencies with other companies with complex operations.MSC operations manager Claudio Bozzo received the award in Rome and explained the importance of this standard given the high volume of messages and information - about 250 million data - that travel between MSC's offices and its fleet annually ."MSC is grateful to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) for its work and looks forward to continuing success in this area for many years," the statement said.

Exploring the transformative potential of blockchain for sustainable development at the 30th UN/CEFACT Forum
6 October 2017

Blockchain is a rapidly evolving area of information technology with potential for huge benefits in terms of security, reliability and cost efficiency in the exchange of information.

Blockchain offers the advantage of a shared “end to end” record of information related to transaction history, which because it exists across a network rather than as single or multiple copies, cannot be altered or corrupted.

What are the possible implications of this new technology for trade and government services? How could it be used to advance the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Could existing United Nations' standards for data and processes be used for its implementation? These are just a few of the questions addressed at a conference hosted by the Italian Trade Agency in Rome as part of the 30th UN/CEFACT Forum, which gathered around 150 experts from all over the world.

“Blockchain can help to achieve SDG 2 for ending hunger” according to Giovanni Pio, Head of Global Change Management at the World Food Programme (WFP). WFP has implemented a pilot blockchain project to transfer benefits to refugees in Jordan with a blockchain application. As a result, related transaction fees have been reduced by 98%, and the time required for transferring benefits by 3-5 business days. Blockchain technologies can therefore be a useful tool in supporting the poorest and hardest to reach populations - thereby contributing to SDG 1 for ending extreme poverty.

How can blockchain-based services support transparency and efficiency in the shipment and handling of containers in international trade? Sean A. McKenna, Senior Research Manager at IBM Industry Academy, talked about a joint project with Maersk for tracing containers, which has been tested and is about to be rolled out. Daniel Sarr, Director of Partnerships at Gainde 2000, said that they expect blockchain to eventually “ ease the submission of e-certificates and other licenses for trade transactions in Senegal – thus making trade easier and faster”.

Now, the question is how to bring this technology to maturity and develop applications with the critical mass needed for providing benefits at a global level. Building-up the necessary ecosystems for engaging all stakeholders developing necessary standards and resolving security issues are key pre-conditions for accelerating its adoption.

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), hosted by UNECE, is working with a team of experts on the preparation of two white papers on blockchain technology for  trade and economic development. These white papers will discuss: the strategic use of blockchain to support trade facilitation; how existing UN/CEFACT standards could be used by blockchain application developers; and any new deliverables (or revisions of existing deliverables) that should be proposed. These deliverables are being prepared for consideration by the next UN/CEFACT Plenary in April 2018.

For more information on the conference, please visit: http://www.unece.org/tradewelcome/un-centre-for-trade-facilitation-and-e-business-uncefact/meetings-and-events/uncefact/other-meetings/2017/uncefact-conference-on-blockchain/doc.html

Belarus: Countries of the Eurasian Economic Commission will join eCMR 27/09/2017 www.belmarket.by/v-dorogu-s-cifroy 

Media Clippings 28/09/2017  Transport/ CEFACT         Original language: Russian
The states of the EAEC will join the additional protocol on the electronic consignment note eCMR. One of the first to "digit" will be transported by road.

The reform was announced by Adamkul Zhunusov, member of the Board (Minister) for Energy and Infrastructure of the Eurasian Economic Commission (ECE) during the Eurasian Week, which was held on August 24-26 in the capital of Kazakhstan. According to the official, the distribution of e-CMR will be another step towards paperless workflow. Recall, CMR is a mandatory document for international cargo transportation, containing comprehensive information on transportation (goods, transport companies and recipient parties). The availability of a waybill means that the delivery is in accordance with the UN Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR). Hence the three Latin letters CMR - the abbreviation of the title of the document in French.

Global experiment
Convention for more than fifty years, but an additional protocol to it, legalizing the e-CMR electronic consignment note, was adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe relatively recently - February 20, 2008. At the same time for the first time the electronic consignment note was used only in January of this year. With the e-CMR was sent a truck with oranges belonging to the Spanish carrier. The car left the Spanish Huelva, crossed the border with France in Pertus and reached the French Perpignan, breaking the 1,300-kilometer route. The organizers of the first trip were the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the Spanish Union of International Transport (ASTIC) and the French association FNTR.

Now, in an experimental mode using e-CMR, cross-border shipments between the Netherlands and Belgium are carried out. At the meeting of the IRU Committee on Commercial Services for Carriers held on September 7-8, experts from 25 countries made no secret: the new system is difficult to pass through political and administrative procedures in many countries. While the experiments confirmed the system's operability, ease of its implementation and operation, as well as transparency and security when using electronic documents in comparison with traditional CMR-waybills.

We are still behind In our country, the idea of ??introducing e-CMR is upheld by the Association of International Road Carriers "BAMAP": domestic carriers petition the Ministry of Transport to join Belarus as soon as possible to an additional protocol. "Until the country not only has not ratified the additional protocol on e-CMR, but even, unfortunately, is not represented in the UN / CEFACT Commission, which launched the initiative in 2008. What does this mean for us? At best, we will join the initiative among the latter, and until then we will gradually lose the transport and transit potentials, "notes the director of Modern Technologies of Trade, Sergey Tumel. His company became the first EDI-provider of electronic commercial document circulation in Belarus. According to the interlocutor, there are no technological problems related to the use of the electronic international consignment note, it is necessary only to ratify the additional protocol on e-CMR, as well as to resolve the issue of recognizing electronic documents signed by a foreign electronic-digital signature. Proposals on the solution of the second question from the EDI-provider also exist.

E-invoicing: the state of affairs

18/09/2017

Original language: Dutch

For a year or ten, fifteen, it is working hard on a world in which accounts (reminders) and payments are fully digital. Not only in the consumer world, but also in the business world. How far are we now? What's happening and where are we still doing?

E-Billing, Digital Billing and the 'Adoption'

From the corner that finds that e-invoices are only e-invoices when exchanged directly between systems, the sound that the adoption of e-invoicing still sounds is still sounding. This corner includes the government. The rest of the invoices are then 'digital invoices'. In a world that consists of 99 percent of SMEs (of which two are thirds zzp'er), that is quite a utopian and difficult message. These small business owners want or need to be billed by hand. Will because they want to check. Must because their accounting package or accountant wants that from them. Moreover, the difference between a digital and an e-invoice is not at all interesting. And give them unequal ... even the (European) legislature does not make that distinction.

If you add, as in Belgium, PDF invoices by e-mail at the time of adoption, the adoption of e-invoicing looks extremely rosy. In other words, the number of companies that still send bills on paper starts to resemble an extinct breed. The rest is doing e-invoicing.

(…)

Mandatory e-invoicing to the government due to Europe

The Dutch government plays a role in adopting UBL e-invoicing. The role is partly positive and partly negative. A European directive requires governments in all European countries to receive e-invoices only in the end of 2018, either in a UBL format or in a UN / CEFACT CII format. (Actually, syntax is the correct word, rather than format.)

(…)

United Nations 'eAsia Awards'

18/09/2017

Original language: Korean

Approx: 15 

First to introduce the mobile force system in the domestic market, and to be recognized as a result of digitalization of retail stores.

The POS system of AMOREPACIFIC (KRW 251,000 Increase1000 0.4%) was recognized worldwide for its superiority. AMOREPACIFIC said that its own mobile force system was awarded a prize for comprehensive digital opportunity creation in '2017 eAsia Awads' sponsored by UN / CEFACT, AFACT. This awards ceremony is a biennial e-business awards ceremony held by the UN / AFACT committee under the United Nations E-Commerce Committee (UN / CEFACT) for the elimination of information technology gaps and trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region.

 From the 11th to 13th of this year, Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) in Taipei will be divided into four areas: trade facilitation and e-commerce, digital government, data base value creation, and comprehensive digital opportunities. I made the award. The mobile force system developed and introduced by AMOREPACIFIC is a new concept sales system for digitalization of retail stores. By combining bar code reading sensor, card payment slot and camera in mobile system, it can run non-stop from customer inquiry to issuance of receipt.

The expanded Panama Canal is driving change in Central America

22/08/2017

It’s the big developments in Central America that tend to monopolise the headlines: the Panama Canal expansion, plans for a new port at Corozal, APM Terminals' new port at Moin in Costa Rica, and even the long-discussed proposals to build a Nicaragua canal.

But alongside the ‘global hub’ picture, there’s a regional one too. Central America exports 33% of its goods to the US, its biggest trading partner, but 32% of its exports stay intra-regional.

Speaking at a recent UN/CEFACT conference in Geneva, Javier Gutierrez, executive director of the Secretariat for the Economic Integration of Central America (SIECA), said that this partly explained how the region could withstand the 2008 crisis – while the US was contracting, Central America was growing.

Commodities are part of the export mix but so, too, are manufactured and semi-manufactured goods, with a higher added value content in intra-regional exports, he said. However, research shows that regional value chains are largely restricted to trade between neighbouring countries, because of the ‘boundaries and walls’ that humans put up, said Mr Gutierrez.

“Trade can move at a certain speed within the country, but then it arrives at a border and can take 48 hours or more before goods are cleared. The high costs of transport, lack of harmonisation and regulatory convergence, and border inefficiency accounts for 25%-40% of the final price paid by the consumer.”

This in itself explains why a number of projects looking to create regional hubs to serve several countries have struggled to move forward.

The European Union is providing financial support to a project designed to encourage small to medium enterprises to take part in intra-regional trade and to improve the dynamics of trade overall in Central America. The Central American Digital Trade Platform – a key part of the Central American Strategy for Trade Facilitation and Competitiveness – would deliver automation of procedures and a reduction of export/import times, said Mr Gutierrez. That, he said, could lead to a 3% increase in Central America’s GDP, and nearly 12% increase in exports and imports.

That must be a welcome idea. Looking at the overall picture, Gordon Wilmsmeier, logistics chair at Columbia’s University of the Andes, says: “We have seen shipping lines significantly shifting the new panamax vessels into services through the canal; the bottleneck has gone and the move to larger vessels happened very quickly. That has delivered significant pressure to invest, particularly in superstructure, i.e. cranes. That’s an issue because the demand isn’t there: cargo grew by only 1% in the region last year.”

There is particular pressure on smaller ports in Central America, he says – they might have received the old panamax vessels but can’t accommodate the new ones.

In fact, there is already discussion about a further expansion of the Panama Canal to accommodate even larger vessels.

Meanwhile, there are concerns about future port overcapacity close to the Panama Canal.

PSA Panama International Terminal is expanding its container terminal opposite Balboa to provide 2m teu more capacity; new quay cranes are due to be delivered in October. At the same time, Panama Canal Authority remains keen to champion its proposed new port at Corozal. The deadline for submitting proposals for design, construction, development and operation of a new container terminal expired earlier this year but of the four prequalified port operators – APMT, Terminal Link, PSA and Terminal Investment Ltd – none submitted a bid for the 20-year concession.

Now ACP is expected to re-launch the tender for the 5m teu port, planned at the canal’s entrance on the Pacific side. (…)

There is already congestion on the canal’s navigation channel because of larger container vessels as well as gas tankers, oil tankers and others, some of which have re-routed via Panama instead of Suez, he says. “We certainly don’t need a port at Corozal for volume reasons – but also, to put a port right outside the locks where you have existing marine challenges because of vessel congestion, would simply create a further obstruction of the channel.”

Observers have speculated that Chinese investment may eventually support the Corozal project.

(…)

Ghana: West Blue Brings Help Desk Closer to Ghana Union of Traders’ Association Members

03/08/2017

http://africaneyereport.com/west-blue-brings-help-desk-closer-to-guta-members/

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and its IT partner-West Blue Consulting on Thursday (today) commissioned another electronic zone (e-zone) facility at the premises of Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) headquarters in Accra.

This follows the launched of four other e-zone facilities at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Tema port, Customs Technical Services Bureau and Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA).

The newly e-zone facility or centre which is set up as part of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) project would provide 24/7 customer services to GUTA members who are most importers as well as exporters  in the country.

The facility would also provide services including payments, self-service, and multimedia trade information to speed up business transactions at the Accra Business District where majority of GUTA members are plying their businesses. (…)

Presenting an overview of the GUTA e-zone, the General Secretary of GUTA,  Alpha Shaban noted: “The e-zone centre contains a wealthy of information for buyers and sellers. We at GUTA are committed and strive to deliver the best we can for our members”.

West Blue Consulting which Madam  Valentina Mintah headed is the technical partner of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) project  which has been contracted by the Government of Ghana to run the five year project. Initially, the company successfully developed and implemented the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) last year. The PAARS, according to the senior officials is a modernized system that has been developed by the Customs Division of GRA as part of the implementation of the GNSW project to enhance revenue mobilization, improve border security and customs clearance, overcome duplication across regulatory agencies and promote trade facilitation. (…)

The system has brought some efficiency at the ports, reduced time, reduced corruption, and cost of doing business. Another significant achievement the company chalked was the country’s historic performance on the recent World Bank’s Ease of Doing rankings. Ghana had moved an impressive 13 places up on the Trading Across Borders in the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report. The report accredited the performance to the GNSW project initiated by the government. (…)

Based on the experience of the Single Window implementations in other countries, West Blue estimated that the GNSW project would reduce the cost and time of international trade (import, export and transit) in Ghana by 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively over the next five years.

Instructively, the GNSW project was initiated on 1st September 2015 by the Government of Ghana to enhance the country’s trade and economic development and secure and increase government revenue.

Indeed, the Single Window concept was developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2005 as an effort to simplify, harmonise and standardise international trade procedures and associated information flows between trade and government and within government itself.

UNECE, through its UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), defined Single Window as “a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements. If information is electronic, then individual data elements should only be submitted once”.

UN Regional Commissions highlight progress in cutting red tape for sustainable global trade

Published: 14 July 2017

Countries around the world are moving towards seamless global supply chains. This is one of the key preliminary findings of the Joint United Nations Regional Commission (UNRCs) Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade, presented on Wednesday 12 July, at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Aid4Trade Global Review 2017.

The survey, covering 120 countries across the globe, shows a significant increase in the global average implementation rate of trade facilitation and paperless trade measures in 2017, which stands at 61% compared to a 53% average rate in 2015. Developed economies have the highest implementation rate (82%), while Pacific Islands have the lowest (29%). Among developing economies, countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and the Middle East and North Africa achieve high implementation rates at or over 60%.

According to the survey, the measures included in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (which entered into force in February 2017), have been generally well implemented by countries surveyed, with an implementation rate ranging from 63% to 74%. However, substantial work is required to fully implement many of them, especially those related to cross-border paperless trade (e.g. electronic single windows, electronic exchange of certificates), and to customize trade facilitation measures for SMEs and women, which are not included in the Agreement.

Emphasizing the importance of collaboration among the UNRCs, UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary Andrey Vasilyev said “the results of this joint survey enable countries to better understand progress made in these areas, and provide a basis for evidence-based policy making to support the effective use of trade as an important means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

In the UNECE region, the average implementation rate is higher than the global rate, reaching 69%, marking a 7% increase since 2015. The survey for the region, covering a total of 36 member States, shows improvement in all different categories of measures and confirms that, in general, more advanced or larger economies display higher levels of trade facilitation implementation than transition and land-locked economies, particularly in Central Asia.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was noted by the Chief of the UNECE Trade Facilitation Section, Maria Ceccarelli, as a case of a “low-income country that thanks to effective support and extensive reform efforts is performing very well”, as confirmed by the World Bank Doing Business report ranking.

The results of the Survey reinforce the evidence of a strong relationship between the increase in implementation of trade facilitation and paperless trade measures and the reduction in trade costs.

The full UNRCs global report and the regional reports, including detailed data analysis, will be published later this year.

Details of the event at the WTO Aid4Trade Global Review 2017, including presentations, are available at: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=46179#/

For more information on the Joint Approach to Trade Facilitation of the UNRCs, please visit: https://www.unece.org/tradewelcome/outreach-and-support-for-trade-facilitation/joint-unrcs-approach-to-trade-facilitation.html

Contact: maria-teresa.pisani@unece.org, Trade Facilitation Section, UNECE.

Airfreight Industry, Quo Vadis?

17/07/2017

https://www.cargoforwarder.eu/2017/07/17/airfreight-industry-quo-vadis-part-5/

In the last few years – or decades? – we hear so much about the e-words: e-freight, e-AWBs, e-bookings. But what is the reality and what is just hype?

When the author of this article worked for Air Canada Cargo in Frankfurt in the 70’s, even those early days the complete AWB data were entered into Air Canada’s central computer system. Yes, there were already computers in those days! The original AWB was not sent in the pouch; just one copy was attached the accompanying documents to identify which shipment they belonged to, and the rest was thrown away. At destination, the computer data were used to reprint the AWB, complete with collect charges, where applicable, already converted into local currency. And the electronic data were also sent to the accounting headquarters in Winnipeg for accounting purposes. A paperless process! The same applied to import shipments. Despite all the hype now-a-days about e-AWB and e-freight, has the airfreight industry really made any progress since those days so far away?

This example illustrates two aspects essential to any introduction of paperless airfreight:

Firstly, technologically the e-AWB is nothing new at all. Instead of just talking about it and patting our own backs for moving a shipment of documents from Frankfurt to a customs-fee destination on an e-AWB, we should rather put all our efforts into removing, one by one, the obstacles which have prevented the worldwide introduction of e-AWBs as the industry standard in the past decades.

And secondly, this example shows that the problem is not so much the AWB itself but the accompanying documents. So long as these are in paper form, the cargo pouch will continue to be full of all sorts of documents: commercial invoices, packing lists, certificates of origin, customs documents (e.g. T1, Carnet-ATA), and, if any of these are missing when the shipment arrives at destination, the effects will be just as severe as when the AWB is missing.

The e-AWB is therefore only a small part of a general problem. We need a concerted action by all players in the worldwide airfreight industry: Exporters, forwarders, airlines, handling agents, customs, etc., to standardise all transportation documents in electronic form.

A platform already exists, since 1987: EDIFACT (Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport) under the control of the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UNCEFACT). Meanwhile numerous standard EDIFACT message types have been defined, comparable to the standardised Cargo-IMP messages (FFR, FSU, FBL etc) which have been in daily use ever since the early days of airfreight and telex-machines.

OSCE assessment explores how to support Kazakhstan in facilitating regional trade

15/07/2017

Arab news

A three-day needs assessment mission to explore how the OSCE can support Kazakhstan in facilitating regional trade concluded today in Astana. As part of the mission, which was conducted by the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities with the support of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana, the assessment team met with representatives of the Ministry of National Economy, the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Agriculture in charge of phytosanitary controls and standards, the Ministry of Justice, the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs as well as various transport authorities and logistics service providers.

We are pleased to launch this regional economic connectivity project aimed at strengthening the capacity of public and private sector stakeholders to improve the co-ordination and the implementation of trade facilitation reforms in accordance with the World Trade Organizations (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), OSCE commitments and relevant UN Conventions, said Ermelinda Meksi, Deputy Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities.

The assessment team exchanged views with national stakeholders on the countrys legal, regulatory and institutional framework for trade facilitation and identified a number of technical assistance needs to be addressed in the further course of the project, including with regard to the legal interpretation of certain WTO TFA provisions, analysing trade data, procedures surrounding expedited shipments and performance management . The team also took stock of ongoing efforts in information technology and automation as well as the creation of an integrated risk management and Single Window system for export and imports.

Trade facilitation will be a key element in the implementation of the Kazakhstan 2050 economic development strategy, said Zhanel Kushukova, Director of the Department of Foreign Trade Activity at Kazakhstans Ministry of National Economy. We thus remain committed to the full implementation of the WTO TFA, including the establishment of an effective National Trade Facilitation Committee.

Roel Janssens, Economic Adviser at the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities and Project Manager, added: The project, which will be implemented in Kazakhstan, Belarus and Moldova, will provide a platform for improved inter-agency co-operation, more effective public-private sector dialogue and the sharing of lessons learned at the sub-regional level on trade facilitation matters.

This activity was the first in a series of trade facilitation needs assessment missions held as part of a regional OSCE extra-budgetary project entitled Promoting Economic Connectivity in the OSCE region. Funded by Germany, the project is being implemented by the OSCE with the support of the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Feedback sought to create common language for digital logistics

16/07/2017

http://www.tinn.ir/Section-urban-143/138381-feedback-sought-to-create-common-language-for-digital-logistics

A two-month public review concerning the e-CMR project has been launched as a next step in standardising a unique model, which will ensure compatibility between all future digital solutions for international road transport.

Published on the UN’s portal for trade facilitation recommendations and electronic business standards (UN/CEFACT), the Business Requirements Specification for electronic CMR comprises a template for feedback, which will provide a basis for the first draft of an approved e-CMR model for publication and review.

Boris Blanche, IRU Chief Operational Officer said, “This review seeks to ensure that future digital transport operations speak the same language.  Specifically, the interoperability of e-CMR is critical to safeguarding security, compatibility and efficiency across the entire digital logistics map and we encourage our members and the wider industry to take an active part in providing feedback.”

Trade facilitation key to addressing needs of developing countries

13/07/2017

http://www.southsouthnews.com/the-un-at-work/un-agencies-features/165-specialized-agencies/wto-trade/152283-trade-facilitation-key-to-addressing-needs-of-developing-countries

The Chair of the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee, Ambassador Daniel Blockert (Sweden), opened a dedicated session on the topic on 12 July, highlighting the entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) last February.

“But the agreement is not worth anything if it is not implemented. It’s implementation, implementation, implementation,” Ambassador Blockert said. “We’ve seen trade facilitation as a priority not only for Aid for Trade but also for aid in general and it will require challenging reforms.”

The TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area. African countries and least developed countries (LDCs) are estimated in a recent WTO study to benefit the most from the TFA’s implementation.

Malawi, an LDC, formally accepted the TFA and submitted its country’s instrument of acceptance on 12 July while the Gambia – also an LDC – did so on 11 July.

Trade facilitation is particularly important as trade volumes dwarf total disbursements of government aid and thus can be an important conduit for poverty alleviation, said Lord Bates, Minister of State at the United Kingdom Department for International Development, at the session on 12 July.

“You have global assistance of up to $180 billion per annum and then you have global trade in goods alone which is at $15.5 trillion per annum. In the sustainable development goals, we have an ambition of eradicating poverty by 2020. If we ought to achieve those goals, there is no doubt that trade has to be the mechanism through which we do it,” he said. “We are huge supporters and remain deeply committed to the Trade Facilitation Agreement.”

Panellists at the session then discussed best practices for successfully implementing trade facilitation reforms. Coordination among customs authorities and other government agencies in a country is important as are partnerships with the private sector, speakers said.

(…)

The session also focused on the contribution of trade facilitation to responding effectively to humanitarian crises. Relief goods and services reach beneficiaries faster when border procedures are efficient, said Jemilah Mahmood, Under Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“Just as goods cross the border, so do people and so do relief goods. The impact is so great and the need is for rapid relief goods. We need to think about the cross-border humanitarian issues as well,” she said. “Any delay in medicines, shelter will also have impact on people’s lives.”

So far, transparency measures related to trade facilitation appear to be well on their way to being implemented around the world; however, much remains to be done for the electronic exchange of information according to preliminary findings of the second United Nations Regional Commissions’ Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation.

The survey, which was presented in a separate session on 12 July, covered 120 countries and 38 trade facilitation measures, including measures under the TFA. The survey also looked at trade facilitation measures in agriculture, those aimed at helping small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and those aimed at empowering women in trade.

Full implementation of all the trade facilitation measures examined in the survey will reduce trade costs by 11% on average, said Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

In regards to the Asia-Pacific region, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s Chief of the Trade Facilitation Unit Yann Duval said there were wide differences across the 44 countries surveyed (the Pacific islands are furthest behind) but that the region in general has been very proactive in implementing next-generation trade facilitation solutions.

For Africa, the average implementation rate for the surveyed measures is around 50% said David Luke, Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He pointed out, however, that wide differences exist, with countries such as Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranking high. He said the conclusion of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Agreement by the end of the year should boost implementation efforts, since trade facilitation is “very much part” of the CFTA with specific provisions and legal text very compatible with the TFA.

Maria Rosaria Ceccarelli, Chief of Trade Facilitation Section, Economic Commission for Europe, said that the survey showed implementation of measures was even possible among lower-income countries if a proper implementation road map is set out and governments are committed to implementation.

Meanwhile, the 21 countries surveyed in the Latin American and Caribbean region have a 69% average implementation rate, a slight improvement over the 67% average in the 2015 survey according to Tania Garcia-Millan, Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Finally, Adel Al-Ghaberi, First Economic Affairs Officer of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, said his region’s average implementation rate is 57%, better than the 48% average rate registered in 2015. However, much of this improvement was driven by a handful of the region’s countries, notably Qatar, with a 95% implementation rate, and the United Arab Emirates, with a 97% implementation rate. The measures most widely implemented are those related to transparency, border formalities, and institutional arrangements/co-operation, while the lowest implementation rates concern measures related to paperless trade and cross-border paperless trade.

World Shipping Council releases Containers Lost At Sea update for 2017

11/07/2017

https://www.ajot.com/news/world-shipping-council-releases-containers-lost-at-sea-update-for-2017

In 2016, the international liner shipping industry transported approximately 130 million containers packed with cargo, with an estimated value of more than $4 trillion. Proper packing, stowage and securing of containers and reporting of correct weight is very important to the safety of a container ship, its crew and its cargo, to shore-based workers and equipment, and to the environment. However, even with proper packing of the cargo into the container, correct container weight declaration, and proper stowage and securing aboard ship, a number of factors ranging from severe weather and rough seas to more catastrophic and rare events like ship groundings, structural failures, and collisions can result in containers being lost at sea.

In the past, obtaining an accurate assessment of how many containers actually are lost at sea was a highly speculative process. For many years, there were widely circulated, but unsupported and grossly inaccurate claims that the industry might lose as many as 10,000 containers a year at sea.

Ocean carriers operating the containerships, which the World Shipping Council (WSC) represents, remain the best sources for accurate information on this subject. 1 Therefore, in an effort to provide greater clarity and a more accurate assessment of the number of containers lost at sea on an annual basis, WSC undertook the first survey of its member companies in 2011, with updates in 2014 and 2017, and has published the results to make the information readily available to all interested parties.

(…)

In the 2014 survey, WSC received reports from carriers on losses during 2011, 2012 and 2013. From those results, WSC estimated that there were approximately 733 containers lost at sea on average for each of these three years, not counting catastrophic events. When one includes catastrophic losses (as defined above) during these years, the average annual loss for the period was approximately 2,683 containers.

(…)

The most recent 2017 survey gathered input for 2014, 2015 and 2016. All WSC member companies responded, and additional information was made available on certain non-member catastrophic events. For each of the three years surveyed, the average number of containers lost at sea excluding catastrophic events was 612, which is about 16% less than the average of 733 units lost each year for the previous three year period. When catastrophic losses are included, the total containers lost at sea averaged 1,390 with 56% of those lost being attributed to catastrophic events. This is a 48% reduction from the average annual total losses of 2,683 estimated in 2014.

(…)

While containers lost overboard represent about one thousandth of 1% of the roughly 130 million container loads shipped each year, the industry has been actively supporting a number of efforts to enhance container safety that should help reduce the number of containers lost at sea, including:

Amendments

to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention: In November 2014, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted changes to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention requiring verification of container weights before packed containers may be loaded aboard ships. This is an effort WSC advocated in support of for many years. The requirement making container weight verification a condition for vessel loading became legally binding internationally on July 1, 2016. Misdeclared container weights have contributed to the loss of containers at sea, as well as to other safety and operational problems.

Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU): The IMO, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), with industry support, have produced a code of practice for the packing of CTU, including containers, outlining specific procedures and techniques to improve safety, such as how to ensure correct distribution of the weight inside the container, proper positioning, blocking and bracing according to the type of cargo, and other safety considerations. The code was approved in 2014. 

 

How IBM Will Use Blockchain To Help Businesses Find Financing

29/06/2017

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/how-ibm-will-use-blockchain-to-help-businesses-find-financing-cm809763

Lack of access to adequate financing jeopardizes the survival of an enterprise; small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) especially face the greatest hurdles in finding financing on affordable terms.

Considering this in the backdrop, there are several advanced technologies to simplify and expedite domestic and cross-border trade for SMEs while adding transparency to the complex world of trade finance. Blockchain is one such advanced medium of technology that is being explored as a potential solution.

As per a recent announcement, the Digital Trade Chain (DTC) consortium backed by seven European banks selected IBM (IBM) through a global competitive process to make commerce easier for small and medium-sized businesses in Europe by harnessing the blockchain technology. The DTC solution will run in the IBM Cloud and is designed to connect the parties involved in a trade transaction, both online and via mobile devices.

The process was initiated by European banks in the beginning of 2017. The seven banks—Rabobank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Société Générale and UniCredit—signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2017 to collaborate on the development and commercialization of the new product now called DTC.

The figures by the World Trade Organization reveal that up to 80% of trade is financed by credit or credit insurance, signifying the importance of trade finance—a lack of access acts as a major non-tariff barrier to trade. While SMEs account for 20% of U.S. exports and 40% of EU exports, they continue to face financing challenges.

It is further estimated that over half of trade finance requests by SMEs are rejected globally, against just 7% for multinational companies. Hence, there is a dire need to provide a better flow of finance to these enterprises while ensuring that the process remains simple, cost-efficient, and risk-free for the financial institutions.

International and domestic trade finance is highly complex and involves a web of intricate risks, while most of the bigger companies prefer a system known as documentary credit (letter of credit) to reduce the risks undertaken. However, small companies tend to prefer open accounts, which is a more convenient (although risker) option.

To cater to such requirements, banks offer diverse solutions that negate the need for an underlying documentary credit. This requires banks to work out solutions that optimize working capital, taking care of invoices and funding suppliers (and buyers) against invoices while reducing costs and gaining control over receivables.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) believes, “There is a huge potential market in open account transactions, and banks can take advantage of these volumes by promoting their foreign exchange and Supply Chain Finance (SCF) services more consistently.”

However, facilitating such services within the present systems involves a significant amount of administrative work and associated expenses.

 

 

How Odessa became the centre of international trade and transport

14/06/2017

Source: Newsmir.info

Original language: Russian

From May 31 to June 2 in Odessa was held the International Week of Transport and Trade (MNTT). Selecting the international community has fallen on Odessa purpose. Caledonia is located at the intersection of several transport corridors, and representatives of the local logistics community are actively involved in many international organizations such as the Economic Commission for Europe, International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and the Organization for Cooperation of Railways (OSJD). As part of the Transport and Trade Week traditionally held meetings, round tables and workshops, which serve as a platform for dialogue between representatives of business, international organizations and governments. MNTT main goal - to develop the existing trade and economic relations.

This year in parallel with the activities of logistics Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 30 and 31 May organized a regional seminar on "The Impact of the WTO Agreement on the simplification of trade procedures, trade in agricultural products." Odessa was first chosen to host the FAO Regional Training Workshop. The seminar was attended by representatives of the FAO, UNECE, WTO, the ministries of agriculture, economy and trade, the customs authorities of the WTO member countries from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Moldova and Ukraine, representatives of business associations of agricultural producers, as well as experts in the field of international trade from Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The seminar was participated actively Valery Pyatnitsky, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Irina Kobuta economist on agricultural trade and commodity policy of the European Regional Office and FAO Central Asia, Kenza Le Mentek, representative of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the UNECE Regional Adviser Mario Apostolov, head of the Ukrainian delegation CEFACT Oleg Platonov, as well as representatives of relevant ministries and government agencies of 9 countries of the Eurasian continent - namely, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bela Wuxi, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Ukraine. According to the participants, these seminars contribute to the strengthening of trade and economic relations between the countries.

In particular, they addressed issues devoted to the provisions of the Agreement on trade facilitation, which lie at the heart of the WTO Agreement, and the commitment of the member states in the field of trade facilitation. Participating in the seminar, representatives of ministries, business and expert public could not only discuss the problematic issues in the development and implementation of trade facilitation policy for their countries, but also to develop ways of strengthening national capacities in this field.

(…)

On June 1 in the hotel "Bristol" held a round table on the topic "Development of multimodal transport between Europe - Asia / East - Europe." The event was attended by Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine on European Integration, Viktor Dovgan, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania Ricardas Degutis, heads of railways of Poland roads and Georgia - Jakub Kaptuzhak and Levan Sulaberidze and a representative of Rail Cargo Hungaria Zrt in Ukraine . At the round table speakers presented their analysis of existing transport projects between the countries of the Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas; Ports and shipping lines; pricing policy for the handling of goods, as well as trends and market prospects for combined transport, which can link above sea regions.

On the same day the VII Annual Seminar of the UNECE Trade and Transport Facilitation "National system of" single window "and harmonization of data in Ukraine." A key episode of the event was the performance director of "PPL 33-35" Alekseya Orlova with a report on the use of "Information System port community" (ISPS) in Odessa region ports. Unfortunately, said Alexei Orlov, despite all the advantages in the design of vessel calls and further operations with cargoes through the ISPS, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine rhetoric (MIU) has recently changed and now they echo the opponents of application of this system, which, by the way It helps monitor various illegal schemes in customs clearance of goods. When this project was originally ISPS fully supports and was created with the help of NIU.

Africa: Report on maritime trade facilitation and economic development

26/05/2017

Source: Thisdaylive.com

A recent report by African Development Bank (AFDB) revealed that achieving significant decline in Africa’s poverty will require the continent’s gross domestic products (GDP) to grow at an overall average of seven per cent. In order to achieve this goal, experts believe it is of paramount importance that Africa’s international trade must improve.

According to the Doing Business Index by the World Bank, a one per cent increase in trade is associated with more than a 0.5 percent increase in income per capita in economies with flexible entry regulations.

Experts agree that the gains of trade-enabling measures can contribute to broader objectives such as private sector development, education, foreign direct investments, market integration, economic growth and employment. To achieve this, however, all players across the value chain such as governments, shippers, customers, need to collaborate in order for the society to get the full benefit from the efforts.

Thankfully, trade between Africa and the rest of the world has increased by 200 per cent since the year 2000 but the African continent and its Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have recorded less intra-regional trade than most other regions of the world. According to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), intra-African trade amounts to only about 13.8 per cent as compared to intra-regional trade among Latin America countries which is 22 per cent, Asian countries at 52 per cent and Europe at about 70 per cent. Experts believe one of the major factors behind this low level of trade integration is the poor trade facilitation implementation.

(…)

Customs, he added, plays a central role in the trade chain but in order to achieve trade facilitation, all agencies at the borders must be involved.

“It is a concept directed towards reducing the complexity and cost of the trade transaction process and ensuring that all these activities take place in an efficient, transparent and predictable manner. The United National Centre for Electronic Business and Trade Facilitation (UN/CEFACT) defines trade facilitation as: “The simplification, standardisation and harmonisation of procedures and associated information flows required to move goods from seller to buyer and to make payment”.

“Efforts to achieve trade facilitation in a country are strengthened by alliances and partnerships with international and local stakeholders in both the public and the private sectors. An ordinary trade transaction involves a large number of actors, both public and private. To facilitate the trading environment it is important to involve all these actors. In addition to a close cooperation between the public and the private sector, there need to be a clear political will and commitment in order to ensure that reforms at facilitating trade are undertaken and sustained, “he stated.

He added that international trade is predominately seaborne and has a direct relationship on the development and growth of any economy especially in developing economies in Africa.

Spain: Safety at the heart of International Cargo Handling Coordination Association’s annual conference

24/05/2017

Source: Canadian Shipper

ICHCA International, the global cargo handling NGO, has announced that its 65th anniversary event will include a high-level focus on safety in global container supply chain and cargo operations, with cross-sector participation from leading ocean carriers, cargo owners, ports and terminals, regulators and other key stakeholders.

The event runs 2-6 October in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, with the support of Las Palmas Port Authority and Foundation and CARC, ICHCA’s Canaries and Africa Region Chapter. Both through its legislative work at IMO and other UN agencies, and via industry initiatives including seminars, technical advice and best practice guidance, ICHCA International campaigns to raise awareness of, and address, key safety issues along the whole maritime cargo chain, not least the critical ship-shore interface.

“Safety is a shared responsibility along the entire container and cargo supply chain and industry and regulators recognize the need to work together for better outcomes,” said Rachael White, CEO of ICHCA International’s Secretariat. “At this time of great change for world trade, shipping, port and land transport operations, with exponential developments in digital and automation technologies, and growth of new cargo markets and flows, ICHCA’s 65th Anniversary Event provides a platform for all the stakeholders to come together and explore innovative approaches to common challenges.”

The Association has been deeply involved in IMO’s new SOLAS VGM container weight verification regime and the new IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code). Most recently, it has turned the spotlight on how to reduce risks associated with global trade in packaged dangerous goods.

The European electronic invoice will become a reality in 2018

23/05/2017

Source: elcandelerotecnologico.com

Original language: Spanish

For the next year it is foreseen the adoption by all the countries of the European Union of the same format of electronic invoice that should facilitate the commercial transactions between the different European countries. From November 27, 2018 will be mandatory in all member countries the use of electronic invoice in the business relationship between companies and public agencies, something that in Spain is mandatory since January 15, 2015.

The horizon of a European standard for electronic invoicing is closer every day, according to SERES, a pioneer and specialist in secure electronic document exchange, which is part of the European working and standardization groups in the field of electronic invoicing. In this sense, progress continues in the final definition of a standard -CEN TC434- that unifies and simplifies the activity of companies and institutions when billing and the exchange of invoices between different countries.

Recently, the National Standardization Organizations approved an EN-Norma European - for the semantic model of the electronic invoice and a List of Syntax supported by the UBL - XML standardization organization - and UN / CEFACT, one of the main organizations of standardization . In this way, from 2018 all public bodies will be obliged to receive and process electronic invoices in the new format. The Syntax Links, Extension Methodologies and Transmission Guidelines are still pending approval.

A test report is planned and the Commission will examine whether the EN meets the requirements of Directive 2014/55 / EU. The Electronic Invoice Committee - TC 434 - is pushing for new initiatives for the imminent adoption of the new system by the entire public sector of the EU.

According to SERES, the use of a common format will improve and simplify the business relationship at EU level, extending the added benefits offered by the Electronic Invoice to companies, such as improved management, traceability and cost reduction, Creating a "common commercial market".

As regards the compulsory use of electronic invoices in B2G relationships in all EU countries, the most lagging countries are Germany, Cyprus, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, although Are working to catch up and meet the standard as of November 27 next year.

India: Airlines must file outbound passenger data in single format

Date: 11/05/2017

The government has asked airlines to submit details of passengers on a flight taking off from India only in a “flat file” format to the Customs department. Generally, a flat file provides easier access to data among computer systems.

The directive, effective May 15, means airlines have to furnish such information only in the said format and not in the one as prescribed by the UN.

As of now, carriers have the option to file manifests for outbound passengers in the United Nations/Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport Passenger List Advance Passenger Information (UN/EDIFACT PAXLST API) message format. This particular template is used globally.

 “It has been decided that with effect from May 15, 2017, all carriers shall start transmitting electronically, the manifests for the outbound passengers 15 minutes before leaving or taking off from the port of embarkation in India, to the Indian Customs in a flat file format,” said a circular of the revenue department.

The decision has been taken following consultations and tests that were carried out “in respect of electronic transmission” with some of the carriers and their respective service providers. Besides, carriers are required to transmit the pre- check passenger manifest 12 hours before the departure of the flight.

The revenue department has also asked airlines to carry out necessary modification in their systems to transmit the pre-boarding manifest in flat file format by November.

UN/EDIFACT, a standard data format, was adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). One of its versions has been codified by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for worldwide use by carriers.

 

Trade

The EAEU – Singapore Win-Win Cooperation 

Date: 08/05/2017

Source: New Eastern Outlook

In the just over 2 years of its existence, the Eurasian Economic Unio(EAEU) has gained considerable influence on the world economic stage. The combined potential of Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as the idea of creating a common economic space for Eurasia and the surrounding territories, continue attracting more and more partners to the EAEU. Southeast Asian countries are currently actively establishing contacts with the EAEU. Since the very beginning of the work of the Union, the Republic of Singapore, seeking to establish a free trade area (FTA) with the EAEU, has increasingly shown great interest in cooperating with the regional association.

(…)

In February 2017, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong held a meeting with the Chairman of the UNECE Tigran Sargsyan, at which the head of the Singaporean government stated that his country was ready for a constructive dialogue and hoped to sign the agreement on the FTA by the end of 2017.

 

The establishment of an FTA between the EAEU and Singapore is expected to bring considerable benefits to all the parties involved. An important point to remember is that, despite all the difficulties that Singapore has faced in recent years, this Asian country remains one of the strongest economies  in the world. Even if China goes ahead and implements its plan to dig up a channel through Thailand (which is still under review), the Strait of Malacca is likely to remain one of the most important shipping areas in the region, and Singapore will remain one of the world’s major ports. Gaining access to this port is a considerable achievement for the EAEU. Moreover, Singapore is one of the most important members of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and in cooperation with this bloc, the EAEU will be able to establish viable trade with all its members. For Singapore, partnership with the EAEU could become a way of insuring the country against economic instabilities and guaranteeing food and energy security.

A UN Agency is Exploring Blockchain's Impact on Trade

03/05/2017

Source: coindesk.com

A UN agency dedicated to facilitating international and national trade is putting together a pair of white papers centered on blockchain technology.

A project proposal detailing the work was published yesterday by the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (CEFACT), a subsidiary of the Economic Commission for Europe.

The organization is developing the two white papers – one focused on technical matters and the other on business cases – as well as a half-day workshop, tentatively scheduled for sometime this autumn.

The project was officially approved on 20th April, with CEFACT noting in the proposal:

"The scope of this project is to look at how existing UN/CEFACT deliverables could be used by blockchain application developers ... possible changes to existing UN/CEFACT deliverables, or new deliverables, that could be considered in order to support blockchain trade-facilitation related applications … [and] how blockchain technology could be used to facilitate trade and related business processes."

This is the latest blockchain development out of the UN, which has seen a number of its agencies pursue activities around the tech in recent weeks and months.

Perhaps most notably, the World Food Programme (WFP) began a large-scale aid distribution trial based in Jordan this week, one that leverages the ethereum blockchain to process transactions.

The trial began with an initial focus group of 10,000, but the agency said it could see expansion in the months ahead to include all refugees in the country.

UN/CEFACT

Investments in North African ports are delivering on numerous fronts

Date: 05/05/2017

Source: Port Strategy

From West to East, the contrasts in fortunes and focus at North Africa's ports could not be clearer. In Morocco, a sophisticated port community system and national single window, Portnet, is a driving force in increasing and speeding up trade and delivering paperless efficiency – with some impressive environmental results as well.

The North African country's main trading partner remains the European Union, which accounted for 56% of its trade in 2015, but Morocco's decision earlier this year to rejoin the African Union after a three-decade absence has been interpreted as the country switching more focus to the fast-growing economies in Africa. Tanger Med, Morocco's transhipment hub, continues to be Africa's top-performing port and major expansion is under way - but there could be competition on the horizon.

In Libya, meanwhile, the chaotic civil war has continued to have an impact. At the major oil ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, crude oil shipments were halted once again in March by two weeks of armed clashes. After a rival group seized the ports early in the month, the eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar regained control in mid-March. Waha Oil suspended production due to the ports' closure but by the end of the month it was reported that the ports were preparing to resume operations.

(…)

At the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business UN/CEFACT) conference held in Geneva at the end of March, Morocco's port community system and national single window, Portnet, was commended as 'one of the most advanced single windows in all aspects'.

Jalal Benhayoun, managing director of Portnet, told Port Strategy: “The development of a national single window for foreign trade procedures is a vital tool to improve the effectiveness of the foreign trade logistics chain and the quality of service, and reduce the waiting time and storage period of export as well as import goods. It is also an efficient tool to overcome problems and uncertainty in this field.”

Portnet has strengthened the competitiveness of the foreign trade chain by increasing the efficiency of the logistics chains of economic operators and public and private service providers and by speeding up the cross-border movement of exported and imported goods, said Mr Benhayoun.

“We are providing an environment which supports the competitiveness of economic operators, with the possibility to deliver just in time, by reducing uncertainty regarding timeframes and logistic costs. Portnet also focuses on improving the business climate, good governance and increasing transparency in company-administration relationships.

“Portnet is simplifying and speeding up procedures and formalities and improving the traceability of operations. Planning is made easier due to the quality and good flow of information.”

A joint government-private sector initiative, Morocco's national single window is unusual in that it has been expanded to include not only players in the maritime supply chain but also importers/exporters, banks and other stakeholders. It has more than 24,000 users and is operational in nine commercial ports.

Mr Benhayoun told the UN/CEFACT session on Single Window Evolution that apart from streamlining cargo and information flows, an interesting added extra has been the environmental benefits of going paperless for import documents, export licences, customs and maritime documents, tracker sheets, and so on.

“Companies waste more than 2% of their turnover on the internal management of paper,” he said. An environmental study calculated that the annual gains made by having paperless import documents alone were 212,500 trees, 331m litres of water, 51m kWh of electricity, 8m kilogrammes of CO2 and 37,500 cu m of trash.

Overall, Portnet's move to paperless has saved Morocco the equivalent of fresh water for 7,735 houses, electricity for 42,053 houses and waste from 15,727 houses, together with 800,000 trees. “Knowing that only half of our foreign trade procedures are currently paperless, we are aware of our duty to continue promoting our paperless policy.”

E-Invoice in Europe: the situation of countries and semantic model

Date: 04/04/2017

Source: Agenda Digitale

Original language: Italian

The Directive 2014/55 / EU introduces a specialization of the concept of electronic invoice with this meaning only that directly processable in an automatic way and defines the conditions for which the Public Administrations are obliged to accept them, with the further aim of making it easier and promote e-invoicing be processed in the Member States. To do this, the European Commission has asked the CEN - the European Committee for Standardization - the development of a European semantic standards and a set of technical specifications related to it, to lay the foundation of interoperability and limiting the formats that the contracting of countries States should support.

Anticipating the request of the Commission, of Italian and Dutch initiative, establishing a specific CEN Technical Committee CEN / TC 434 on electronic invoicing with the task of developing documentation required under the Directive. After years of intense work needed to harmonize different national positions, we have recently been approved unanimously by the CEN, the following documents:

European standard EN 16931-1 contains the format of the semantic model of electronic invoice, for the first time since the introduction of VAT 45 years ago, formally it establishes the contents of a bill that would ensure regulatory compliance throughout the 'European Union;

Technical specification TS 16931-2 identifies a limited list of two syntaxes, OASIS UBL 2.1 (now ISO / IEC 19845) and UN / CEFACT Cross Industry Invoice, both based on XML and on international standards, to be followed by specific syntactic mappings (how to use) with the "core" model specified in EN 16931-1, for which it is departing the vote.

 Following the publication by the European Commission on the Official Journal of the European Regulation and the list syntax, expected in July 2017, shall commence 18 months to be adopted by the receiving and processing requirement for the Public Administrations, with the option for Member States to postpone for 12 months the requirement for local public administration.

 

 

UN/CEFACT

UNECE is exploring block chain’s impact on trade

Date: 03/05/2017

Source: CoinDesk

A UN agency dedicated to facilitating international and national trade is putting together a pair of white papers cantered on block chain technology.

A project proposal detailing the work was published yesterday by the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (CEFACT), a subsidiary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

The organization is developing the two white papers – one focused on technical matters and the other on business cases – as well as a half-day workshop, tentatively scheduled for some time this autumn.

The project was officially approved on 20th April, with CEFACT noting in the proposal:

"The scope of this project is to look at how existing UN/CEFACT deliverables could be used by block chain application developers ... possible changes to existing UN/CEFACT deliverables, or new deliverables, that could be considered in order to support block chain trade-facilitation related applications … [and] how block chain technology could be used to facilitate trade and related business processes."

This is the latest block chain development out of the UN, which has seen a number of its agencies pursue activities around the tech in recent weeks and months.

Perhaps most notably, the World Food Programme (WFP) began a large-scale aid distribution trial based in Jordan this week, one that leverages the ethereum block chain to process transactions.

The trial began with an initial focus group of 10,000, but the agency said it could see expansion in the months ahead to include all refugees in the country.

 

 

The seventh Ghana Entrepreneur & Corporate Executive Awards 2017 held in Accra 

Date: 03/05/2017

Source: NewsGhana

Madam Valentina Mintah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of West Blue Consulting, a world class business and IT-consulting and technology firm has been awarded the “Chief Executive Officer of the Year 2016-Business and IT Consulting Services” Award at the prestigious Ghana Entrepreneur Awards 2016 held in Accra last night.

The Award presented to her by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic Turkey to Ghana, H.E Nesrin Bayazit seeks to recognise Madam Mintah’s outstanding achievement, vision, innovation and growth in the trade facilitation and customs modernisation in Ghana. She received a certificate and a coveted plaque.

The seventh Ghana Entrepreneur & Corporate Executive Awards 2017 which was organised by the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Ghana (EFG) in association with the OmniBank seeks to reward excellence among the most committed and dedicated entrepreneurs and corporate executives in Ghana.

(…)

West Blue Consulting which Madam Mintah headed is the technical partner of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) project which has been contracted by the Government of Ghana to run the five year project.

Initially, she led her team to successfully develop and implement the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) last year.

The PAARS, according to the senior officials is a modernized system that has been developed by the Customs Division of GRA as part of the implementation of the GNSW project to enhance revenue mobilization, improve border security and customs clearance, overcome duplication across regulatory agencies an d promote trade facilitation.

(…)

Indeed, the Single Window concept was developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2005 as an effort to simplify, harmonise and standardise international trade procedures and associated information flows between trade and government and within government itself.

UNECE, through its UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), defined Single Window as “a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements. If information is electronic, then individual data elements should only be submitted once”.

 

 

TIR Convention

Iran: Customs are still upward in external transit

Date: 29/04/2017

Source: ISNA

Original language: Persian

Director General of Customs port of Astara border said the weight and value of foreign transit of goods (inputs and outputs) of the customs border of the city is still rising.

In an interview with ISNA, "Messenger of Hope" said that, in the first month of 1396, an amount of 23 thousand tons of goods $86 million worth foreign transited via Astara Customs (input and output) that in terms of value, compared to the same period of significant growth in 1395.

He pointed out that at this time in transit external output of 18 thousand tons of goods transported has continued: the value of the product 78 million dollars by weight 48 percent in terms of value, 99 per cent has been recorded.

Director General of Customs Port of border Astara stated that appliances, cars, furniture, machinery, toiletries, building materials, plaster, cement, container, glass, clothing, chemicals and agricultural  products

wholesale goods transported in transit external (output) are the above goods from different continents of the world to Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine's transit.

Hope, in another part of his speech from the movement of goods through foreign transit (entry) of the Customs, spoke and noted that during this period of 5 thousand tons of goods $8 million worth from source countries, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine to Turkey, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates has been sent.

He added: petroleum products, materials, wood, cotton, synthetic fibres, iron, copper, iron and fiberglass are major transit goods (inputs).

Director General of Customs port of Astara border said the amount of transit cargo by weight and 115 percent in value 5% compared to the same period last year shows growth.

Hope in his concluding public revenue Astara Customs in the period, 16 billion and 420 million rials outlined with emphasis on the growth of 23 percent in revenue, said customs city's port, import and export of certain provisional entry and exit, border cooperation, internal and external transit, international TIR Carnet, TIR Carnet origin and destination, Kapvtazh, the passenger returned, postal borrowing and judicial acts. 

 

 

Trade

Germany: Risky business in governance

Published on April 28, 2017

Source: Fishsec.org

The outcomes from policy making in fisheries, with exceptions, are largely focused on developing goals and objectives for resource use. Developing effective management measures to address these  goals and objectives is a current sticking point in the EU. Cormier, a retired fishery manager from Canada now sharing time between Canada and Germany, believes that fully operationalising EBM requires a focus on operational outcomes within a continuous policy cycle. These outcomes in turn provide the necessary benchmark for testing if EBM goals and objectives are met.

However, it isn’t so much a list of operational outcomes that Cormier has proposed, but a new dialogue to help management develop these outcomes. By applying the ISO 31000 risk management standard to fisheries and marine management, Cormier can frame policy development in terms of risk. This new dialogue means a different kind of consultation process with interested communities, a systematic method to identify perceived risks.

His approach is one step closer to reality following a successful United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) workshop on 20-22 February 2017.

Hosted by Helmholtz-Zentrum in Geesthacht Germany, Cormier brought together experts from North America and Europe including members of the Group of Experts on Managing Risks in Regulatory Systems and scientists involved in marine sciences and fisheries. This team focused on the use of ISO 31000 and other risk management standards within a regulatory context to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The initial pilot for this workshop was SDG 14, ‘Life Below Water’. The workshop proposed approaches to proceed with SDG 14 as well as recommendations for an upcoming symposium being organized by UNECE the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

This workshop was also a preparatory platform for a joint UNECE and ICES symposium planned for 2018 in Iceland titled “Management tools and standards in support of Sustainable Development Goal 14”.

A risk management framework is easily scalable to meet the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy and regionalized management in Europe, particularly if supported within a quality management system. If you would like more information on the UNECE workshop, please visit this link to see all presentations and a workshop report.

Cormier was the final keynote speaker at our own collaborative workshop with Baltic Eye and ICES on advancing Ecosystems Based Fisheries Management in a Baltic context. In line with our workshop and the ongoing preparation for the joint UNECE/ICES symposium, FishSec will develop a series of articles in the coming months to explain some of the core concepts in both risk management and its role within a quality management system for governance.

 

 

UN/CEFACT: The impact of the new European core invoice

Date: 28/04/2017

Source: Platformlfa

Original language: Dutch

Under the heading 'EN 16931-1' is working on creating a standard for electronic invoicing (with syntax UBL and UN / CEFACT) in Europe. A 'core invoice' is hereby spoken. The European Directive 2014/55 / ​​EU require that at least all contracting authorities in the EU should work with the new standard and its syntax from the end of 2018. And that can sometimes be faster than you think.

Many software vendors accounting and ERP software now offer the ability to bill electronically (outgoing and incoming) based on UBL. Electronic invoicing to the Central Government is mandatory since January 1, 2017 in the variant UBL-OHNL.

Many companies and software vendors are dealing with this standard at European level for electronic billing. This leads include the following questions:

  •       Who is the new European standard for electronic invoice core important?
  •       What is the norm?
  •       What limitations does the core invoice?
  •       The user instructions and restrictions are there?

On May 18, 2017 in Financial Systems 2017 provides dr. Ir. Fred van Blommestein, Lead editor of the new European standard for electronic invoices, a presentation on the European nuclear bill, stating the answers to the above questions.

The presentation will be provided at the invitation of Gerard Bottemanne of software packages which subsequently provides the presentation: “Is your own (accounting) software and your accountant prepared for electronic credit reporting via SBR?”

Also, the use of the nuclear bill in common scenarios discussed and also discusses enhancements for specific cases. In short, a must for enterprises and software vendors.

 

 

Transport: Future transport

Date: 27/04/2017

Source: Pan European Networks 

The first European Conference on Connected and Automated Driving was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 3-4 April 2017, and addressed a breadth of the possibilities and challenges created by the transition towards sustainable, smart and autonomous vehicles. The event was well attended by stakeholders in the mobility sector, and was introduced by the European commissioner for transport, Violeta Bulc, who offered her vision of city transport in 2050 and outlined the measures she hopes to implement on the European level to bring about this future. She welcomed the establishment of the conference, which represented co-operation between three commissioners, three directorates-general, and many relevant bodies around European transport; an alignment of priorities and a combination of efforts reflect an encouraging demonstration of progress, she said, towards smarter transport across the continent.

Bulc began by explaining that the changes facing today’s transport sector represent an almost unprecedented paradigm shift which will forever alter the dynamics of mobility: “Transport is undergoing a massive transformation. I believe we can compare it to the steam engine, and how that changed and reshaped the way we understand transport … This transformation is changing not only the technology itself but the concept of mobility, which is much more than just technology.”

The concept of mobility, as Bulc described it, encompasses the ripple effect that the introduction of fully automated vehicles will cause not only to the transport industry but also to the everyday lives of Europeans. “We’re talking about a different way of booking journeys, [changes to] the value of transport assets and the perception of travel time, employment conditions and the management of traffic flows.”

Many of the innovations that are leading to this vision of 2050 originated or are being developed in Europe, and the commissioner emphasised that the EU must take on a leading role in shaping and implementing this prospective future. She implored European leaders and institutions to adopt an active role in driving change: “My message for today is that I am convinced that Europe needs to lead and shape this future, rather than only follow what other centres are inventing. It’s so important that we engage on a global level and start with the big picture.”

In service of this big picture, there are several initiatives at the EU level supporting globally focused efforts. The European Commission, Bulc explained, is “very strongly engaged on the G7 level, where a special group is now addressing the global challenges and standards for emerging mobility solutions. At the same time, we’re also collaborating very closely with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe to drive standardisation and the regulatory frameworks for connected and  automated mobility at an international level.”

Highlighting the specific areas in which the commission is working to facilitate change, she continued: “We’re working with issues associated with the transformation very closely: liability, the co-ordination of research and innovation, and the technical standardisation to accelerate the full deployment of digital solutions.” The varied and cross-sectoral nature of these challenges is the reasons why it is vital for such a diverse intersection of stakeholders to collaborate in developing  solutions. “It’s absolutely necessary that vice-president Andrus Ansip and commissioners, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Carlos Moedas and I, work as a close team and act as a proactive force. Member states and industry experts expect us to do so because it was very clearly stated in the Declaration of Amsterdam that was adopted last year.” 

 

 

Transport: Logistics company calls for creating multimodal digital cargo communities in a conference at the United Nations

Date: 27/04/2017

Source: Daily Shipping Times

Transportation drives development – enabling trade, tourism and economic growth and allowing people to access jobs, services, education and the interactions that help create fulfilled lives. Sustainable transport, by extension, drives sustainable development, advancing the people-centered goals while protecting and preserving the planet and its resources for generations to come.

Sustainable Development Goals of Sustainable Transport and Peace conference held at United Nations, Geneva on April 12-13 was led by led by Anatoly Karpov, President of the International Association of Peace Foundations, and Eva Molnar, Director of the Transport Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Mr. Amar More, CEO, Kale Logistics Solutions, was a key note speaker at the conference. Speaking at the conference, he said,“In spite of having several e-cargo tools there is still data duplication, excessive paperwork and challenges with supply chain visibility. The automation in the industry is heterogeneous which is leading to lack of data exchange and poor visibility for shipments. These result in higher inventory in supply chain and hence higher logistics costs.”

Emphasizing on the need for disrupting the inefficient supply chain cycle, he added “Technology will be playing a very critical role in the Freight Industry, multi-modalcargo community system is a breakthrough innovation for the industry that helps the exporters, importers, forwarders, customs brokers, custodians, ground handlers, airlines, shipping lines, chambers of commerce, customs, local regulatory authorities exchange data with each other digitally using several forms of electronic data interchange (EDI). Kale has had the privilege of creating India’s first multi-modal cargo community system UPLIFT and world’s first most comprehensive Airport Cargo Community system GMAX both of which are Global Benchmarks and are being adopted as well as emulated globally.”

The conference witnessed participation from Heads of State and Government, UN officials, private sector CEOs and civil society leaders.

The conference comes at an opportune time when Governments, businesses and civil society are moving quickly to take actions that are needed to achieve sustainable development. The two-day conference featured plenary sessions as well as parallel thematic discussions on various sustainable transport related topics, including railway transport as a key driver of sustainable transport, sustainable Air Cargo, research and innovation, digitalization of the freight and passenger transport documents, facilitating international trade by creating multimodal digital cargo communities and specific situations and policies of few countries.  

UN/CEFACT: Electric business cross-border standardization to take a new step in UN/CEFACT

Date: 26/04/2017

Source: Ptsn.net

Original language: Chinese Mandarin

On April 26, 2017, at the United Nations Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business Center Forum (UN / CEFACT Forum), held at Geneva, United Nations Headquarters, the Ali Standardization Department introduced eWTP for the first time on behalf of Ali and proposed eWTP standardization work proposals. In the meeting, reached in UN / CEFACT set up eWTP related Domain and Project, eWTP related standards to carry out the work of the consensus.

EWTP is a private-sector, market-driven, open and transparent, multi-stakeholder public-private partnership platform designed to address the development trends, issues and policy recommendations of the global digital economy and e-commerce, share business practices and best practices , Hatching and innovat ing trade new rules and new standards to promote global digital economic infrastructure construction and jointly promote global economic and social excellence and sustainable development.

Alibaba representative of the Department of Standardization at the meeting, serving the small and medium-sized micro-enterprise integrated services, full link data directory services, credit system, supply chain management, is an important part of ewtp. Called for clear foreign trade comprehensive services in the small and medium-sized micro-enterprise international trade facilitation of the main status and responsibilities to define the rules for the world outside the legal status of foreign enterprises, customs, taxation, commodity inspection, business and other government functions supporting the introduction of the corresponding Operation management system and operational methods to provide the basis. In addition, we hope to use the Internet and large data, the establishment of cross-border all-link data directory services, credit systems and supply chain management and other new rules and new standards, effectively improve the regulation, service efficiency, reduce administrative costs, eWTP in the country to provide land Basis and guidance, and promote the rapid implementation of eWTP.

This is the first step in the international standard development of eWTP, which is advocated by Ali in the International Organization for Standardization. UN / CEFACT's Recommendations, Standards and Technical Specifications are widely used in member countries of the United Nations, with strong binding and guidance, and the promotion of eWTP-related standards through UN / CEFACT can effectively advance eWTP Members of the landing, to promote small and medium enterprises to facilitate trade. UN / CEFACT Chairman, Vice Chairman and representatives of key national members expressed great interest and support for Alibaba's eWTP work in UN / CEFACT, hoping that Alibaba will bring more best for international trade facilitation of small and medium-sized micro-enterprises practice.

UN / CEFACT's full name is: United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business, Chinese name: United Nations Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business Center. Its main task is to simplify and coordinate the world in the administrative, commercial, transport and other aspects of the procedures and practices to promote the development of international trade in goods and services for the global business to contribute to the rapid growth.

 

 

UN/CEFACT

Consulting partner of the Ghana National Single Window to Deploy Cargo XML for Airlines

Date: 21/04/2017

Source: Modern Ghana

The Cargo XML which is expected to replace the existing Cargo IMP will be implemented on 28th May 2017, Aminu Uthman Oluwatoni, Manager Project Delivery at the West Blue Consulting has announced at IATA Day 2017 held in Accra.

He explained that as part of work of the implementation of the Cargo XML, notification including User Guide from Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) took effect on 19th April 2017.

Mr Oluwatoni added that the pilot commencement of the Cargo XML service would start on the 28th April 2017, and would be enforced on the 28th June, this year.

Cargo-XML Recommendation Paper has recommended to airlines to use standard IATA Cargo-XML to exchange electronic information along the air freight supply chain as the alternative to the current IATA Standard Cargo-IMP.

In Ghana, West Blue Consulting is deploying the Cargo XML standard as part of the GNSW Electronic Air Manifest System to modernise the old Cargo IMP messages by leveraging new technology for maximum benefits, according to him.

(…)

The IATA Day 2017 which brought together members of IATA, stakeholders in the aviation industry, policy-makers under one roof to discuss the opportunities, challenges, among others was sponsored by West Blue.

Recently, the Chief Executive Officer of West Blue Consulting, Madam Valentina Mintah revealed that 25 airlines electronically submit their manifests to the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) up to four hours before landing at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra.

Previously, they were submitted in hard copies to ground handlers, after the arrival of the airlines at the airport.

The PAARS is a modernized system that has been developed by the Customs Division of GRA as part of the implementation of the GNSW project to enhance revenue mobilization, improve border security and customs clearance, overcome duplication across regulatory agencies and promote trade facilitation.

(…)

Based on the experience of the Single Window implementations in other countries, West Blue estimated that the GNSW project would reduce the cost and time of international trade (import, export and transit) in Ghana by 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively over the next five years.

Instructively, the GNSW project was initiated on 1st September 2015 by the Government of Ghana to enhance the country’s trade and economic development and secure and increase government revenue. It was officially launched in 1st December, 2015.

Indeed, the Single Window concept was developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2005 as an effort to simplify, harmonise and standardise international trade procedures and associated information flows between trade and government and within government itself.

UNECE, through its UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), defined Single Window as “a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements. If information is electronic, then individual data elements should only be submitted once”. 

 

 

Norway: 30 years of digitization

Date: 03/04/2017

Source: Digi.no

Original language: Norwegian

Opinion article by Arild Haraldsen, independent consultant with assignments in the strategic use of ICT, lectures and debate leader.  It started with the EU, namely: the EU's four freedoms. The most important of them in the 70's was "free flow of goods across borders."

To achieve "free flow" to trade documents standardized. Later standardization of message formats. EDI became an international standard through the UN agency UN / CEFACT in 1985. The Norwegian Customs by Deputy Customs Director Frode Alm Eriksen, took the initiative to create TVINN system in 1988 based on standardized business documents and EDI. TVINN was the first system in the world based on the EDIFACT standard. It made Norway a leading country in the "digitization" of the public sector in cooperation with the private sector. Meanwhile, the project showed that it was not only technology, but also how one got to a good cooperation between different actors from private and public sectors with different interests that became the basis for success.

Several players had contributed to TVINN system, both from the public sector and the private sector. It was therefore decided in 1994 to merge those who had participated to a new organization: Norwegian EDIPRO. It would be an independent unit consisting of both private and public clients and aims to contribute to further spread of applications of EDI for electronic communication. Revenues came partly in the form of membership revenues, project revenues and subsidies from the Ministry of Industry. EDI got now widespread in the banking and in the retail sector, as well as in the transport industry.

(…)

The focus is now more on specific applications, such as the introduction of standard invoicing.  The other day it was said from Difi page that there had never been any standard e-invoicing in the country if not Difi had put down a project in 2009. The government had to take the initiative since private players failed to create such a standard, it was said.

This is wrong. Standard e-invoicing has been around long before 2009 in the form of an EDIFACT standard which, inter alia, banks, grocery stores and others have made use of. And we have all used e-invoices in the bank long before 2009.

What was new was to create an XML-based e-invoicing. There were several private players who made already in 2002; standard called e2b, and eventually got widespread.  But it was important that it was developed an international standard, and that governments that large market player, had to be central to this work.

Denmark took such an initiative in 2004, there were several private and public actors who were interested in following up. "The problem" was that the tool was UBL (Universal Business Language) which then was not an international standard. Through the initiative of NorStella and DIFI, it was established a project through the EU and the UN agency UN / CEFACT to develop e-invoices based on UBL as an international standard. It was the basis for the project initiative Difi took in 2009. EHF standard is therefore an international standard adapted to Norwegian conditions, and funded through Difi.

An official report called AGFA report from 2008 under the leadership of the current Department of KMD, Catherine de Brisis, suggested that the EHF format should be "mandatory" for vendors who sold goods and services to the state (later also to the municipalities). But they also focused on the infrastructure that should be applied. Here got NorStella breakthrough in 2011 that one should use the existing infrastructure such as banks and non-financial intermediaries’ message had, rather than trying to establish a state monopoly through Altinn so Difi originally wanted. In a letter to the Ministry NorStella pointed that this would lead to an unfortunate distortion of competition in the market.

 This shows that not only is the technology itself that is decisive for whether this will "capture". Nor are there changes in work processes and procedures which are always crucial. Equally important is that the public sector does not contribute to change the conditions of competition in the market for the benefit of public solutions.

 

 

Un éditeur français de logiciels partie prenante du projet européen WP10 Data Pipeline

Date: 03/04/2017

L'éditeur français de logiciels spécialisé dans les processus douaniers est partie prenante du projet européen WP10 Data Pipeline, qui élabore un nouveau modèle de transmission des données utilisées dans l'import/export.

Lors de la SITL, Conex a dressé un rapport d'étape sur cette initiative lancée en 2014 sous l'égide du CORE, programme de l'Union Européenne finançant des projets de R&D en matière d'analyse des risques, de suivi et de traçabilité des informations et des marchandises. Notons que l'implication de Conex s'illustre par le rôle que joue son Responsable du Développement International, Lance Thompson, à la tête de l'UN/CEFACT (United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business).

En pratique, le modèle baptisé WP 10 Data Pipeline fait l'objet d'un POC (Proof Of Concept) fondé sur 4 circuits d'import/export passant par le port de Felixstowe, au Royaume-Uni, et correspondant notamment aux importations de l'enseigne Sainsbury en provenance de Chine, et aux exportations de JC Bemford, qui expédie par conteneurs des véhicules de BTP partout dans le monde.

« Le principe du pipeline est collaboratif. La chaine d'informations se complète au fil du cheminement des marchandises, par les informations que détient chaque acteur de la Supply Chain. Le partage des données tout au long du cheminement matière offre de la visibilité sur la chaîne d'approvisionnement. C'est le fondement de notre modèle, qui améliore la surveillance réglementaire et accélère la circulation de l'information dans un ensemble d'échanges de données dématérialisées », constate Lance Thompson.

 Le projet en question va se prolonger jusqu'en avril 2018, et le modèle qu'il élabore devra être utilisable à la fois par les acteurs économiques et par les autorités administratives et gouvernementales, avec pour objectif d'améliorer la transmission en temps réel des informations tout au long de la Supply Chain, avec un accent sur la sécurité.

 

UN/CEFACT

Insurance and risk management provider fights preventable cargo dangers

Date: 21/03/2017

Source: Port Technology

TT Club's Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox has spoken out about the serious consequences resulting from badly packaged, eccentrically loaded and wrongly handled material, whether of a regulated dangerous or seemingly benign nature.

These accidents range from over-turned road trailers, train derailments, crane failures, ship fires to container stack collapses.

Storrs-Fox said: "Stringent efforts by our group and many others to address, in part, these issues resulted last year in an amendment to the maritime safety convention, SOLAS making mandatory the weighing of every packaged container.

"Despite there being 166 signatory nations to this convention, evidence so far is that this legal requirement has made little impact on the problem of mis-declaration of the gross mass of packed containers.

"Where regulation fails, industry must come together to act in the interests of safety."

The CTU Code is a joint publication of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Commission for Europe (UNECE) to provide a non-mandatory global code of practice for the handling and packing of shipping containers (and other cargo transport units) transported by sea and land.

However, the European Commission has no legislation covering what is predominantly an international multimodal issue.

There has also been a lack of national government engagement with the IMO’s container inspection standard.

While the focus of these inspections is primarily on declared dangerous goods movements, a very limited number of government agencies provide reports on their findings.

TT Club has called the reports "disturbing" as over the last decade nearly a third of the units are reported to be poorly packed. In a statement, TT Club said: "As this analysis covers declared dangerous cargoes only, it might be assumed that a significantly greater number of poorly packed units containing other cargoes must exist, presenting daily danger around the globe."

"There is a very obvious need to communicate the existing guidance and have it used in practice."

"The next step must be to deliver the Code, or essential elements of it, to the workforce which carries out the function of packing cargo."

The previous 1997 IMO/ILO/UNECE Guidelines for Packing of Cargo Transport Units carried little weight in the industry.

However, explosion at Tianjin Port in August 2015, with estimated insured losses of between $2.5 and $3.5 billion, has provided a backdrop against which working practices and risk management within the global supply chain should be considered.

The Thai International Cargo and Terminals Association (TICTA) recently informed customers that the terms of the CTU Code must be complied with in their facilities.

Commenting on the need for a greater degree of industry awareness of the issues and the guidance contained in the Code, Storrs-Fox added: “We recently carried out an awareness survey that has produced some telling results.

"Of the 6,000 recipients of our emails some 25% showed enough interest to open the message, but of these less than 5% completed the questionnaire."

"These figures in themselves show a lack of concern regarding packing and, additionally 44% of those that did respond felt the Code was insufficient to tackle the safety issues.  We clearly have much work to do."

Recent analysis of TT Club’s insurance claims records suggests that 65% of damages to cargo result from poorly packed, blocked or secured cargo in cargo transport units (CTU), particularly freight containers.

 

Agricultural company focuses on grain traceability for Food Safety Modernization Act standards

Date: 02/03/2017

Source: World-Grain.com

Grain producers and handlers may soon have more powerful data management capabilities to address traceability and the regulatory needs of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), due to a collaborative effort by AgGateway members to create standards for grain-handling information management companies involved in the effort, known as CART (Commodity Automation for Rail and Truck ).

The CART team met last month at the Software Solutions Integrated (SSI) corporate offices and training centre in Shelbyville, Illinois, U.S., to map out a plan to complete the standards work by June of this year.AgGateway said taking CART over the finish line will culminate almost two years of work by more than 25 member companies and individuals from academia dedicated to its mission of expanding eConnectivity in agriculture.

“The grain industry has not been able to efficiently track harvested grain from harvester to grain cart, grain cart to truck, truck to elevator, and elevator to processor,” said Phil Kubesh, IT manager at Vita Plus Corp. and chair of AgGateway’s Grain & Feed Council. “These new standards pave the way for growers to much more efficiently transact and manage that valuable data.”

(…)

Kubesh said that a positive aspect of AgGateway’s work is that teams draw on and tie together existing standards where possible, and collaborate with other organizations as needed. For CART, standards organizations such as the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF), American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Open Applications Group (OAGi) and the United National Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) have resources and activities that the team is drawing on in completing the standards.

 

 

Transport

UN resolution highlights the importance of e-CMR

Date: 27/02/2017

Source: Logistica

Original language: Spanish

The UN adopted Friday a resolution which highlights the importance of e-CMR "for bringing innovation to real life" as digital documents " will allow more efficient transport and, ultimately, facilitate the arrival of Deeper innovations such as stand-alone vehicles'.

The resolution, adopted at the session 2017 of the Committee on Transport of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (CTT UNECE) , as stated Astic recognizes the importance of innovation in road transport "to address environmental challenges 'And' to achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals'. In this regard, the resolution invites more Governments accede to the protocol e-CMR.

For the secretary general of the International Road Transport Union (IRU, its acronym in English), Umberto de Pretto, "the e-CMR frames the future of road transport." Without the complete digitization of road transport, 'the deployment of the latest developments, which are ready to revolutionize mobility, would not be possible. Simply, trucks without drivers need paperless logistics operations. "

This support comes shortly after the first trip of electronic CMR between Spain and France. A truck carrying fruit from Huelva to Perpignan marked the first crossborder use of electronic consignment note.

At present, eleven countries are part of the e-CMR protocol, but new cross-border uses are expected to emerge in the coming months. Seven other European countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden) have also recently confirmed their next commitment to the electronic WCD by means of a common action plan together with France and Denmark.

From Astic they explain that with the e-CMR, operators can enter data electronically, store information related to logistics and exchange data in real time through a mobile phone or a tablet. Real-time recording of information assumes that the different "actors" receive the information about the goods transported instantly. "Therefore, any further action necessary is done faster and with less cost 'highlighted from the association.

 

Port Community System: a change in management

Date: 23/02/2017

Original language: Spanish

Source: La Nacion

More and more we will hear about the Port Community System (PCS).  Technology platforms for the exchange of electronic documents for foreign trade and e-business transactions from B2B (Business to Business) and B2G (Business to Goverment) among logistics operators such as port authorities, cargo agents, terminals, Land, rail and air transport, customs brokers, freight forwarders , tax and other state and private orders.

European ports are the natural home of this technology, with years of development and experience. We can mention precursor platforms such as Soget of the port of Le Havre France, Portbase of Rotterdam Netherlands, dbh Bremen Germany, MCP of the Port of Felixstowe UK, PortIC of Barcelona Spain, and Dakosy of the port of Hamburg. 

It is definitely not a computer project, but a way of managing the change in logistics and business processes to which foreign trade is linked. They act as channels of communication in a synchronous or asynchronous way, the documents / messages exchanged are standardized according to guidelines of the UN / Cefact (Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business of the United Nations) and work In an open and transparent way without taking any type of intervention in the messaging that is exchanged between the parties.

(…)

A United Nations calculation (UN / Cefact) stipulates that the savings obtained with this type of platform, around 7% of the total cost of international trade operations. Another indicates that each dollar invested in automating processes will replicate an average savings of US $ 7 in the cost of paperwork if they were made through paper. 

These projects require strong political and strategic awareness in the top management of the Port Authority. In addition, it is very important to have as strategic partner all the public and private entities that operate in the Port. The formation of forums or committees are the immediate way to outline future actions so that the project is a success since the governance of these models will be exclusively in the hands of the community

It is good practice that the first processes that are incorporated are those that are easy and quick to implement and that have an important impact within the supply chain.

The ports that have this type of platforms can exchange information on the regular lines that operate together and arrivals / operations of other shipping agencies. This creates virtual logistics corridors by building a true national network of port information. Within this national scheme, there must also be a channel of communication with the VUCE (Single Window of Foreign Trade) and with the systems of each national agency and private operators. 

 

Already today exchanged some information in the CMR waybill via mobile such as PDA scanners

Original language: Norwegian

Date: 23 February 2017

Source: NLF

Already today exchanged some information in the CMR waybill via mobile such as PDA scanners. But the introduction of eCMR will make Waybill 1956 digitally. International Road Transport Union (IRU) - the international association for the truck industry - have initiated efforts to replace the entire paper waybill CMR with electronic eCMR messages.

- Electronic messaging is about direct communication from computer to computer. Such communication assumes that the data is arranged and standardized in a way that makes them recognizable and understood by computer systems at both ends, says Olav G. Hermansen, senior adviser in the NLF. 

- Are you looking for domestic parallels, think of TVINN messages to Customs which have replaced import and export declaration, or e-invoice messages introduced by sales to government agencies in 2012 and municipalities in 2015.

- CMR documents sent as PDF files by mail in other words, not electronic messaging.Major international samlastere and express companies have since the millennium developed solutions for electronic messaging. Yet skepticism been great among commodity owners and truck owners because many have seen it as "electronic forced marriage" with major players. 

- The fact that the IRU as a neutral and recognized international organization behind the introduction of eCMR messages merely provides a completely different opening for using eCMR messages in the transport chain. In IRU has realized the importance of relying on recognized electronic messaging standards, says Hermansen.

- Therefore, it partnered with the Economic Organization Europe, UN / CEFACT on using the data model standards for messaging. Technically we are talking about messages based on XML standards, and have already selected carriers and freight shippers in EU countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Greece and Bulgaria agreed to test it out in practice. 

 

The UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) approves a new Recommendation on Public-Private Partnerships in Trade Facilitation

Published: 23 February 2017

The port of Aqaba, Jordan’s only sea port, was reformed in 2004 through a public-private partnership (PPP), which helped to reduce average port stays from 8 days to a few hours. Port productivity has more than tripled and the cost to export per 20-foot container dropped from USD 720 in 2004 to USD 680 in 2007. The Senegalese Single Window – ORBUS – was established under a PPP in 2004. As a result, the time required to complete preclearance formalities for an import or export operation has been reduced by 70%, from 4 days to half a day. Furthermore, the amount of Customs’ revenue collection went up from USD 625 million in 2005 to more than USD 1 billion in 2008. 

Examples like these could blossom in coming years thanks to the development of a Recommendation (N.41), describing the key components and best practices for PPPs in Trade Facilitation, by the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT). Based on success stories and lessons learned from traditional PPP projects, the Recommendation provides detailed guidance on specific aspects, such as the governance, supporting information technology and infrastructure, and potential risks to consider in project implementation. It also shows potential benefits of PPPs in Trade Facilitation, in terms of enhancing open and transparent markets, bringing cost-effective processes through more effective service delivery, increasing competition and even attracting foreign investment.

Freely available to government authorities and businesses worldwide, the Recommendation will help them implement state of the art Trade Facilitation projects such as Single Window systems, creation of National Trade Facilitation Bodies, infrastructure support for port communities, trade and transit corridors, and coordinated border management.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are a possible solution for financing and delivering critical public services. In 2015, the total investment in transport projects with private participation in emerging countries was estimated by the World Bank at US$69.9 billion, up 53 percent from the average of the previous five years.  
The Recommendation has been approved by the UN/CEFACT Heads of Delegations and will be submitted to the 23rd UN/CEFACT Plenary (3-4 April 2017). 

The recommendation is available at: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=45379 

Note to editors

Selected examples of PPPs in Trade Facilitation

Private sector investments in seaports have led to increased throughput and frequency of transport services, resulting in lower freight rates and improved connectivity. New private sector investments in ports have also improved the connections to the global liner shipping network, including in Djibouti (after investment from Dubai-based port operator DP World), Lebanon (benefiting from port reforms since 2006) and Morocco (with a new international transhipment facility in Tangier).

PPPs are largely successful in achieving their development outcomes. According to the development outcome rating of project evaluations, more than two-thirds of PPPs are successful. The 176 PPPs supported by International Finance Corporation (IFC) show very high development outcome ratings, with 83 percent rated satisfactory or better.

The use of PPPs has increased in the last two decades. PPPs are now used in more than 134 developing countries, contributing about 15–20 percent of total infrastructure investment.

 

TRADE - The digital handover - 03/02/2017

Could blockchain technology turn accepted supply chain practice on its head? Felicity Landon reports

The ports industry is looking for greater transparency, a faster flow of data, faster flow of cargo, streamlined operations and more efficiency. It needs all parties to share and entrust each other with more information. Those involved want to be confident that documents and certificates are legitimate and haven’t been tampered with.

Consumers want to know that the clothes they buy are genuine and not made by child labour. They want to know if they are eating beef or horse. They might even like to know where and when the fish was caught that is now in the fish pie in the supermarket freezer.

(…)

The great ‘positive’ being promoted about blockchain is that once information has been recorded, you can’t go backwards and change it, giving real transparency for all parties involved.

However, there are still security concerns, says Virginia Cram-Martos, economic cooperation and trade division director at the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

“You can’t change a blockchain transaction without that being detected; but at the same time, if someone hacks the application that creates the transaction, masquerading as a valid user, and that gets into the blockchain, there is no way to get rid of it. Most of the applications so far have no way to correct mistakes, so it would just sit there. There are also some issues about software – some of it isn’t mature enough, so it is possible to hack software to create transactions that people will think are verified when they are not.”

Ms Cram-Martos believes blockchain’s most immediate use could be in the area of certificates and licences, and their validation. “For example, a phytosanitary certificate, which is only of use to the particular shipper; falsifying the documents would only create benefits for that one person or entity. I think this area has a greater possibility of being put earlier into a blockchain because there is less of an incentive to hack. Most companies are not going to hire a highly skilled hacker to change a phytosanitary certificate – they don’t have the time or the money.

“This could also solve problems in cross-border trade in terms of official documents and varying legislation about electronic signatures. There are a number of transactions where it is very important to have confidence in the document itself – testing certificates, for example. With blockchain time stamping, if a certificate received by the import country matches the copy issued by the authorities in the export country, the importer can be assured that no changes have been made.

“Blockchain is not useful for co-ordinating or generating information – it is useful for ensuring the validity of information. In certification and licensing, it could eliminate a great deal of fraud.”

Nigeria to ease export trade procedures - 03/02/2017

Nigeria will collaborate with the United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) to streamline processes and procedures for export trade, an official said Thursday.

The collaboration followed recent successes recorded in the country's quest to ease time spent on doing businesses, Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) told reporters in Abuja, the nation's capital.

Awolowo said this was part of the efforts by NEPC to create better enabling business environment by simplifying the national and international business transaction.

"We are more interested in exports and we are looking at finally getting together and implementing the single window facilities," he added.

The official told reporters that UN/CEFACT' s mission is to improve the ability of business, trade and administrative organizations, from developed, developing and transitional economies, to exchange products and relevant services effectively.

He said the country became the 107th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in Davos.

He said a recent report by the World Bank showed Nigeria's marginal improvement from 160th* to 149th out of the 190 countries surveyed globally.

According to him, the gains from UN/CEFACT's role will be considerably beneficial to small businesses because the costs of compliance with various trade-related procedures and processes are high.

Earlier, Lance Thompson, the Chairman, UN/CEFACT, said some of the problems obstructing international trade transaction were faulty interpretations of data and excessive use of paper document.

Thompson said others were numerous data exchange protocols and containerization of goods.

He said the single window initiative would bring about faster services at the border for both imports and exports, as well as ensure correct revenue collection.

Thompson said it would also guarantee less labor, less tasks and would minimize corruption.

He said the single window option would create room for transparency in governance, better public service and modernization through e-legislation.

* Erratum corrected by the Nigerian delegation: Presently Nigeria ranks 169 on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index, but the Presidential Council on Ease of Doing Business Reforms is committed to moving the country 20 spaces in the next five years.

http://en.ce.cn/main/latest/201702/03/t20170203_19929430.shtml

Source: UNESCAP Trade Facilitation Newsletter, July-September 2016

The 28th UN/CEFACT Forum took place at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok from 26-30 September 2016. Over 130 experts from across the globe attended the Forum, which was co-organized by UNECE, ESCAP and Thailand's Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA).

Significant progress was made in advancing current UN/CEFACT project and domain activities. In particular, the full draft of a UN/CEFACT Recommendation on Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM) was finalized, incorporating much of ESCAP and UNNExT inputs. The Recommendation is expected to undergo public review in the coming weeks, following UN/CEFACT establishing an open development process for international standards.

The Forum provided an opportunity to discuss further collaboration and strengthening information exchanges between UN/CEFACT, UNNExT and other relevant regional networks and expert communities. The Forum also included mini-conferences on topics such as Electronic Certification, Sustainable Fishery Management and Women in Trade Facilitation and Core Principles of the Operation of Single Windows. There was also progress on developing the UN/CEFACT Programme of Work 2017–2018.

More information on the UN/CEFACT Forum available at: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=42230

A Single Window can be an important 'building block' for trade facilitation, explains Felicity Landon

Date: 04/10/2016

Source: Opinion article

Security, simplification, transparency, efficiency, cutting costs, reducing delays, pinning down or increasing customs revenue … speakers at the African Alliance for e-Commerce (AACE) fifth International Single Window conference left their audience in no doubt as to the benefits for governments and trade of introducing an electronic ‘Single Window’.

But perhaps the simplest illustration came in the form of a story about sardines. Virginia Cram-Martos, director of the economic co-operation and trade division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), described how some friends bought a tin of Moroccan sardines while they were travelling in another African country – and found that the product had been imported not from Morocco but from the UK.

“It was cheaper and easier to export the sardines to the UK and import them back to Africa than go country to country in Africa,” she said. “This is true across Africa and a lot of Asia and Latin America too. It is extremely expensive for developing countries to trade with one another, as opposed to trading with developed countries – even though you might be talking about going just across the border to a country that probably shares the same language. That’s because procedures and costs are higher on both sides of the border.

She added: “This is where there could be particularly good benefits from a Single Window system, which would make it easier to export or import neighbour to neighbour – with the added benefit that neighbouring countries are more likely to have the same expectations in terms of products.”

The UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) Recommendation 33 defines a Single Window as ‘a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements’. If the information is electronic, then individual data elements should only be submitted once. A Single Window constitutes an important building block in the area of trade facilitation, says the recommendation.

The World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) requires all countries to implement a Single Window and places an obligation on developed countries to assist developing countries in this. However, it is not always the developing countries that are behind, Ms Cram-Martos emphasised, and the case studies presented by numerous African countries served to illustrate the fact.

“There are many reasons for the move towards the Single Window model, including resource limitations,” she said. “We see longer term trends towards lower classical growth, global warming, more awareness of climate change, and a more circular economy (recycling). We see energy infrastructure and financial shortages, and increasing competition. All of these mean that waste is no longer an option. We can no longer under-use infrastructure, over-pay financially through corruption, lose competitiveness through non-productivity, or lose time and money. All of these are issues that a Single Window helps to address.”

(…)

Portnet has brought together operators, exporters and importers, said Rachid Tahri, chairman of the Association of Freight Forwarders of Morocco. “Before, we had a culture of ‘the other’. Now we work together. The fact that an importer knows exactly where his goods are and when they are going to be delivered makes trade much easier.

“And then there are [potential] investors. If an investor wants to come to a country and wants to be able to send goods, they need to know how long clearance takes, because that is the most important link in the chain for trading. This is not only because importers and exporters need to know when products are doing to be delivered but also because there might be added value on both sides.”  

Conclusions from International Single Window Conference in Marrakech

Date: 26/09/2016:

http://shipmanagementinternational.com/electronic-data-exchange-crucial-to-smoother-trade-flows/

Facilitating and simplifying foreign trade requires political will and commitment from all partners, Abdelaziz Rabbah, Morocco’s Minister of Equipment, Transport and Logistics, told delegates at the International Single Window Conference held in Marrakech.

Delegates from more than 55 countries attended the conference, organised by the African Alliance for e-Commerce (AACE) in partnership with PORTNET, Morocco’s National Single Window for Foreign Trade. The World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement requires member states to establish a Single Window for the electronic exchange of administrative and operational information and regulatory documents such as Customs declarations, applications for import/export permits, certificates of origin and trading invoices.

Richard Morton, Secretary General of the International Port Community Systems Association, described the electronic exchange of information as vital to smooth, efficient trade flows, and other speakers described how the introduction of a Port Community System or Single Window system in their countries had reduced container clearance times from weeks to a matter of days or even hours. “We need to share our experiences and best practice,” said Mr Morton. “The speakers emphasised key themes for success: collaboration, transparency, engagement, technology, change management, inclusivity. “In 2013, members of the WTO concluded that trade facilitation is critical. We need to get trade moving better across borders. The TFA signed in Bali will come into force when two-thirds of members have completed their ratification. The agreement sets out measures for effective cooperation between Customs and other authorities, and is linked to Single Windows.”

Virginia Cram-Martos, Director of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Division at UNECE, said: “There are many reasons for the move towards the Single Window model, including resource limitations. We see longer-term trends towards lower classical growth, global warming, more awareness of climate change, a more circular economy (recycling). We see energy infrastructure and financial shortages, and increasing competition.

“All of these mean that waste is no longer an option. We can no longer under-use infrastructure, over-pay financially through corruption, lose competitiveness through non-productivity, lose time and money. All of these are issues that a Single Window helps to address.”

Towards the establishment of a Single Window in Albania

Date: 21/07/2016

Original language: English

Source: UNCTAD

A workshop was held under this project in Tirana from 13 to 17 June 2016, where officers from the Albanian Customs Administration, State agencies, and the private sector were trained by experts from the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), UNECE, and UNCTAD on the development of a Single Window in the country. The workshop focused on international best practice and standards, and emphasized the importance of stakeholder involvement. Key outcomes of the workshop were:

• Increased knowledge of relevant international recommendations, standards and tools (e.g. UNECE recommendations related to Single Window, United Nations Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide, Business Process Analysis, ASYCUDA system, etc.);

• Improved understanding of existing customs procedures through a technical visit to a port;

• Draft outline of a National Trade Facilitation Roadmap in relation to Single Window establishment; and

• Draft terms of reference for a working group for the establishment of a Single Window.

Common Standard for Electronic Bill to Aapp

Date: 31/05/2016

Original language: Spanish

Source: El Mundo Financiero.com

2018 European companies will have a common standard for electronic billing different public administrations in the European Union. Until that date a long way in which works a standardization body which is part BEINGS, pioneer and specialist in secure electronic exchange of documents. Since January last year, in Spain the suppliers of the AAPP are required to electronically bill a measure that has had a positive effect in controlling public accounts and cost savings and improved payment terms providers. However, the entry into force of the new standard billing could force general government and Spanish companies to make new investments to adapt the European model of electronic invoicing. As for the syntax, there are 4 currently being taken into account UBL 2.1, UN / CEFACT XML, UN / EDIFACT and ISO 20022 Financial invoice. While all do not comply strictly with the requirements demanded, there is no clear consensus to remove or put one or the other. What is clear is that the more you have, the more effort required from general government to accept that syntax in your project.

Moscow: Current state of the "single window" mechanism in the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union

Date: 26/05/2016

Original language: Russian

Source: bnews.kz

On May 25 in Moscow, on the site of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Deputy Director of the Department of Customs legislation and practice of the Eurasian Economic Commission Sergent Duisebayev spoke about the current state of development of the "single window" mechanism in the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC), the representatives of interested ministries and agencies of the participating countries of the Black Sea economic cooperation, reports BNews.kz.

Thailand: Problem of illegal fishing

Date: 16/05/2016

Original language: Thai

Source: http://www.pandinthong.com/critic/preview.php?id=590500000003

There are proposes to develop a program to use. May make the process to fix the delays and obstacles more, because the system of government in Thailand is also a way people do not have the same standards and cannot be linked to the government of Thailand to tackle. FLUX, which can be taken on the EU's cooperation with the UN/CEFACT standards for electronic data exchange via Web services and which began publishing public relations encourage agencies and countries. FLUX recognized standards and an action plan prepared by the FLUX completed in 2018 offers the ideal solution would be proposed to the Government and relevant agencies.

New standard devised to boost fisheries management

Date: 11/05/2016

Original language: Spanish

Source: Fish Information Service (FiS) - www.fis.com

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has developed an open and global standard that allows the electronic exchange of fishery data designed to improve the timely acquisition and exchange of information on fishing locations, gear used, species and quantity caught, among other facts.

It is a tool called Fisheries Language for Universal Exchange (FLUX), which provides a harmonized message standard that allows Fishery Management Organizations (FMOs) to automatically access the electronic data from fishing vessels, such as vessel and trip identification, fishing operations (daily catch or haul-by-haul) or fishing data (catch area, species and quantity, date and time, and gear used).

With this standard, FMOs around the world have for the first time a communication tool to automate the collection and dissemination of the fishery catch data needed for sustainable fishery management and for detecting and combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

In addition, the development of a reliable and up-to-date database on fish catch will improve research on science-based fishery management, informed UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). The FLUX Standard was presented at the 27th UN/CEFACT Forum in Geneva, where experts from government, regional and international organizations, regional FMOs, industry, research, and control and enforcement authorities agreed on its importance as a standardized tool to exchange fisheries information in an effective, transparent and efficient manner.

A FLUX User Community was also set up to exchange best practices and lessons learned. UN/CEFACT recognizes that world fish stocks are being depleted by overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, which threatens not only the fish, but also the coastal communities that rely on fisheries for economic survival and a dependable food source.

International Maritime Organisation Participates in Ship Safety and Security Regulations Conference

Date: 02/05/2016

Original language: English

Source: Shipping and Marine Events

IMO is participating in a United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business UN/CEFACT conference dealing with electronic exchange of information related to ship safety and security regulations, at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. Officials from regulatory agencies and affected transport and logistics sectors heard Julian Abril, Head of Facilitation, share the decisions adopted by IMO?s Facilitation Committee (FAL 40), which recently adopted the mandatory electronic data exchange for international shipping under the revised Facilitation Convention.

UN/CEFACT develops trade facilitation standards and recommendations to help industry provide information required by regulatory and border control authorities. In the IMO context, these include UN layout aligned paper forms and UN/EDIFACT electronic message structures in respect of the Organizations Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and FAL Conventions.

EDI Standards

Date: 28/04/2016

Original language: Chinese

Source: news.tuxi.com.cn

EDI standardization work is to achieve interoperability and interconnection of the premise and foundation. EDI standards including EDI network
Standard letter, EDI Processing Standards, EDI and EDI standard contact semantic grammar standards.
EDI network communication standard to resolve EDI communications network should be based on what kind of communication networks, in order to ensure that all types of Internet EDI user's system. Currently the main use of MHX (X.400) as EDI communication networks, in order to resolve EDI supporting environment. (…)
To promote the development of EDI, the world in sparing no effort to promote international EDI standards, in order to maximize the role of EDI. At present, the EDI standard, the world's most famous is the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN / ECE) under the Working Group IV (WP4) enacted in 1986 "for administration, commerce and transport of electronic data interchange" standard ─EDIFACT (Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Trans-Port) standard. EDIFACT has been received for the International Organization for Standardization ISO international standard, numbered ISO9735. As well as widely used in North America, by the (ANSI) X.12 appraisal committee American National Standards Institute (AXCS.12) established in 1985, ANSI X.12 standard. Figure 1.4 shows the global EDI standards development.

The Growing Call for Single Window, Trade Facilitation in West African Sub-Region

Date: 17/04/2016

Original language: English

Source: www.thisdaylive.com

With bureaucratic bottlenecks and opposition to the implementation of single-window clearing concept, which has already taken off in Ghana and other developed countries, trade experts are urging Nigerian authorities to exercise the political will to introduce the scheme in the country, writes Francis Ugwoke.

As a concept being championed by the WTO and WCO, including the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade and Transport in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT), single window is currently in operation in many countries.

Many advanced countries and African countries as members of WTO and WCO are implementing the scheme. The countries include the United  States of America, Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland, Senegal and Ghana. Nigeria in an attempt to introduce single window set up a nine-man Presidential Committee in 2010, which report has remained in the cooler.

Spain: The port of Valencia hosts a meeting of port community systems

Date: 10/03/2016

Original language: Spanish

Source: Diario Maritimas

 

The Port Authority of Valencia hosts until today an international meeting of port community systems in which experiences and knowledge about the standardization of digital messaging and important issues such as the weight of the containers are exchanged. About 70 people are involved from day 9 in this meeting, among which are representatives of the ports of Valencia, Bilbao, Barcelona, Tarragona and Algeciras and PORTEL.

On the first day, on March 9, issues such as the weight of containers, electronic bill of lading, manifest and ship electronic integration with customs and ports were discussed. This first day was for the Annual Assembly of the UN / CEFACT , working group UN standardization of transport messages.

The second day was scheduled for joint work between said group UN / CEFACT and Protect project that were discussed again issues the weight of the containers and sending them by e - mail or the single window. The third day was assigned to the International Association of Port Community Systems (IPCSA) in which issues such as the exchange of data in the tracking were treated, how to solve the issue of the weight of the containers and make the process of data exchange is equal in all ports. Jaime Lopez, marketing director of valenciaportpcs website, noted that the issue of the weights of the containers is very important and must be taken into account in the same enters a new actor, the shippers. Lopez said there "to do the weights reach and can not be on paper. In the port of Valencia it is considering offering a service weighing containers connected to all systems. " 

Nigeria: Imperatives of Single Window Concept for trade facilitation

Date: 9/03/2016

Original language: English

Source: leadership.ng/news/507633/imperatives-single-window-concept-trade-facilitation

 

 

About 60 years ago, the business community in Sweden saw the need to reduce distances to markets and observed that while physical distances to markets remained constant, economic distances to markets could be reduced.

The means to reduce economic distance to markets gave rise to trade facilitation in Sweden where the concept was first employed, and even today the global business community keeps thinking of innovative ways to cut cost and optimise time.

According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), trade facilitation anchored on building and implementing the Single Window platforms for all players in the international trade chain can help the global economy to save up to $1 trillion annually.

Trade facilitation means the simplification, standardisation and harmonisation of trade procedures and associated information flow required to move goods from seller to buyer and to make payment for the goods.

The managing director of Trade Development and Facilitation Consulting (TDAF) at the World Trade Centre II, Geneva, Switzerland, Mr Tom Butterly, anchoring his argument on the position of a recent WTO report, said that trade transaction costs can be up to 15 per cent of value of goods traded where one day delay at the border reduces trade by 1 per cent.

Butterly buttressed that for developing countries, such as Nigeria and Ghana, trade transaction cost can actually be more than 15 per cent, indicating a bigger need for West African countries to embrace the Single Window reform.

At a media Single Window training event organised by WestBlue Consulting, a Single Window resource firm operating in Nigeria and Ghana, held in Ghana at the weekend, Butterly said that many countries are now focusing on implementing deep trade facilitation reforms with the Single Window becoming a game changer.

The Single Window concept was developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2005, as an effort to simplify, harmonise and standardise international trade procedures and associated information flows between trade and government and within government itself. In fact, the UNECE, through its United Nations (UN) Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), defined Single Window as “a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements.”

The body recommends that “if information is electronic then individual data elements should only be submitted once.”

For a typical West African country, such as Nigeria or Ghana, there are about 200 pieces of information to be provided by an importer/exporter to about 14 government agencies, banks, and insurance companies, and some of these may require a return visit where mistakes occur. Butterly said that the Single Window reduces time of doing business by 50 per cent and can bring down cost of doing business by 25 per cent.

He said, “The Single Window reform is now helping to create a fundamental change of the mindset. Countries, even in Africa, that have embraced and are implementing the Single Window have been able to reduce the cost of doing business significantly and are doing so well. They include Coasta Rica and Rwanda, and Ghana is also able to save about $200 million in 2015. Ghana is also forecast to move up from the current global position of 171 to 121 out of 189 countries and the sub-saharan Africa rank of 36 to 16 out of 47 countries in ‘World Bank Trading Across Borders’ (Ease of Doing Business) survey by 2020.”

Nigeria started the Single Window reform since 2013, but the project is being hampered by the absence of political will, according to competent sources. The World Bank report has Nigeria on the 182 position out of 189, with Ghana which started much later taking a better position. The WTO Agreement Article 10.4 discusses the Single Window while Article 4.1 states that members shall endeavour to establish or maintain a Single Window single entry point where all trade information can be accessed by government agencies and the private sector. There are now 70 countries implementing the Single Window concept for international facilitation.

“By 2020, about 100 economies and some regions would have implemented the Single Window reform, enjoying the benefits of pre-clearance formalities down from four days to 0.5 days and customs clearance from 18 to 9 days. The Single Window reduces export time from 22 to 11 days. But most importantly, Single Window is about people more than technology,” Butterly said.

Implementing the WTO trade facilitation agreement in Sudan: understanding international standards and recommendations for trade facilitation

Date: 28/02/2016

Original language: English

Source: www.sdeconews.com/story-z14056846

 


​This will be the second event in Sudan organized within the framework of the UK-funded project to assist in the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Jointly organized with the World Customs Organization (WCO) and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the event will address Sudan National Trade Facilitation Committee members. The objectives are to: - Deliver Module 1 of UNCTAD's Empowerment Program for the Members of the Sudanese National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC); - Increase Sudan NTFC members' understanding on trade facilitation benefits and impact on development as well as its implications for global supply chain management; - Improve Sudan NTFC members' knowledge on trade facilitation international standards and legal framework, including UN/CEFACT Recommendations and other UNECE tools, WCO Revised Kyoto Convention, and World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement.

France : La dématérialisation des factures gagne du terrain

Date: 22/02/2016

Original language: French

Source: http://www.optionfinance.fr/entreprises-finance/gestion-financiere/la-dematerialisation-des-factures-setend.html

 

Alors que les entreprises travaillant avec le secteur public devront envoyer et recevoir des factures dématérialisées à compter de 2017 pour les grandes et de 2019 pour les PME, cette obligation pourrait être étendue au secteur privé. Le gouvernement y voit un moyen de fluidifier les échanges interentreprises et de diminuer les délais de paiement.

Finis les échanges de factures papiers entre les entreprises ? Alors que les sociétés commencent à se mettre en ordre de marche pour respecter les échéances réglementaires liées à la dématérialisation des factures vers le secteur public (voir encadré), le processus pourrait rapidement s'élargir au privé. «Certes, les entreprises et organisations ont aujourd'hui encore le droit de ne pas accepter de recevoir une facture au format électronique, précise Thierry Amadieu, directeur du cabinet de conseil TACD. Cette situation ne devrait cependant pas durer. L'article 222 de la loi Macron précise en effet que le gouvernement se laisse neuf mois de réflexion, soit jusqu'au 6 mai prochain, pour décider de généraliser progressivement l'obligation d'accepter les factures électroniques.»

Selon les termes de la loi, le fournisseur pourrait alors légalement imposer une facture électronique à son client entreprise, y compris dans le cas de contrats en cours.


(…)

L'échange de factures dématérialisées avec les services de l'Etat implique pour les entreprises de pouvoir envoyer et recevoir ce type de documents.

A cet effet, l'Agence pour l'informatique financière de l'Etat (AIFE) a proposé le 8 avril 2015, après une concertation avec les représentants des entreprises, des établissements publics et des collectivités, une solution technique mutualisée et gratuite pour l'ensemble de ces acteurs. «Cette solution, Chorus Portail 2017 (CPP 2017), permettra la transmission, le dépôt et la réception par les personnes publiques des factures électroniques ainsi que le suivi du paiement, signale Thierry Amadieu. La
facture sera archivée et restera accessible aux fournisseurs. Ce portail est appelé à remplacer le portail Chorus Facture.»

Ce dernier, opérationnel depuis le 1er janvier 2012, permet déjà aux fournisseurs de l'Etat de transmettre leurs factures par voie électronique, sans recours au papier. Chorus Portail Pro 2017, comme Chorus Factures aujourd'hui, proposera gratuitement trois modes de transmission : le dépôt des factures en PDF (signés ou non) sur le portail, la saisie des factures sur ce même portail, la transmission de factures sous format EDI - prioritairement selon deux normes XML : UBL invoice (ou UBL Peppol) et UN/Cefact CII, et accessoirement Edifact.

Single Window

Single window system

Date: 27/01/2016

Original language: Turkish

Source: http://www.lojistikhatti.com/haber/2016/01/tek-pencere-sistemi

 

 

"On behalf of our country to perform import and export operations are approximately 330 different types of documents that must be included in the customs declaration. Among them, only 21 documents from the customs authorities, while the remaining 309 documents are available from various institutions and organizations. Therefore remain liable of having to apply it to different institutions and organizations in order to be able to provide document is a procedure which led to both costly serious time losses, "said Fair Özsoğuk, Single Window System required traders to, both the customs authorities and as well as that of the import and export permit He says that institutions provide many benefits.

1-Single Window System (Single Window) What is it?

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Single Window System for import, export and legal arrangements framework for the transit procedures, documents and information necessary for goods which are subject to international trade and transport by about the trade and carriers of a standard format which is internationally recognized, one is defined as a reference point can be presented. World Customs Organization in above-made cookies to appropriately Single Window System for import, export and transit procedures to issue the relevant legislation of trade and standardized those who side transport information and documents he described as the fulfillment by entering a single data entry point.

2-Single Window System were needed cause?

In order to carry the process of import and export customs declarations to be introduced into our country there are about 330 different types of documents. Among them, only 21 documents from the customs authorities, while the remaining 309 documents are available from various institutions and organizations. Therefore, in order to keep the obligation to make available documents that refer to different institutions it is a costly procedure that led to both significant time loss. This type of international trade poses similar challenges for all countries in the world. United in the United Nations within Nations Conference on Trade Facilitation and Electronic Commerce Center (UN / CEFACT) such necessary information and documents to those engaged in international trade and to transportation Based on the identified "Single Window" called to offer a single point and the result is still getting from one point to and thus enabling operation has recommended the establishment of a system due to
the length of the process to prevent the loss of time in customs (UN Trade Facilitation and Electronic Commerce Centre Resolution No. 33). Simplifying and use of the single window system adopted on the basis of speeding United Nations recommendation as well as the World Customs Organisation of the foreign trade by the European Union (WCO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) by is also supported.