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Trade Facilitation Recommendations

Over the past 40 years, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has developed and maintained a series of recommendations and standards for international trade. These reflect best practices in trade procedures and data and documentary requirements. They are used worldwide to simplify and harmonize international trade procedures and information flows.

Rec 1 – UN Layout Key for Trade Documents

Recommendation 1 provides an international basis for the standardization of documents used in international trade and transport, including the visual representation of such documents. The United Nations Layout Key is intended particularly to serve as a basis for designing aligned series of forms employing a master document in a reprographic one run method of document preparation. It can also be used to design screen layouts for the visual display of electronic documents.

Symbol & Title Issued
date
English French Russian
ECE/TRADE/432
UN Layout Key for Trade Documents - Guidelines for Applications
2017 PDF PDF PDF
Previous versions
ECE/TRADE/CEFACT/2017/7
UN Layout Key for Trade Documents - Guidelines for Applications
2017 PDF PDF PDF
ECE/TRADE/270
UN Layout Key for Trade Documents - Guidelines for Applications
2002 PDF PDF PDF 
TRADE/CEFACT/2001/15
Addendum to Recommendation N°. 1
2001 PDF PDF PDF
ECE/TRADE/137
Recommendation N°. 1
1981 PDF PDF PDF

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Rec 4 – National Trade Facilitation Bodies

Recommendation 4 recommends that Governments establish and support national trade facilitation bodies with balanced private and public sector participation in order to: a) identify issues affecting the cost and efficiency of their country’s international trade; b) develop measures to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of international trade; c) assist in the implementation of those measures; d) provide a national focal point for the collection and dissemination of information on best practices in international trade facilitation; and e) participate in international efforts to improve trade facilitation and efficiency.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/425
Recommendation N°. 4
2015PDF--
Previous versions
ECE/TRADE/242
Recommendation N°. 4 - Second Edition
2001PDFPDFPDF
ECE/TRADE/256
Guidelines to Recommendation N°. 4
2000PDFPDFPDF
TRADE/WP.4/INF.33
Recommendation N°. 4
1974PDF--

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Rec 6 – Aligned Invoice Layout Key for International Trade

Recommendation 6 applies to the design of commercial invoices for international trade in goods. The layout key can also be used as a basis for designing invoices for other uses. Invoices based on this Recommendation are intended, to the extent possible, to present the required data in such a way that the invoice could complement or in certain cases replace existing documents (e.g. Customs invoices, consular invoices, declarations of origin, etc.)

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2010/8/Rev.1
Recommendation 6 - Revised Annex
2011PDF PDFPDF 
ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2008/5
Recommendation 6 - New Annex
2008PDF 
ECE/TRADE/148
Recommendation 6 
1983PDF --

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Rec 8 – Unique Identification Code Methodology – UNIC

Recommendation 8 originally entitled “Common Access Reference”, provides a unique reference number for each international trade transaction linking goods with documents and replacing other references, where feasible, with this unique identification code.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
TRADE/WP.4/INF.119
Recommendation N°. 8
1992PDF- -

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Rec 11 – Documentary Aspects of the Transport of Dangerous Goods

Recommendation 11 sets forth actions to harmonize information requirements and to simplify documentary procedures for the transport of dangerous goods in order to decrease complexity and increase accuracy and efficiency.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2008/8
Recommendation N°. 11 - Revised
2008PDFPDFPDF
Previous version
ECE/TRADE/204
Recommendation N°. 11
1996PDFPDFPDF

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Rec 12 – Measures to Facilitate Maritime Transport Documents Procedures

Recommendation 12 aims at the simplification, rationalization and harmonization of procedures and documents used to evidence the contract of carriage in maritime transport. It encourages the use of sea waybills or other non-negotiable transport documents instead of negotiable transport documents, such as bills of lading. This should facilitate the introduction of electronic data interchange.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2011/4
Recommendation N°. 12 - Third Edition 
2011PDFPDFPDF
Previous versions
ECE/TRADE/240
Recommendation N°. 12 - Second Edition
2001PDFPDFPDF
TRADE/WP.4/INF.123
Recommendation N°. 12
1993PDFPDF-

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Rec 13 – Facilitation of Identified Legal Problems in Import Clearance Procedures

Recommendation 13 proposes solutions to various legal problems related to import clearance procedures.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
TRADE/WP.4/INF.62
Recommendation N°. 13
1979PDF

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Rec 14 – Authentication of Trade Documents

Recommendation 14 seeks to encourage the use of electronic data transfer in international trade by recommending that Governments review national and international requirements for signatures on international trade documents, in order to eliminate the requirement for paper documents by meeting the requirement for signatures through authentication methods or guarantees, which can be electronically transmitted. In 2014, the title of the Recommendation was changed from the original “Authentication of Trade Documents by Means Other Than Signature.”

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2014/6
Revised Recommendation
2014PDFPDFPDF
ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2014/6/Add.1
Repository of legally enabling environments
2014PDFPDFPDF

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Rec 15 – Simpler Shipping Marks

Recommendation 15 describes a simple and standardized approach to identify cargo in order to reduce costs, mistakes, confusion and shipment delays. The Standard Shipping Mark established in this Recommendation should be used for marking on packages moved internationally by all modes of transport, for reproduction in related documents and for data elements in trade related information technology applications.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/243 (revised)
Recommendation N°. 15 - Fourth Edition
2000PDF-PDF
Previous versions
ECE/TRADE/243
Recommendation N°. 15 - Fourth Edition
1999PDF--
TRADE/WP.4/INF.119
Recommendation N°. 15 - Third Edition
1992PDF--

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Rec 18 – Facilitation Measures Related to International Trade Procedures

Recommendation 18 outlines measures related to the movement of goods, grouped according to the phases of an international trade transaction, which on their own would not justify an independent formal recommendation, but which Governments should consider implementing. Each section describes the application area, outlines the procedures and describes the particular problems for which facilitation measures are provided.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/271
Recommendation N°. 18 - Published version
2002PDF- -
Previous versions
ECE/TRADE/271
Recommendation N°. 18 - Third revised Edition
2001PDFPDF PDF
TRADE/CEFACT/2001/18
Recommendation N°18, Presented by the ITPWG
2001DOCPDFPDF
ECE/TRADE/141/Rev.1
Recommendation N°. 18
1982PDF--

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Rec 22 – Layout Key for Standard Consignment Instructions

Recommendation 22 presents a layout key, based on the United Nations Layout Key for Trade Documents, for the design of Standard Consignment Instructions intended to convey instructions from either a seller/consignor or a buyer/consignee to a freight forwarder, carrier or his agent, or other provider of service, enabling the movement of goods and associated activities.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/168
Layout Key for Standard Consignment Instructions
1989PDF- -

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Rec 25 – Use of the UN Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport Standard (UN/EDIFACT)

Recommendation 25 supports coordinated action by Governments to promote UN/EDIFACT as the single international standard for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between public administrations and private companies in all economic sectors worldwide.
Over 200 UN/EDIFACT messages are available for the exchange of data and are updated twice a year. The UN/EDIFACT syntax is ISO-9735 Parts 1-10.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
TRADE/WP.4/R.1079/Rev.1
Use of the UN Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport Standard (UN/EDIFACT)
1995PDFPDFPDF

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Rec 26 – The Commercial Use of Interchange Agreements for Electronic Data Interchange

Recommendation 26 promotes use of interchange agreements between commercial parties using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in connection with international commercial transactions. It includes a Model Interchange Agreement for international use. Designed for bilateral agreements between two trading partners, the Model Interchange Agreement can be implemented in multilateral relationships.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
TRADE/WP.4/R.1133/Rev.1
The Commercial Use of Interchange Agreements for Electronic Data Interchange
1995PDFPDFPDF

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Rec 27 – Preshipment Inspection

Recommendation 27 encourages using the WTO instrument regarding pre-shipment inspections (PSI) where such inspections are considered necessary as an interim measure, while discouraging the practice of PSI in general.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/237
Preshipment Inspection - First Edition 
1999PDF- -

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Rec 31 – Electronic Commerce Agreement

Recommendation 31 proposes a model for a contractual approach to electronic commerce operations. This approach takes into consideration the need for a framework of basic provisions to be agreed by business entities combined with the flexibility required to conduct day-to-day commercial transactions.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/257
Electronic Commerce Agreement - First Edition
2000PDFPDFPDF

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Rec 32 – E-Commerce Self-Regulatory Instruments (Codes of Conduct)

Recommendation 32 emphasizes the need for the development, support and promulgation of voluntary codes of conduct for electronic business so as to support the development of international trade, and calls on Governments to promote and facilitate the development of relevant self-regulation instruments, national and international accreditation schemes, codes of conduct and trust mark schemes.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/277
Recommendation N°. 32 -  First Edition
2001PDF- -
Previous versions
TRADE/CEFACT/2001/14
Recommendation N°. 32 - Draft
2001PDFPDFPDF

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Rec 33 – Single Window Recommendation

Recommendation 33 on Single Window is a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements. If information is electronic, individual data elements should only be submitted once. In addition, participating authorities and agencies should co-ordinate their controls through the Single Window. It may provide facilities for payment of relevant duties, taxes and fees. In practical terms, it aims to expedite and simplify information flows between trade and government and to bring meaningful gains to all parties involved in cross-border trade. The Single Window is generally managed by a lead agency, usually Customs, enabling the appropriate governmental authorities to access relevant information.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/352
Single Window Recommendation - First Edition
2004PDFPDFPDF
Single Window Repository [more]

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Rec 34 – Data Simplification and Standardization for International Trade

Recommendation 34 recommends a simple four-stage process to achieve a national, simplified, and standardized dataset to meet government information requirements. The publication also adds to the suite of products offered by UN/CEFACT to assist with establishment of a Single Window.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/400
Data Simplification and Standardization for International Trade
2013PDF- -
Previous version
ECE/TRADE/400
Data Simplification and Standardization for International Trade
2011PDFPDFPDF

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Rec 35 – Establishing a legal framework for international trade Single Window

Recommendation 35 extends support to countries by helping them to address legal issues related to national and cross-border exchange of trade data required for Single Window operations.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/401
Establishing a legal framework for international trade Single Window
2013PDF- -
Previous version
ECE/TRADE/401
Establishing a legal framework for international trade Single Window
2011PDFPDFPDF

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Rec 36 – Single Window Interoperability

Recommendation 36 covers the interoperability between two or more electronic Single Windows in different countries or economies. It addresses the fundamentals needed for the exchange of information beyond the domain of a National Single Window

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/431
Single Window Interoperability 
2017PDF- -
Previous version
ECE/TRADE/CEFACT/2017/6
Single Window Interoperability
2017PDFPDFPDF

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Rec 40 – Consultation Approaches

Recommendation 40 goes through the basic principles, the different forms and levels of consultation matters, and proposes in annex a toolbox and checklist. 

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2015/9/Rev.1
Consultation approaches Best Practices in Trade and Government Consultation on Trade Facilitation matters
2015PDF- -

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Rec 41 – Public-Private Partnerships in Trade Facilitation

Recommendation 41 aims to inform government agencies and private sector stakeholders about key components and best practices for PPPs in Trade Facilitation. Based on success stories and lessons learned from traditional PPP projects, it provides detailed guidance on specific aspects, such as the governance, supporting information technology and infrastructure, and potential risks to consider in project implementation.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/430
Public-Private Partnerships in Trade Facilitation
2017PDFPDFPDF
Previous version
ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2017/9
Public-Private Partnerships in Trade Facilitation
2017PDFPDFPDF

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Rec 42 – Establishment of a Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM)

Recommendation 42 aims to inform government agencies and private sector stakeholders about approaches to effective consultations that will be flexible, transparent, fair, accountable, and participatory. It addresses issues such as information sharing, preparations prior to consultations, and measures that aim at building a trust-based dialogue. When available, best practices in the field of consultation are provided. The goal is to present flexible and diverse approaches to consultations and inspire successful solutions.

Symbol and TitleIssued dateEnglishFrenchRussian
ECE/TRADE/437
Recommendation N° 42: Establishment of a Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM)
2017PDF- -
Previous version
ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2017/8/Rev.1
Recommendation N°. 42: Establishment of a Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM)
2017PDFPDFPDF

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