Glossary for Technical Readiness Assessment Guide

1 Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)

According to the World Customs Organization (WCO), “an authorized economic operator (AEO)” is a party involved in the international movement of goods in whatever function that has been approved by or on behalf of a national Customs administration as complying with WCO or equivalent supply chain security standards

Reference: The WCO framework of standards to secure and facilitate global trade (SAFE) -


2 Availability

“Availability” refers to a property of a system or a service that it is there and ready to carry out its task when you need it to be.

Availability is normally defined as the probability that the system/the service will be in an operable and committable state at the start of a mission when the mission is called for at a random time, and is generally defined as uptime divided by total time (uptime plus downtime), e.g. measured over observation periods of 90 days and one year.

For example, the availability of 99.9% in 90 days means the down-time of that system is not more than 2 hours 10 minutes in 90 days.

Reference: Len Bass, Paul Clements, Rick Kazman, Software Architecture in Practice (3rd Edition), 3rd Edition, Software Engineering Institute (1997).


3 Business continuity plan (BCP)

“A business continuity plan (BCP)” is a document that outlines how a business will continue operating during an unplanned disruption in service. It’s more comprehensive than a disaster recovery plan and contains contingencies for business processes, assets, human resources and business partners – every aspect of the business that might be affected.



4 Business continuity planning

“Business continuity planning” is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to an organization. In addition to prevention, the goal is to enable ongoing operations before and during execution of disaster recovery.

Reference: Elliot, D.; Swartz, E.; Herbane, B. (1999) Just waiting for the next big bang: business continuity planning in the UK finance sector. Journal of Applied Management Studies, Vol. 8, No, pp. 43–60, p. 48


5 Business process analysis (BPA)

“Business Process Analysis (BPA)” is a methodology for the analysis of a business with a view to understanding the processes and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations. It describes the processes involved, parties participating, information exchanged and documents produced.



6 Business process reengineering (BPR)

“Business Process Reengineering (BPR)” is a methodology and technique with which organizations radically change their business processes with the aim of becoming more efficient and more modern. The far-reaching measures that are taken after the decision to restructure a process not only concern about existing processes or just automation, but can also bring about radical changes in management style and corporate culture.

Reference: Hammer, M. and Champy, J., (2006), “Reengineering the company, a manifesto for business revolutions.” Harper Business.


7 Commercial transactions

“Commercial transactions” means transactions relating to the trade in goods between parties whose places of business are in different territories.

Reference: Framework Agreement on Facilitating of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (Article 3: Definitions).


8 Confidentiality

“Confidentiality” is the degree to which data has attributes that ensure that it is only accessible and interpretable by authorized users in a specific context of use.

Reference: ISO/IEO 25000 series of standards


9 Core Component Technical Specification (CCTS)

A cornerstone of the UN/CEFACT standardization activities, “the Core Components Technical Specification (CCTS)” defines a meta model and rules necessary for describing the structure and contents of conceptual and logical data models and information exchange models.

Major benefits of CCTS include improved reuse of existing data artifacts, improved enterprise interoperability, and consistency across vertical industry standards.



10 Cross-border electronic data exchange

“Cross-border electronic data exchange” in the context of trade facilitation is about exchange of trade-related data electronically across borders for better regulatory compliance and improved trade facilitation.



11 Cross-border paperless trade (CBPT)

“Cross-border paperless trade (CBPT)” means trade in goods, including their import, export, transit and related services, taking places on the basis of trade-related data and documents in electronic form.

Reference: Framework Agreement on Facilitating of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (Article 3: Definitions).


12 Data integrity

“Data integrity” is the maintenance of, and the assurance of the accuracy and consistency of data over its entire life-cycle, and is a critical aspect to the design, implementation and usage of any system which stores, processes, or retrieves data.

Reference: Boritz, J. "IS Practitioners' Views on Core Concepts of In-formation Integrity". International Journal of Accounting Information Systems. Elsevier. 2011.


13 Data harmonization

“Data harmonization” involves a set of activities that improve the consistency in the use of data elements in terms of their meaning and representation format.



14 Data message

“Data message” means information generated, sent, received or stored by electronic, magnetic, optical or similar means, including, but not limited to, electronic data interchange.

Reference: Framework Agreement on Facilitating of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (Article 3: Definitions).


15 Data standardization

An ultimate goal of “data standardization” in the context of trade facilitation is to define one standard set of data and messages to meet all information requirements related to import, export, and transit procedures.

Reference: UN/CEFACT recommendation No. 34: Guidelines on data simplification and standardization -


16 Dialogue Partners

“Dialogue Partners” are partner nations that have worked collaboratively to achieve some initiatives’ objectives.

Reference: ASEAN’s Strategy Towards Its Dialogue Partners,


17 Disaster recovery plan (DRP)

“A disaster recovery plan (DRP)” is a documented process or set of procedures to execute an organization's disaster recovery processes and recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. It is a comprehensive statement of consistent actions to be taken before, during and after a disaster.

Reference: Bill Abram. "5 Tips to Build an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan". Small Business Computing. June 2012.


18 Electronic communication

“Electronic communication” means any communication that the parties involved in trade make by means of data messages.

Reference: Framework Agreement on Facilitating of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (Article 3: Definitions).


19 Electronic data exchange

“Electronic data exchange” refers to the computer-to-computer exchange of business data in a standard electronic format between business partners. UNECE’s UN/EDIFACT is the main Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standard adopted throughout the world and used extensively in National Customs and International Shipping, amongst others.

Reference: ISO 9735-10:2014 - Electronic data interchange for administration, commerce and transport (EDIFACT).


20 Electronic documents

“An electronic document” or a digitized document is digital representation of content that is stored and managed electronically.

Reference: ISO 14641:2018 - Electronic document management — Design and operation of an information system for the preservation of electronic documents — Specifications


21 Electronic Certificates System (e-Certificates)

“An Electronic Certificate System (e-Certificates)” for exports is an authorized organization’s software application for issuing export certificates, e.g. certificate of origin (CO), phytosanitary and sanitary of certificates. Some of its key features and automation include electronic lodgment of applications, validation of submitted data, approval and certificate issuing services.

Some certain certificates need physical or laboratory testing processes prior to issuing the certificates. The e-Certificate System could electronic services to support the physical coordination and laboratory testing reports in conjunctions with other certificate is-suing functions.

“An Electronic Certificate System (e-Certificates)” for imports is an electronic system that enables an authority in the country of import to receive overseas regulatory certificates in a digital for-mat. This includes, for example, phytosanitary and sanitary certificates for food and agricultural imports.


22 Electronic Customs System (e-Customs)

“Electronic Customs System (e-Customs)” is an automated Customs administration system with several electronic supporting functions to efficiently facilitate and effectively regulate Customs-related procedures.

More specifically, key functions of the e-Customs system include: electronic lodgment of Customs declarations using online connections, the use of risk management software application to reduce Customs clearance times and less physical examination of shipments, the automated calculation and e-payment to facilitate col-lection of duties and taxes, and services to ensure the uniform application of laws and regulations.



23 Electronic Licenses System (e-Licenses)

“An Electronic License System (e-Licenses)” is a government department’s software application for issuing import or export related licenses. Some of its key features and automation include electronic lodgment of applications, validation of submitted data, approval and licenses issuing services.



24 Electronic payment system (e-Payment)

“An Electronic Payment System (e-Payment)” is an electronic funds transfer system with formal and standardized arrangements and common rules for the processing, clearing and/or settlement of payment transactions.

Reference: ISO 12812-1:2017 - Core banking — Mobile financial services — Part 1: General framework


25 Electronic Permits (e-Permits)

“An Electronic Permit System (e-Permits)” is a system that improves and automates all business processes related to import/export permit issuance, exchange, control and reporting.



26 Electronic Port System (e-Port)

“An Electronic Port System (e-Port), or a Port Community System (PCS)” is a neutral and open electronic platform enabling intelligent and secure exchange of information between public and private stakeholders in order to improve the competitive position of the sea and air ports’ communities.

e-Port optimizes, manages and automates port and logistics processes through a single submission of data and connecting transport and logistics chains.

e-Port handles electronic communication in ports between the private transport operators (shipping lines, agents, freight forwarders, stevedores, terminals, depots), the private hinterland (pre- and on-carriage by road, rail and inland waterways), the importers and ex-porters, the port authorities, Customs and other authorities.



27 Heterogeneous platforms/system

Heterogeneous platforms refer to a distributed computing system(s) which contains many different kinds of hardware and soft-ware working together in cooperative fashion




“Hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS)” is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It is used for secure communication over a computer network, and is widely used on the Internet. 

In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS) or, formerly, its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). The protocol is therefore also often referred to as HTTP over TLS,[3] or HTTP over SSL.

Reference: W3C – Secure


29 Integrate, interface, interoperate

Integration, interface, and interoperability are used often but easily misunderstood.

By definition, “integrate or integration” means to add, to mix, to combine and to unite. Integration refers to connecting software applications so that data from one system can be accessed by the other one.

On the other hand, the definition of “interface” means border, boundary line, a point where two systems, subjects or organizations meet and interact.

The term "interoperate or interoperability" describes the extent to which systems can exchange data and interpret it automatically.



30 Interoperability

“Interoperability” means the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged.

Reference: Framework Agreement on Facilitating of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (Article 3: Definitions).


31 International trade supply chain

“International supply chain” refers to the processes, parties and documents exchanged in the conduct of international trade.



32 Internet protocol (IP)

“The Internet Protocol (IP)” is the principal communications protocol in the Internet protocol suite for relaying datagrams across network boundaries. Its routing function enables internetworking, and essentially establishes the Internet.

Reference: ISO/IEC 14908-4:2012 - Information technology - Control network protocol - Part 4: IP communication


33 Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)

“Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)” is a routing technique in telecommunications networks that directs data from one node to the next based on short path labels rather than long network ad-dresses, thus avoiding complex lookups in a routing table and speeding traffic flows.

Reference: IETF MPLS Forwarding Compliance and Performance Requirements,


34 Mutual recognition

“Mutual recognition” means reciprocal recognition of the validity of trade-related data and documents in electronic form exchanged across borders between two or more countries.

Reference: Framework Agreement on Facilitating of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (Article 3: Definitions).


35 National Trade Facilitation Council (NTFC)

“National Trade Facilitation Council (NTFC)” is an inter-agency platform for institutional coordination and stakeholders' consultation with balanced private and public sector participation. They enable the planning and implementation of successful trade facilitation reforms.



36 Paperless trade

Paperless trade refers to the digitization of these information flows, including making available and enabling the exchange of trade-related data and documents electronically. Less formally, one can think of this as cross-border trade transactions using electronic data in lieu of paper-based documents.



37 Single guarantee

A core element of any transit system is a mechanism to “guarantee” the transit country that either (i) the goods will indeed leave the country without being put illegally on the market, or (ii) that the corresponding taxes and excises will be paid if ever evidence of the goods leaving the country cannot be produced. For centuries guarantee systems have been devised as an alternative to direct customs surveillance during the transit.



38 Single stop inspection / One-stop inspection

“Cross-department one-stop inspection” means the officers of the two (or more) authorities arrive at the same inspection site as scheduled, perform their own duties respectively after opening the boxes, and then jointly carry out inspections.



39 Single window

“Single window” means a facility that allows parties involved in a trade transaction to electronically lodge data and documents with a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements.

Reference: UNECE Recommendation and Guidelines on establishing a Single Window -


40 Trade-related data

“Trade-related data” means data contained in or transmitted in connection with a trade-related document.

Reference: Framework Agreement on Facilitating of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (Article 3: Definitions) -


41 Trade-related documents

“Trade-related documents” means documents, both commercial and regulatory, required in completing commercial transactions.

Reference: Framework Agreement on Facilitating of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (Article 3: Definitions).



“UN/EDIFACT (the United Nations rules for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport)” is a set of internationally agreed standards, directories, and guidelines for the electronic interchange of structured data, between independent computerized information systems.



43 Virtual private network (VPN)

“A virtual private network (VPN)” extends a private net-work across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network

Reference: ISO/IEC 18028-5:2006 - Information technology — Security techniques — IT network security — Part 5: Securing communications across networks using virtual private networks


44 World Customs Organization Data Model (WCO DM)

Developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO), “the WCO Data Model” is a set of carefully combined data requirements that are mutually supportive and which will be updated on a regular basis to meet the procedural and legal needs of cross-border regulatory agencies such as Customs, controlling export, import and transit transactions.