III.B International standards, guidelines and recommendations

III.B.1 Which standards, regulations or guidelines are in use for the cross-border exchange of trade-related electronic communications?

A country may have the possibility or the obligation under a trade agreement to use international technical standards for carrying out import, export, or transit formalities and procedures in electronic form. Article 10.3 of the WTO TFA is an example of such agreement. The use of international standards promotes cross-border interoperability and, ultimately, the seamless flow of data.

10.3. Use of international standards

3. Members are encouraged to use relevant international standards or parts thereof as a basis for their import, export, or transit formalities and procedures, except as otherwise provided for in this Agreement.

Also, see Article 9 of the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (FA-PT).

9. International standards for exchange of trade-related data and documents in electronic form

1. The Parties shall endeavour to apply international standards and guidelines in order to ensure interoperability in paperless trade and to develop safe, secure and reliable means of communication for the exchange of data.

2. The Parties shall endeavour to become involved in the development of international standards and best practices related to cross-border paperless trade.

These international standards are produced by international organizations such as the UNECE, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the WTO, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

Some standards may be regional, for example, those prepared by the APEC. One example of such standards is the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade. These standards relate often to technical matters and to business processes; they may however also have legal implications.