UNECE´s Development Solution

Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business

Program in a Nutshell

Created in 1996

20 activities carried out​


  • Policy Advice, Support and Formulation
  • Technical Assistance and Support
  • Capacity Building and Development


  • Denmark
  • Netherlands
  • Russian Federation
  • Swedish International
  • Development Cooperation Agency

Geographical scope​

Regional Economic Status

Partner : UNECE

Contact us

Yes! I want to learn more about how this program could help my business, organization, country or region.


By simplifying, standardizing and harmonizing trade-related procedures and information flows, this programme helps you better engage in cross-border trade and electronic business. The aim is to improve your country’s competitiveness and enhance your capacity to participate in global markets. This is achieved by building knowledge and offering you the tools to ease national and international transactions for sustainable growth.

  • Policy Advice, Support and Formulation

        • Use 40 policy recommendations for trade facilitation and 440 standards for e-business
        • Get help establishing and operating a National Single Window to simplify and improve export and import procedures
        • Analyse and simplify business processes to remove bottlenecks and enhance trade efficiency
        • Promote paperless trade transactions
  • Technical Assistance and Support

      • Implement electronic alternatives to key paper documents in the international supply chain
  • Capacity Building and Development

      • Benefit from advisory services and workshops to build the capacities of your trade facilitation institutions
  • UN/LOCODE: the reference in coding for trade and transport

    • UN/LOCODE is a code structure that makes trading simpler by attributing a unique five-character code to locations used in transport and trade, such as seaports, train stations, airports and road terminals. The system, developed in 1981, is used by most major shipping companies, freight forwarders and manufacturers. It is also applied by national governments.

    • > 100 000
      Unique UN/LOCODE entries
      Countries, territories and special areas covered
  • UN/EDIFACT: the international standard for exchanging trade data

    • UN/EDIFACT (Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport) was developed to facilitate the exchange of trade data between organizations with independent IT systems. It allows businesses or organizations, wherever they are, to quickly and securely exchange electronic documents such as purchase orders, cargo authorizations, etc. Today, UN/EDIFACT is used by almost all national customs administrations, all major seaports and a large range of companies.

    • > 90 %
      EDI messages exchanged globally use UN/EDIFACT
      > 7 million
      Messages exchanged annually in France’s agricultural supply chain
      > 100 000
      Companies use UN/EDIFACT in the retail sector
  • E-Business and E-Commerce standards for exchanging trade data

    • UN/CEFACT has developed a comprehensive e-business / e-commerce data exchange model based on a complete, holistic, global supply chain approach. This allows information which is exchanged electronically to be reused seamlessly from one stage of the transaction to the next. This is accompanied by business process analysis which allows to understand who performs what actions when. The information is also packaged into Reference Data Models around a specific sector such as transport and logistics or supply chain management, in order to facilitate uptake by the user community while remaining completely compatible with all other processes along the information exchange of a transaction.

    • > 150
      E-Commerce messages adaptable to XML
      and other technologies
  • Simplifying cross-border trade

    • The Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide (TFIG) is an interactive web-based tool that helps you build your knowledge and capacity to ease cross-border trade. Aimed at both the public and private sector, it helps you identify, examine and select possible paths and implementing tools for your policy objectives. Available in 5 languages, TFIG has proved to be very popular. Its website registered 290,000 unique visitors between 2012 and September 2015, and 1.9 million page views.

    • > 10.5 million
      Hits in 2016
  • Boosting sustainable fishery management

    • Fisheries Language for Universal Exchange (FLUX) is a unique communication tool that promotes sustainable fishery management. It allows Fishery Management Organizations (FMOs) to automate the collection and dissemination of fishery catch data. This enables them to plan more sustainable management processes and detect and combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Discover more about the FLUX project.

    • About 1 billion people, mainly in developing countries, rely on fish as their primary animal protein source. In 2010, fish provided more than 2.9 billion people with almost 20% of their intake of animal protein.
      Marine Stewardship Council
      (MSC, 2015)
Impact Stories
  • Greece: promoting economic recovery through trade

    • In 2012, the Greek government developed a national trade facilitation strategy to promote economic recovery. The initiative focused on simplifying export and import procedures and reducing time and cost. With support from the programme, Greece managed to analyse, simplify and automate its trade and customs processes.

    • > 25 %
      Improvement in time to export
      > 44 %
      Improvement in time to import
      > 10 %
      Reduction in cost to export
      > 11 %
      Reduction in cost to import
  • Ukraine: Enabling Environment for Trade Facilitation in Ukraine by implementing a Single Window

    • A Port Community System was established in Odessa and a national Interagency Working Group on Trade Facilitation and Logistics was created with support from the programme and based on relevant UNECE Policy Recommendations. Follow – up projects on Maritime Single Window and National Single Window in Ukraine were launched.

    • > US$ 185.5 million/year
      Estimated economic gains for business
      > 15 %
      Increase in volume of trade registered in the Reduction in cost to import
      > 85 %
      Reduction in time for clearing containers from 2014 to 2016 port
      > 11 %
      Reduction in cost to import
  • Morocco: reducing port waiting times through a National Single Window

    • With support from the programme, Morocco created a National Single Window for its foreign trade. The resulting solution, called PortNet, uses an integrated IT system to bring together all the stakeholders in the Moroccan port and foreign trade ecosystem. It has helped boost performance for operators while significantly reducing costs.

      PortNet: A tool to facilitate the complete integration of the foreign trade for importers and exporters.

    • 45 %
      Decrease in unloading times at Casablanca
      14 days
      Decrease in the time needed for clearance port
      35 %
      of containers leave the port in less than 5 days
      75 %
      of containers leave the port in less than 10 days
    • The fact that an importer knows exactly where his goods are and when they are going to be delivered makes trade much easier.
      Rachid Tahri
      Chairman of the Association of Freight Forwarders of Morocco
    • We have a physical port, but we also need an electronic port. This project is a key part of Morocco’s ambitions to be a hub in international commerce
      Aziz Rabbah
      Morocco’s Minister of Equipment, Transport and Logistics
ParliamentariansPolicy makersPoliticiansBusiness AssociationsCorporationsMSMEsSMEsResearchersTeachersDecision makersMiddle Managers