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Briefing note on the importance of Semantics within Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business for SDG 17

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Semantics, in the context of electronic data exchange, is the unambiguous meaning of each of the pieces of information to be shared between sender, receiver and any stakeholder who views or uses the information.

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has been basing much of its work over the past decades on its semantic standards – standards that describe the clear meaning of the information to be shared, whether it be in the business processes or in the electronic data exchange messages themselves. This paper aims to explain why UN/CEFACT deems this to be essential to its mission and to international trade in general.