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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 

FOCUS ON BUSINESS:  1994 WORLD SUMMIT ON TRADE 

EFFICIENCY 

SEPTEMBER 7, 1994 

PUBLISHED BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS 

 

Focus on Business 

1994 World Summit on Trade Efficiency 

 

 

World Summit and the Information Superhighway 

 

Exciting business opportunities are likely to 

mushroom in markets around the world in the wake of 

the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and North 

American Free Trade Agreement trade liberalizations, 

but how can entrepreneurs of small and medium-sized 

businesses participate in the emerging new ventures?  

Can state-of-the-art technology and the information 

superhighway bring new opportunity as close as your 

computer keyboard?  Where can U.S. entrepreneurs go 

to network with key international public and private 

decision-makers with the power to influence 

marketing and information technology opportunities? 

 

These questions--and more--will be answered at the 

World Summit on Trade Efficiency in Columbus, Ohio, 

October 17-21, 1994.  It will focus on "trade 

efficiency"--the use of modern information 

technology to expand international trade.  Co-

sponsored by the UN Conference on Trade and 

Development (UNCTAD), the city of Columbus, and 

private sector business, this unique event will 

attract national Ministers of Trade and mayors, as 

well as 2,000 other public and private sector 

leaders from the around the world. 

 

The symposium will consist of four separate but 

interlinked parts: 

 

The UN International Symposium on Trade Efficiency, 

will bring together trade ministers and other senior 

officials from 187 UNCTAD member countries to 

discuss the application of new technology in 

international trade.  This meeting will review 

practical measures which can be taken in customs, 

business information, trade procedures, 

banking/insurance, transport, and telecommunications 

to facilitate world trade. 

 

At the Global Summit for Mayors, 300 mayors from 

around the world will examine the new local 

government/private sector partnership for 

development.  Hosted by Columbus Mayor Gregory 

Lashutka, key topics will include municipal 

infrastructure for trade, cities and global 

competition, and the impact of international trade 

and electronic commerce on urban employment. 

 

The Global Executive Trade Summit will concentrate 

on CEOs from small and medium-sized businesses in 

assessing opportunities and requirements for global 

trade and building strategic advantages in a world 

of networks.  This summit will feature a variety of 

distinguished speakers and panels on such topics as 

global competition and the information revolution, 

global trade alliances for small and medium-sized 

companies, global payments systems, and 

restructuring business around trade efficiency.  

Parallel to the summit will be regional focus 

sessions on business strategies for Europe, Africa, 

Asia, Western Hemisphere, and the Middle East. 

 

The World Trade Efficiency and Technology Exhibition 

will demonstrate a wide spectrum of technologies and 

applications for trade produced by many countries.  

The emphasis will be on education, with "hands-on" 

opportunities to try out a variety of electronic 

commercial solutions for trade efficiency.  More 

than 150 prominent exhibitors--including the 

European Union and major multinational corporations-

-will attend.   

 

The Global Executive Trade Summit and World Trade 

Efficiency and Tech-nology Exhibition are open to 

CEOs and other senior executives from the business 

community.  In addition, special plenary luncheons 

and receptions, open to all participants, will offer 

an opportunity for entrepreneurs to network with 

other key public and private sector leaders 

attending this unprecedented worldwide symposium. 

 

Pioneering Project in Trade Efficiency 

 

The symposium is linked to an innovative UNCTAD 

program designed to lower the costs of conducting 

international trade and to ease entry by small and 

medium-sized businesses into global commerce by 

providing access to resources and information that 

previously may have been unavailable to them.  Trade 

efficiency will lower the cost of international 

trade deals by 10%--a savings of $100 billion each 

year in transaction costs.  This far exceeds the 

cost savings from more conventional tariff and non-

tariff reductions. 

 

What Is a "Trade Point"? 

 

The new UNCTAD program uses Electronic Data 

Interchange (EDI) and other technologies to 

establish a network of Trade Points around the 

globe.  These Trade Points provide electronic access 

to representatives of all the participants needed to 

engage in a trade transaction--from customs to 

freight forwarders, bankers, insurers, and 

transportation companies.  Through the network, 

companies can identify and compete in new markets 

for their products, source components, and raw 

materials, and advertise their goods electronically 

in a multi-media catalog. 

 

In February 1992, UNCTAD authorized the 

establishment of a pilot program of 16 Trade Points.  

In August 1992, Columbus, Ohio, was designated as 

the site of the North American Trade Point (NATP).  

Today, there are 46 Trade Points on five continents, 

and UNCTAD estimates that the Global Trade Point 

network could number in the hundreds by the end of 

1995.  The global network will be launched 

officially at the World Summit on Trade Efficiency 

and will be demonstrated at the Technology 

Exhibition. 

 

Technology Simplifies Trade 

 

Rather than search for new solutions or invent new 

technology, the Trade Point Network integrates 

existing resources.  It uses information technology 

employing the UN Electronic Data Interchange for 

Administration, Commerce, and Transport (EDIFACT) 

standards, which allow the computers of domestic and 

international trading partners to communicate using 

a standard document format. 

 

The UN estimates that a normal maritime carrier 

arrives at a port with nearly 500 lbs. of paper 

relating to the cargo.  EDI automates and simplifies 

the complex paperwork process currently required to 

conduct international trade.  More than 20,000 U.S. 

businesses currently use EDI. 

 

High-tech countries, such as the United States, 

primarily will provide their services on-line over 

computer networks and through existing trade 

assistance organizations.  But the Trade Point 

global network also will benefit developing 

countries--those who currently have limited access 

to information services and technology.  These 

countries will establish multiple Trade Points 

within their borders to offer "walk-in" access to 

international markets.  For example, Colombia's 

pilot program was so successful, that its leaders 

plan to open dozens of Trade Points, one in every 

important city in the country. 

 

UNCTAD officials believe that the Global Trade Point 

Network creates a level playing field by allowing 

companies, which traditionally would not have the 

financial and human resources to engage in 

international trade, to do so--inexpensively and 

efficiently.   Pilot centers initially were 

established in Bangkok, Thailand; Tunis, Tunisia; 

Cartagena, Colombia; and Columbus, Ohio.  Currently, 

about 60 countries--primarily in the developing 

world--are in the process of establishing Trade 

Points.  The summit will discuss ways in which Trade 

Points and other new information and technology 

mediums can help smaller firms tap business 

opportunities more efficiently in the expanding 

global marketplace. 

 

U.S. Delegation 

 

Commerce Secretary Ron Brown will lead the official 

U.S. delegation to the UN conference.  As host Trade 

Minister, Secretary Brown will make welcoming 

remarks during the opening plenary of the event.  

Noting the great significance of this event for the 

U.S. business community, he said:  "By bringing 

trade efficiency to the doorstep of all nations, 

large and small, the symposium will open new avenues 

for commerce and development." 

 

Other key speakers at the summit will include U.S. 

Customs Commissioner George Weise, UN Secretary 

General Boutros Boutros Ghali, and a variety of 

senior-level public and private sector leaders from 

around the world.  Key U.S. Government sponsors of 

the summit include the State Department, U.S. Agency 

for International Development, Small Business 

Administration, and Export-Import Bank. 

 

Columbus:  Crossroads of Trade 

 

Columbus, Ohio, was selected as the international 

conference site because of its prominence as a locus 

of some of the largest data bases, software 

companies, and computer networks in the world.  The 

city, in the words of Mayor Lashutka, "is becoming 

America's premier inland port city for international 

trade.  Mayors will want to see how we have combined 

our physical and electronic resources to become a 

key distribution point for goods and services in 

North America." 

 

Further Information 

 

As trade barriers fall and the use of electronic 

commerce grows, this event will be of special 

importance to CEOs and other senior business 

executives.  For further information, including 

registration costs for the private sector portion of 

the event, companies in the U.S. and elsewhere in 

the Western Hemisphere should contact: 

 

     Bannister & Associates 

     Tel:  614-895-1355 

     Fax:  614-895-3466 

 

Companies with operations or affiliates overseas may 

contact: 

 

     Touchstone Exhibitions  

          & Conferences Ltd. (London) 

     Tel:  44 (0) 332 0044 

     Fax:  44 (0) 81 332 0874.   

 

 

Global Trade Point Network 



Algeria:  Algiers 

Argentina:  Santa Fe 

Bolivia:  Cochabamba 

Brazil:  Campinas, Florianapolis, Porto Alegre,  

         Brasilia 

Cape Verde:  Praia 

Chile:  Santiago 

China:  Shanghai 

Colombia:  Bogota, Cartagena 

Cote d'Ivoire:  Abidjan 

Ecuador:  Guayaquil 

Egypt:  Cairo 

Estonia:  Tallinn 

Finland:  Helsinki 

France:  Grenoble, Lille, Marseille 

Gabon:  Libreville 

Germany:  Rostock 

Hungary:  Budapest 

India:  New Delhi 

Indonesia:  two Trade Points 

Kenya:  Nairobi 

South Korea:  Seoul 

Mauritania:  Nouakchott 

Morocco:  Casablanca 

Mozambique:  Maputo 

Philippines:  Manila 

Portugal:  Lisbon, Porto 

Russia:  Moscow 

Sao Tome and Principe:  Sao Tome 

Senegal:  Dakar 

Singapore:  Singapore 

Switzerland:  Lausanne 

Tanzania:  Dar es Salaam 

Thailand:  Bangkok 

Tunisia:  Tunis 

Ukraine:  Kiev 

United Kingdom:  London 

United States:  Columbus, Ohio 

Zambia:  Lusaka  

 

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