With UBL a global e-document standard is within reach [Opinion]

In this Tradeshift blog, Tim McGrath discusses how there is an opportunity to standardise on open data for trade based on UBL, OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL). The recent announcement of the European Commission to allow reference to UBL for public procurement complements it’s earlier approval as a draft international Standard by ISO-IEC JTC1. Together, these moves will encourage more traction to the point where UBL will become the open data standard for trade, says Tim Mc Grath.

He compares it with international freight: “Imagine if international freight did not use open standards: no international trade law, no common terminal (road, rail, port) facilities, no common road dimensions or rail gauges. We’d have dedicated and bespoke trucks and trains, and a variety of different sizes and types of boxes, pallets and containers and equipment to move them. In other words, a complete mess. It may have taken a few centuries of evolution, but the international freight industry demonstrates that open standards make doing business easier for all players.

He ends its piece with: “Openness of trade data is inevitable (the alternatives are not sustainable in the long term) and with UBL this is now within our sights. With this we can realize the equivalent benefits for information exchange that containerization brought to freight exchange.”

What do you think, is UBL the path to open international e-business?

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