The Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML), a joint effort of the United Nation/CEFACT and OASIS, attracted the participation of major industry standards organizations and companies from around the world at its inaugural meeting in San Jose, CA, USA. ebXML is an open, vendor-neutral initiative to establish a global technical and semantic framework that will enable XML to be used in a consistent manner for the exchange of electronic business data. More than 120 representatives from organizations as varied as ACORD, Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12, Commerce One, DataChannel, DISA, UN/EDIFACT, IBM, OAG, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Inc. and others joined together to launch the ebXML initiative. Directors of ebXML include Klaus-Dieter Naujok and Ray Walker of UN/CEFACT and Robert S. Sutor and Bill Smith of OASIS. The Advisory Board includes Jon Bosak of Sun Microsystems, co-author of the XML 1.0 specification, and is being expanded to include key industry players from around the world. Laura Walker, executive director of OASIS, will serve as secretary of the board. ebXML is an International Initiative established by UN/CEFACT and OASIS with a mandate to undertake a 15-18 month program of work to research and identify the technical basis upon which the global implementation of XML can be standardized. The goal is to provide an open technical specification to enable XML to be utilized in a consistent and uniform manner for the exchange of electronic business data in application-to-application, application-to-person and person-to-application environments. UN/CEFACT is the United Nations body whose mandate covers worldwide policy and technical development in the area of trade facilitation and electronic business. Headquartered in Geneva, it has developed and promoted many tools for the facilitation of global business processes including UN/EDIFACT, the international EDI standard. Its current work programme includes such topics as Simpl-edi and Object Oriented EDI and it strongly supports the development and implementation of open, interoperable global standards and specifications for electronic business. www.ebxml.org, www.uncefact.org, www.oasis-open.org

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