The world's largest retailers and manufacturers have moved a step closer to agreeing international standards for e-business Internet exchanges as part of an initiative to push down the costs of global supply chains.
The Global Commerce Initiative (GCI), which represents 40 major manufacturers and retailers worldwide, including Unilever, Tesco and Walmart, is attempting to develop the first internationally-agreed protocols for electronic trading.
The GCI has opted to use the message transportation and routing standards, developed by ebXML - an initiative to enable organisations of any size to trade using XML - into international standards for Internet exchanges.
"It will mean that manufacturers and retailers around the world will be using the same standards. Small suppliers will not have to use two or three different standards to talk to us and other manufactures," said Peter Jordan, director of European operations for Kraft Foods, one of the members of the GCI.
"It is clear to us that ebXML will soon become the standard for all global trade," he added.