Date: Sat, 3 Jul 1999 22:34:41 +0100
Sender: "African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List"
From: "Patrick O'Beirne" <pobeirne@SYSMOD.IE>
Subject: Y2K Trade Problems Loom For Poor Countries - UNCTAD
#: 23758 S3/Year2000 in the New [YEAR2000]
Sb: Customs Software
Fm: Harlan Smith/Assoc Sysop 71530,1637
Posted at 11:18 p.m. PDT Friday, June 25, 1999
Y2K Trade Problems Loom For Poor Countries - UNCTAD
3 July 1999
GENEVA (Reuters) - A "significant number" of developing countries face
severe trade disruption and a collapse of customs operations at year's end
because they are not ready to cope with the year 2000 problem, a U.N. agency
Jean Gurunlian, a senior official of the U.N. Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD), said trade could be interrupted for these countries for
weeks or "maybe months."
The text of his remarks, delivered Thursday to the World Customs Organization,
were released by the agency in Geneva Friday. Gurunlian is director of
UNCTAD's division for services infrastructure for development and trade
Of the 75 countries using ASYCUDA, UNCTAD's Automated System for Customs Data
and Management set up in the 1980s, some 35 to 40 are considered as having a
high-risk of being affected by the Y2K problem, due to non-compliant software,
according to UNCTAD officials. Another 20 countries are deemed to have other,
more minor problems.
UNCTAD had been trying to help countries to comply for two years, Gurunlian
"I will be very frank. Early versions of ASYCUDA are not 'millennium
compliant.' This means that countries using them will be unable to operate
their systems beyond 31 December, 1999," Gurunlian told the Brussels meeting.
"Even in some countries which are using millennium compliant versions of
ASYCUDA, problems with non-compliant proprietary software and hardware can
also result in a collapse of customs operations at the end of the year.
"The consequences of inaction in this regard cannot be exaggerated. There is
a very serious risk that international trade in a significant number of
developing countries will be severely disrupted for an unpredictable number of
weeks, maybe months," he added.
Gurunlian said that a "relatively modest amount" of money would be needed to
solve the most pressing problems. He urged the World Customs Organization to
set up a task force, adding that UNCTAD was ready to provide technical advice.