Technically a minor revision to UBL 2.0 (because the new 2.1 schemas are backward-compatible with all UBL 2.0 documents), UBL 2.1 extends the functionality of UBL 2.0 by increasing the number of defined XML document types from 31 to 65. In addition to the generic supply chain and procurement processes defined in UBL 2.0 (Catalogue, Quotation, Ordering, Fulfilment, Billing, Payment, Statement, Transport Services, and Certificate of Origin), UBL 2.1 adds support for eTendering, Vendor Managed Inventory, Intermodal Freight Management, Utility Billing, and Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, and Replenishment. It also adds two supplementary document types, Document Status and Document Status Request.

As in previous versions of UBL, all the XML data constructs in a UBL 2.1 schema are drawn from a single library of reusable components in conformance with the UN/CEFACT ebXML Core Components Technical Specification (CCTS) Version 2.01. This ensures a high degree of semantic alignment among the various parts of the UBL specification, and the assembly of schemas from a common XML element base facilitates code reuse in processing applications.

Aside from adding new document types and areas of functionality, UBL 2.1 also implements a number of improvements across the entire data library. The financial information capabilities of UBL have been enhanced in the areas of financial accounting, payment mandates, trade financing, currency handling, and payments reconciliation in order to support downstream processing of invoices within financial services and enable Straight Through Processing (STP) and paperless trading along the entire financial supply chain. Legal information capabilities have been enhanced through the enrichment of the Party structure to support advanced procurement and global usage, particularly with the inclusion of Power of Attorney and provisions for single and multiple service providers using business models such as outsourcing, application service provision, and virtual services via cloud computing. Semantics and data structures for tax information have been aligned with the OASIS Indirect Tax Reference Model Version 2.0 produced by the OASIS Tax-XML TC. Optional support for XAdES (required in the European Union) and other advanced digital signature schemes based on XML DSig is now bundled into the distribution by default, as are current versions of virtually all internationally recognized EDI code lists.

On the technical side, the transition to a two-phase model of data verification begun in UBL 2.0 is now complete, enabling total flexibility in the application of code lists within the standard structure. And the several thousand data definitions in the UBL library have been thoroughly revised using an approach designed to aid the user attempting to understand the semantics of UBL business entities. As an aid to implementers, UML and ASN.1 representations of the UBL information entities are provided in separate OASIS Committee Notes accompanying the UBL 2.1 release.

By maintaining complete backward compatibility with all UBL installations since 2006, UBL 2.1 adds these technical refinements and new functionalities without disturbing its extensive and rapidly growing application base.

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