Alexandria, Va

Alexandria, Va., February 26, 2002 - Committed to driving cross-industry e-business standards interoperability, the ANSI Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 formed the Convergence and Outreach Task Group to enable collaboration with the multitude of industry groups and associations developing Extensible Markup Language (XML) specifications. Complementing this initiative, ASC X12 also reviewed a draft version of the XML design rules and initiated processes for developing, approving and maintaining XML standards during a dynamic meeting Feb. 3-8 in Seattle.

"ASC X12's initiatives to collaborate with global XML standards development organizations will ultimately help to harmonize parallel efforts to generate electronic data exchange solutions, reduce costs by encouraging cooperative cross-industry efforts, and extend the reach of business, any size, anywhere," said ASC X12 Chair David Barkley of Freddie Mac.

Leading the way for XML convergence and interoperability within and across industries, ASC X12 is reaching out to a diverse mix of organizations interested in working together to expedite development, harmonization and implementation of XML specifications. The Convergence and Outreach Task Group (COTG) will build on the feedback obtained from over 150 attendees who participated in ASC X12-hosted E-Business XML Cross-Industry Summits, which took place in August 2001 and January 2002. COTG Chair Karen Raper of LittleSys Inc. in Tulsa, Okla., reports that the group is off to a great start. Initial response to the initiative is strong, with several groups expressing interest in affiliating with ASC X12.

About ASC X12

The Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12, accredited by the American National Standards Institute and comprised of cross-industry representation, develops robust e-business exchange specifications and EDI standards that interact with a multitude of e-commerce technologies and serve as the premier tool for integrating electronic applications. Through standards setting and active participation in emerging and technically relevant initiatives, ASC X12 facilitates the effective exchange of electronic information. Propelling global e-business, ASC X12 serves as the entry point for the United States into the United Nations/Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (UN/EDIFACT), an international standard relating to the exchange of trade goods and services. To learn more about ASC X12, visit www.x12.org or call 703-837-6155.