Term definitions and its impact on accurate communication for Customs Practices at International level. The case in Colombia.

Juan Carlos Diaz Vasquez, Maria Alexandra Guerra Aranguren


This paper intends to perform a terminological analysis of the definitions set in the Decree 390, 2016 —Colombia’s customs regulations in force. These regulations were enacted by the Colombian government aiming at aligning with international conventions, including those referring to the simplification and harmonization of customs procedures at international trade. This terminological analysis is ground-ed upon theoretical bases for terminology management regarding concepts, terms and definitions. Meanwhile, the theoretical framework provides basic parameters in making definitions, which are used to assess the terms selected. Since customs procedures necessitate an accurate use of language in order to facilitate trade, the definitions appearing in regulatory documents should be developed with care. Thus, this terminological analysis highlights how terminology principles can help improve communications in highly specialized contexts and reduce ambiguity when interpreting regulatory documents. The analysis also aims to establish the extent to which the Colombian government’s efforts to modernize its customs procedures comply with international conventions. As a result of this analysis it is possible to identify some ambiguous definitions in Decree 390 that may lead to misinterpretations with the opposite effect of facilitating trade. It casts light also on the issue of the ever-changing technological advance and how the global language of technology should be also included in this new set of regulations for Colombian international trade practices.


international trade, terminology, customs regulations, trade facilitation, global language, definitions

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17533/udea.ikala.v24n03a08 Abstract : 108 PDF : 71

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