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TRADACOMS stands for " TRAding DAta COMmunicationS ."  It is considered to be the primary standard for trade using EDI in the United Kingdom.   TRADACOMS is administered by the Article Numbering Association.


The TRADACOMS standard refers to the EDI documents exchanged as Files. File structures are made up of messages.  Message structures are made up of segments and loops (called also segment groups).  TRADACOMS data within a message must appear in the order presented in the message structure definition.

TRADACOMS data is transmitted in packages called interchanges. The different enveloping segments of a TRADACOMS interchange are:

Here are the rules for usage:

  • The STX is mandatory (so is the corresponding END). It contains information which is used to transfer the data to a particular trading partner.
  • The BAT is optional (so is the corresponding EOB). The use BAT and EOB segments is for application needs and is very rare.
  • Every message must be bounded by an MHD and an MTR.

Data Separators

Similar to EDIFACT, the TRADACOMS separator characters are:

segment terminator ' (apostrophe)
element separator + (plus)
component element separator : (colon)
segment code separator = (equal sign)
release character ? (question mark)
decimal mark . (period/full stop)


TRADACOMS releases new versions of messages, segments, and elements periodically and versions are mentioned at the message level. A TRADACOMS file may be composed of several messages which are at different versions.

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