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ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce Wednesday “scrapped” amendment on the commencement of tenure of elected office-bearers of Chambers, approved during the last Joint Sitting of Parliament through a Private Members Bill, tabled by Senator Salim Mandviwala.

Presided over by Khursheed Ahmed Junejo, the Committee approved an amendment to “The Trade Organization Act (amendment Bill), 2022 (Government Bill)” moved by Aslam Bothani MNA, to increase the tenure of office-bearers of FPCCI and other Chambers to two years (from one year), to be effective from January 1, 2023, which implies affectivity of amendment will be prospective.

The Committee has also approved other amendments which are of a procedural nature. Minister for Commerce, Syed Naveed Qamar and Secretary Commerce, Sualeh Ahmad Faruqui briefed the Committee members about objectives of proposed amendment and its benefits, as the Committee members were not clear on its effectiveness date.

Commerce Ministry stated that on October 11, 2022, Senator Salim Mandviwala presented a Private Member Bill with the scope to amend the Trade Organisations Act (TOA) 2013 in the joint session of the Parliament which was approved.

It was published in the official Gazette on November 2, 2022 and has now assumed the status of an Act. The Private Member Bill also addressed the tenure of the office-bearers of TOs (and is effective from January 1, 2022) but now the remaining changes have been proposed by the Government.

Trade Organisations (Amendment) Bill 2021 okayed by Senate body

The Committee also discussed and approved “The Trade Dispute Resolution, Bill 2022,” which has already been approved by the Cabinet Committee on disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) and the Federal Cabinet.

Commerce Ministry representative Umar Dad Afridi briefed the Committee that presently there is no law in Pakistan which settles the disputes of exporters. Imports & Exports (Control) Act, 1950 addresses the disputes of foreign importers with Pakistani exporters only. State prosecutes Pakistani exporter in favour of his/ her foreign buyer (section 5(8(1). Secondly, there is only one option under this law: dispute settlement that is under litigation.

He maintained that if the draft law is passed by the parliament, Pakistani exporters would be able to file their claims or complaints in the country against their foreign respondents. Arbitral Award obtained in Pakistan will be enforceable in any member countries (167) which has ratified UN Arbitration Convention.

Section 63 of the draft ADR Bill, once enacted, will repeal section 5 of I&E Control Act 1950, which deals with export trade dispute and will introduce ADR of a UN standard.

Dispute resolution options under new law are as follows: (i) negotiations; (ii) conciliation/ mediation; (iii) arbitration; (iv) determination; (v) suit in commercial bench of High Court; and (vi) right of appeal.

Besides other, the meeting was attended by Barrister Usman Ibrahim, Shaista Pervaiz, Shaza Fatima Khwaja, Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani and Aslam Bothani.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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