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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has constituted a three-member Ministerial Committee to resolve cases to condone import/export related prohibitions and restrictions on a one-time basis and for hearing of appeals under Section 21 of the Trade Organizations Act, 2013, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The cabinet was informed that under Section 21 of the Trade Organisations Act (TAO), 2013, appeals against an order of the “Regulator” of Trade Organisations are filed before the federal government. Similarly, paras 20 and 21 of the Import Policy Order (IPO) 2022 and para 5 of the Export Policy Order (EPO) 2022, empower the federal government to condone import/export related prohibitions and restrictions on one-time basis.

Sharing the details, sources said, on March 20, 2024, federal cabinet was informed that prior to Supreme Court’s judgment in the Mustafa Impex Case (PLD 2016 SC 808), with respect to the definition and scope of the expression “Federal Government”, the powers of the federal government were exercised by the Ministry of Commerce. However, in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court in the abovementioned judgment, Ministry of Commerce had started sending summaries of routine matter to the federal government for approval.

Ministry of Commerce stated that it frequently received requests from importers/ exporters for condonation under the relevant paras of IPO and EPO, and appeals from trade bodies against the decisions of the DGTO.

Details of pending appeals under TOA, 2013 and requests received from business community for one-time exemption/condonation under EPO/IPO were also shared.

During the ensuing discussion, Minister for Law, Azam Nazir Tarar noted that under the exercise for definition and scope of the expression “Federal Government”, and replacement of the same with “appropriate authorities”, 61 laws were being amended to address the implications of the Mustafa Impex case; and that once the exercise was complete, such cases shall be resolved at the ministry’s level.

Commerce ministry requested the federal cabinet for constitution of a committee for considering the cases to condone import/export related prohibitions and restrictions on a one-time basis and for hearing of appeals under Section 21 of the Trade Organisations Act, 2013, with the Commerce minister as the convener and any other federal ministers, as deemed appropriate.

After discussion, the cabinet approved Commerce ministry’s proposal along with the following composition: (i) Minister for Commerce (Convener);(ii) Minister for Law and Justice (Member) ; and ( iii) Minister for Industries and Production (Member).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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