The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Commerce Wednesday unanimously approved two bills-Trade Dispute Resolution Bill, 2022 and Trade Organization (Amendment) Bill 2022.
During the meeting, it was informed that due to the absence of a proper trade dispute resolution system, the ranking of Pakistan in the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Index of the World Bank was being adversely affected.
“For the first time in the history of the country, if the draft law is passed, exporters would be able to file claims or complaints in Pakistan against their foreign respondent, Secretary Commerce Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed told the meeting,” a press note issued from the Ministry of Commerce stated on Wednesday.
The meeting was chaired by Khursheed Ahmed Junejo and was attended by Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, MNAs Usman Ibrahim, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Muhammad Aslam Bhootani, Dr Ramesh Kumar, and Shaista Pervaiz.
The meeting was informed that Pakistan’s foreign trade is being expanded due to international trade liberalization under World Trade Organization (WTO), and also resulting in growth in the number of disputes. If the issue is not resolved efficiently, it can damage Pakistan economically as well as its image.
The Secretary informed that currently there is no law in Pakistan which settles the disputes of Pakistani exporters with their foreign buyers. The imports and exports Control Act 1950 addresses the disputes of foreing importers only with Pakistani exporters.
He said the arbitral award obtained in Pakistan would be enforceable in any member country who has ratified the UN Arbitration convention.
The committee was informed that the new law is swift, relatively inexpensive and expeditious. Further, the new ADR system contract enforcement position would improve the level of trust of foreign buyers of Pakistan.
Through the ADR system, the contract enforcement position would also improve, leading to the elevation of Pakistan’s WB EODB Index.
Further Pakistani exporters would also have a level playing field beside the country’s exports would also be promoted with the passing of the law.
The meeting was informed that unlike litigation, arbitration and mediation could be devolved to traders association and burden on the courts would be lessen.
The Draft TDR Bill also proposes independent five members Trade Dispute Resolution Commission (TDRC), appointed by a Chairman.
Discussing on the Trade Organization (Amendment) Bill, 2022, Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar said that with the approval of the Bill, the elections of chambers and other trade organizations would be held after every two years instead of one year.
He said this law would be applicable from January, 2023.