Wednesday, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce passed two proposals unanimously: the Trade Dispute Resolution Bill 2022 and the Trade Organisation (Amendment) Bill 2022.
During its discussion, the committee was informed that Pakistan’s standing on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Index was suffering due to the lack of a proper trade dispute resolution process.
Exporters would be able to submit claims and complaints against their international clients in Pakistan for the first time in the country’s history, according to Commerce Secretary Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed.
Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar stated that with the passage of the Trade Organisation (Amendment) Bill 2022, the election of chambers and other trade organisations would be place every two years instead of annually. “The law will take effect in January 2023,” he stated.
It was noted that Pakistan’s overseas trade was increasing due to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) deregulation of international trade, but that the number of disputes was also rising. If the matter is not resolved effectively, it could damage Pakistan’s reputation and threaten the national economy.
The secretary informed the meeting that there is currently no law capable of resolving conflicts between Pakistani exporters and their international buyers.
“The Import and Export Control Act of 1950 exclusively covers conflicts between foreign importers and Pakistani exporters,” he noted, adding that arbitral awards issued in Pakistan are now enforceable in any nation that has accepted the United Nations Arbitration Convention.
In addition, the committee was advised that the new law was expedient and cost-effective. The alternative dispute settlement method will increase the confidence of international customers in Pakistan. In addition, contract enforcement will increase, resulting in a higher ranking for Pakistan on the EODB Index.