Amend­ments to trade dis­pute bill pro­posed

Enterprise - - National news -

The Na­tional Assem­bly Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Com­merce and Tex­tile has pro­posed amend­ments to the draft bill of Trade Dis­pute Set­tle­ment Act (TDSA) 2018.

The pro­posed act aims at pro­vid­ing swift and ef­fec­tive res­o­lu­tion of dis­putes re­lat­ing to ex­ports as well as im­ports.

The stand­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing, chaired by Si­raj Muham­mad Khan, was given a brief­ing by Ad­di­tional Sec­re­tary Com­merce Di­vi­sion Javed Bhatti on the con­sti­tu­tion of a com­mis­sion un­der the TDSA.

The com­mit­tee re­jected Com­merce Di­vi­sion’s pro­posal of a re­tired judge head­ing the com­mis­sion. It was sug­gested that the com­mis­sion can be led by any per­son who has a Grad­u­ate De­gree in­stead of a Mas­ters. The pro­posed com­mis­sion will com­prise of five mem­bers and will be led by the com­mit­tee chair­man.

Un­der the act, a Trade Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion Com­mis­sion will be es­tab­lished with its head­quar­ters at Is­lam­abad and re­gional of­fices at provin­cial cap­i­tals in­clud­ing Azad Jammu and Kash­mir. How­ever, the de­tailed rules are un­der prepa­ra­tion.

Mr Bhatti said dis­pute res­o­lu­tion will help pro­mote in­ter­na­tional trade in Pak­istan by align­ing trade gov­er­nance with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices un­der the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion and United Na­tions Com­mis­sion on In­ter­na­tional Trade Law (UNCITRAL) mod­els.

Dis­pute res­o­lu­tion in­cludes ne­go­ti­a­tions, con­cil­i­a­tion, ar­bi­tra­tion, de­ter­mi­na­tions, al­ter­na­tive dis­pute res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nism and re­fer­ral of dis­putes to com­mer­cial benches.

The com­mit­tee sug­gested that rules should be framed keep­ing in view ex­pe­di­tious dis­pute res­o­lu­tion.

DG IPO Ir­fan Tarar ap­prised the com­mit­tee that the In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Or­gan­i­sa­tion (IPO), in com­pli­ance with Com­mit­tee’s di­rec­tions, is in co­or­di­na­tion with the con­cerned quar­ters to es­tab­lish its Re­gional Of­fices at Pe­shawar and Quetta.

He said draft IPO Rules are un­der re­view at the Es­tab­lish­ment and Fi­nance Di­vi­sions and may take an­other four months to fi­nalise.

For com­plaint res­o­lu­tion, IPO has es­tab­lished Anti-Piracy and Anti-Coun­ter­feit­ing Cells at Is­lam­abad, La­hore and Karachi.

IPO is ac­tively co­or­di­nat­ing with the IP tri­bunals in Is­lam­abad, Karachi and La­hore for timely dis­posal of In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty cases, the body was in­formed.

The com­mit­tee urged IPO to fi­nalise the rules at the ear­li­est.

The com­mit­tee also con­sid­ered a pe­ti­tion filed by Royal Group for pro­mo­tion of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal ex­ports to non­tra­di­tional mar­kets. The pharma in­dus­try plays a vi­tal role in man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor by gen­er­at­ing em­ploy­ment and at­tract­ing in­vest­ment.

De­spite a de­clin­ing trend in the over­all ex­ports, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal ex­ports reg­is­tered an in­crease of 26pc over the last 5 years from $169.6mil­lion (2012-13) to $213m (2016-17). The pe­ti­tioner in­vited the com­mit­tee’s at­ten­tion to­wards the non-pay­ment of cus­toms re­bate for the last five years. Sim­i­larly, pay­ment of sales tax re­fund is pend­ing for the last 3 years, the NA body was in­formed.

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