Ministry of Commerce will introduce draft of Trade Dispute Resolution Organization in Parliament this year

Islamabad, February 10, 2016 (PPI-OT): The Ministry of Commerce will introduce the draft of Trade Dispute Resolution Organization (TDRO) in the Parliament this year. The proposed Law is designed to introduce into Pakistan a state-of-the-art, comprehensive regime for the swift, efficient and effective resolution of international import and export complaints and disputes.

This was stated by the Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan in a seminar on Public Private Dialogue on Draft Law of Trade Dispute Resolution Organization (TDRO). The seminar was attended by Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan H. E. Jean-Francois Cautain, senior lawyers, representatives of Chambers and trade associations.

Speaking at the occasion, the Minster for Commerce said that the new Law will provide administrative and adjudicating powers to TDRO to take swift actions for resolution of international trade disputes. He said that the new Law will bridge the trust deficit between local and foreign businessmen and will have linkages with the international trade dispute resolution organizations and departments.

The mandate for resolution of trade disputes of international nature was previously with Export Promotion Bureau now Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP). TDAP is a trade promotion organization whereas disputes are purely of legal nature and there was a dire need for an effective and efficient mechanism for resolution of international trade disputes.

The seminar was informed that consultations with Pakistan’s missions abroad were held for trade dispute resolution system overseas. Extensive consultations were held with 500 public and private organizations which include trade bodies, think tanks, ministries, lawyers, arbitrators and mediators for feedback on efficacy of current system and suggestions for revamping it under the new Trade Dispute Act.

The Minister said that it is essential for the promotion of trade in Pakistan, for the protection of all trading interests, and for the improvement of Pakistan’s standing internationally, that there should be a regime for the swift, efficient and effective investigation and resolution of trade disputes.

He said that it is expected to build an efficient, speedy and impartial dispute resolution system which is essential for building up an equitable, effective and predictable trade and investment regime. We expect it to be protected from the delays, obstruction and inefficiencies that have become prevalent in existing multifaceted dispute resolution mechanisms.

Mr. Dastagir said that the Ministry of Commerce has brought several structural and regulatory changes for trade facilitation which will give boost to trade. Series of trade facilitation initiatives introduced by the Ministry of Commerce will ensure that fewer trade disputes arises and trade activities conducted smoothly without any unwanted delays and hiccups.

The Act establishes a functionally autonomous body called the Trade Dispute Resolution Organisation which will provide a point of contact and resource for businesses with trade disputes, and have available to it far-reaching and effective powers.

To investigate and adjudicate upon disputes and complaints referred to it, or to allocate any dispute or complaint to one of a number of separate tracks, each of which brings to Pakistan the latest internationally accepted standards, including:

Conciliation (centrally and using Regional Stakeholder Committees);

Early neutral evaluation;

Arbitration;

Resolution by a new Commercial Court, applying a specially streamlined modern procedure;

Resolution by the new Singapore International Commercial Court;

To monitor all these options for dispute resolution, and intervene where necessary e.g. in the event of delays or obstruction;

To provide a range of other assistance to importers and exporters, both in Pakistan and abroad, and co-ordinate with other agencies here and abroad (including Pakistan foreign embassies and missions);

To provide services for capacity-building, training and consultation, for the development and promotion of international standards and best practices in international trade.

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Haji Ahmed Malik
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