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TDRO draft to be tabled in parliament this year

TDRO draft to be tabled in parliament this year

ISLAMABAD: The government will introduce a draft law in parliament this year to provide administrative and adjudicating powers to the Trade Dispute Resolu­tion Organisation (TDRO) for effective resolution of international import and export complaints and disputes, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan announced on Wednesday.

Speaking at a seminar on public-private dialogue on the draft, Dastgir said the new law would bridge the trust deficit between local and foreign businessmen, and would have linkages with the international trade dispute resolution organisations and departments.

Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Jean-Francois Cautain, senior lawyers, and representatives of chambers and trade associations were also present.

The mandate for resolution of international trade disputes was previously with the Export Promotion Bureau, now the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP). The fact that TDAP is a trade promotion organisation whereas disputes are purely of legal nature called for an effective and efficient mechanism for resolution of international trade disputes.

The minister said a regime that could efficiently investigate and resolve trade disputes was necessary to promote trade, protect trading interests and improve Pakistan’s standing internationally.

“We expect the new regime to be protected from delays, obstruction and inefficiencies that have become prevalent in existing multifaceted dispute resolution mechanisms,” he remarked.

Mr Dastgir said that the Ministry of Commerce had brought several structural and regulatory changes to help boost trade and cut the number of disputes.

The Act establishes a functionally autonomous body called the TDRO, which would have far-reaching and effective powers to help businesses resolve trade disputes.

According to the draft law, the Trade Dispute Resolu­tion Organisation will be empowered to investigate and adjudicate upon disputes, or to allocate them 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 case of delays or obstruction.

The organisation will also 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, to develop and promote international standards and best practices in international trade.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2016

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