Trade Dispute Resolution Act, to promote int’l trade with Pakistan: NA body

Muhammad Arshad

Islamabad

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile, Monday, discussed the draft Trade Dispute Resolution Act, 2018 aimed at providing swift and effective resolution of disputes relating to the Export as well as Import.
Committee met here with Siraj Muhammad Khan in the chair and observed that the Act would help in promoting international trade in Pakistan by aligning trade governance with international best practices (WTO & United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) models). Proposed means, for dispute resolution, include negotiations, conciliation, arbitration, determinations, alternative dispute resolution mechanism and referral of disputes to commercial benches.
Under this Act, Trade Dispute Resolution Commission will be established with its Headquarters at Islamabad and Regional Offices at Provincial Capitals including AJK. However, the detailed rules are under preparation. The Committee desired that the rules should be framed keeping in view expeditious resolution of the disputes.
The Committee was apprised that Intellectual Property Organization (IPO), in compliance with Committee’s directions, is in coordination with the concerned quarters to establish its Regional Offices at Peshawar and Quetta. Draft IPO Rules are under review at Establishment and Finance Divisions.
For complaint resolution, IPO has established Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting Cells at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. IPO is actively coordinating with IP tribunals, Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore for timely disposal of IP cases. The Committee desired IPO finalize its rules at the earliest.
The Committee considered the petition, filed by Royal Group, for promotion of the pharmaceutical exports to non-traditional markets. Pharmaceutical sector plays a vital role in manufacturing sector by generating employment and attracting investment.
Despite a declining trend in the overall exports, the pharmaceutical export has registered an increase of 26% over the last 5 years from $ 169.6 million (2012-13) to $ 213 million (2016-17). They invited attention of the Committee towards nonpayment of customs rebate for the last 5 years and pending payment of sales tax refunds for last three years.

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