Islamabad, 2-Dec-2023 | agrinfobank team
In a recent development, the federal cabinet has given its nod to the formation of a specialized committee aimed at addressing import/export challenges and hearing appeals related to trade matters. The three-member committee, headed by the caretaker Minister for Commerce, is set to play a crucial role in condoning import/export restrictions on a one-time basis and overseeing appeals under section 27 of the Trade Organisations Act, 2013. This decision follows deliberations and considerations within the Cabinet Division.
The Ministry of Commerce brought attention to the legal framework governing trade appeals, citing section 21 of the Trade Organisations Act, 2013, which allows appeals against the orders of the Trade Organisations Regulator to be filed before the Federal Government. Additionally, sections 20 and 21 of the Import Policy Order (IPO) 2022, along with section 5 of the Export Policy Order (EPO) 2022, empower the Federal Government to condone import/export prohibitions on a one-time basis.
The background to this decision includes the impact of the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Mustafa Impex case (PLD 2016 SC 808), which clarified the definition and scope of the term “Federal Government.” Consequently, the Ministry of Commerce began forwarding even routine matters to the Federal Government for approval in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directives.
Recognizing the need for an interim arrangement, the previous Federal Cabinet constituted committees to handle specific statutory functions on behalf of the Federal Government. However, with the dissolution of the previous Federal Cabinet on August 9, 2023, these committees were dissolved.
In response to ongoing requests from importers/exporters and trade bodies seeking condonation under the relevant provisions of IPO and EPO, the Ministry of Commerce proposed the formation of a new committee. The Federal Cabinet has now officially approved the establishment of a Committee on Import/Export Matters and Trade Appeals. The committee, comprising the Minister for Commerce as the Convener, the Minister for Law and Justice, and the Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives as members, will be tasked with addressing import/export restrictions on a one-time basis and hearing appeals under section 27 of the Trade Organisations Act, 2013.
This development is anticipated to streamline the resolution of import/export-related issues and provide a structured platform for addressing appeals within the trade sector. The newly formed committee reflects the government’s commitment to fostering a transparent and efficient trade environment.