By Mahnaz Abdi

Private sector disapproving of trade law amendment bill

September 23, 2019

TEHRAN- On September 1, Iranian parliament (Majlis) approved a bill on amending the country’s trade law.

The amendment bill addressing 109 articles of the trade law has become a matter of concern for the private sector as this sector believes that approving it has been a hasty action.

During the monthly meeting of the board of representatives of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) on September 18, the representatives expressed their definite disagreement about the hasty approving of that bill and called on the parliament to omit this bill from its agenda.

Saying that this bill will bring losses for the country’s economy, the private sector’s representatives announced that they will make necessary correspondences to the related organizations for stopping the process of approving the amendments.

During that meeting, Masoud Khansari, the head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (TCCIMA), said: “Trade law is 85 years old and is a reference for all traders and business people in the country; therefore, changing it in a short time is not logical, while the viewpoints of economists, lawyers, political and social experts, especially businessmen and business owners are required for such measure.”

“It is unfortunate that in a hasty approach and within just a few hours such bill was approved. We definitely call on Majlis to stop more action on this bill, because amendments on such law in this way is not in the interest of the country”, he added.

 Ambiguities should be removed

Also in their recent meeting held at the place of ICCIMA, the heads of the country’s chambers of commerce announced their dissatisfaction over this bill and called on Majlis to stop following up it, as they believe that there are serious ambiguities and faults in it that removing them requires some more expert works.

During that session, ICCIMA Head Gholam-Hossein Shafei said that a letter signed by the heads of ICCIMA, Chamber of Cooperatives, and Association of Guilds, has been sent to the Majlis speaker and chief of Guardian Council (that must review and approve a bill after it has been approved by Majlis) indicating the private sector’s complaints about a hasty approach for approving such a sensitive and important bill.

Private sector believes that such bill should not become a law.

Reza Baradaran Esfahani, the vice chairman of the Legal Committee of ICCIMA, says that this bill becoming a law will endanger the safety and security of investment making.

 No amendment, a new law

While announcing the private sector’s disagreement with the amendment bill, Mohammad Jafari, the chairman of ICCIMA Committee of Trade Facilitation and Imports Management, is of the opinion that many parts of the bill are not amendments to the existing law, while they are aimed at enacting a new law.

And given the current condition of the country if the bill becomes a law, it will make the national economy facing more challenges, he says.

According to Jafari, the bill has been approved rapidly and in a short time and it is going to be sent to the Guardian Council in the near future, while it has many faults and weaknesses.

He complains that private sector has not been called on in the process of preparing and approving this bill with such a significance; so expert viewpoints of this sector has not been considered for it.

Proper approach for amendments required

While the private sector is dissatisfied with the hasty approving of the bill, it believes that some parts of the trade law are old not meeting some current requirements.

They agree that the law should be reviewed and amended, but as the business environment in the country has been working with this law for many years, for the amendments to be effective more transparency and precision is required while also the viewpoints of those successfully active in the private sector should be necessarily taken into account.

In this way the problems already existing in the business environment will be removed, while new problems will be avoided, otherwise, a new shock is anticipated for the country’s economy that will be really unpleasant for the business activities under the current condition when the country is confronting the sanctions.

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