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Draft law allows foreigners to form joint trade bodies


Published : 24 Jan 2022 10:19 PM | Updated : 25 Jan 2022 02:08 PM

Foreign traders are going to get the opportunity of forming joint-trade bodies in Bangladesh.

The government has taken an initiative to enact a fresh ‘Trade Organizations Act’ that will provide the opportunity for foreign traders. 

A provision creating the opportunity for the formation of women’s chambers in all districts of the country has also been kept in the proposed fresh law.

The ‘Trade Organizations Bill, 2022’, which would replace the ‘Trade Organizations Ordinance, 1961’ has already been placed the Parliament.

 Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi placed the Bill in the House on Sunday. The Bill was sent to the respective parliamentary standing committee for further scrutiny. The parliamentary watchdog was asked to submit its report within 30 days.

According to the proposed law, foreign traders will be able to form a joint chamber in the country. The women entrepreneurs can form a separate chamber in all the districts. 

  Now there are women’s chambers in 34 districts in the country.

After the Cabinet’s approval, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam had said that the Commerce Ministry had been trying for the last two or three years to repeal the Trade Organisations Ordinance, 1961 and came up with the Trade Organisations Act, 2022.

The fresh bill provides a legal basis for women entrepreneurs to become members of trade organizations with licensing. 

An official of the commerce ministry said that there are separate chambers for women. Although the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and the Metropolitan Chamber are now existing, a separate chamber for the true women entrepreneurs has been proposed in the draft. 

The women folks can be members of the mainstream chamber, but the distinctive chambers should bring together the women entrepreneurs. 

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The provision has been made for a joint chamber of commerce and industry and a chamber of commerce and industry alliance consisting of multiple joint chambers of commerce and industry to represent businesses, industry, or the trade and service sector in any country or region having diplomatic or trade relations with Bangladesh.

As per the proposed law, foreign traders coming to Bangladesh from other countries will be able to form a joint chamber. However, an opinion of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Home Ministry will be required in this regard.

No organisation or company or any other than trade organisation may use the words ‘Federation’, ‘Chamber’, ‘Council’, ‘Group’, or ‘Alliance’.

The ‘Trade Organizations Bill, 2022’ also states that no person may be a member of any organisation other than the business class specified in the trade license. None can be a member of any chamber other than the district or metropolitan chamber mentioned in the trade license.

After enactment of the fresh law, the trade organisations must obtain certificates and registration from the government.

The Trade Organizations Ordinance was promulgated in 1961. The object of the Ordinance is to provide for the regulation and control of trade organizations in the country. 

The Ordinance was amended in 1984 by the Trade Organization (Amendment) Ordinance, 1984, and the Rules were made thereunder in March 1994 after repealing the Rules made in 1985. The Rules made in March 1994 were further amended in July 1994. 

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