EghtesadOnline: Economic analysts and businesspeople have time and again called for reforming Iran’s decades-old Trade Law. However, they also strongly disapprove of legislators’ ongoing rush to pass the new reform bill.
During a weeklong stretch this month, Iranian parliamentarians approved 12 chapters and 331 articles of “Book of Commercial Contracts”, one of the several voluminous books forming the crux of the Trade Reform Bill.
According to Hosseinali Haji Deligani, a member of Majlis Plan and Budget Commission, more than 100 clauses were read and approved in just two hours, which is a record!
“The text of the reform bill is neither explicit, nor transparent. Fraudsters will be able to find loopholes in the new bill. I believe the Guardians Council [a watchdog that ensures laws are in line with the Iranian Constitution and Sharia] will reject at least one-third of the bill,” he told Fars News Agency.
Masoud Khansari, president of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, said the Trade Law is among the country’s fundamental laws and all those who have a hand in the economy are familiar with it, according to Financial Tribune.
“How can 600 clauses of the law undergo a seismic change without the consultation of the private sector? What’s this rush for?” he said.
TCCIM, a subsidiary of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, is home to representatives of the private sector in the capital city.
“The parliament’s hurried scramble to pass the reform bill is alarming,” says President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Gholamhossein Shafei, Tccim.ir reported.
“MPs have unfortunately failed to consult ICCIMA’s economic players in the process. Economic activities will be adversely affected as a result of such haste.”
Mehrdad Ebad, a member of TCCIM, said Trade Reform Bill recently discussed in Majlis has not been made compatible with Iran’s economic environment.
“The legislation, which was hustled through the parliament, seems to be a copy of Egypt’s trade law. What is surprising is that the passage of this bill was delayed for years and then suddenly lawmakers decide to move forward and fast,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Qodratollah Emamverdi, an economic commentator, said rushed and ill-prepared ratification of the new trade bill would have harmful consequences, including a rise in fraud, deception and perjury, as well as considerable costs to commercial transactions.
Noting that the current parliament’s tenure will endon May 26, 2020, Emamverdi said a more expert evaluation is needed to change a body of law governing the economy for 87 years, while more than 300 articles of the Trade Reform Bill barely received a lick and a promise.
The current Trade Law of Iran dates back to the 1932 monarchical regime. The Trade Reform Bill was submitted to the Iranian Parliament in the final months of the reformist government. It was later resubmitted to the parliament at the beginning of its term by ex-president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, only to be shelved until December 27, 2011, when Majlis Judicial and Legal Commission tabled the bill in parliament as per Article 85 of the Iranian Constitution.
The parliament then gave the nod to the provisional enactment of the trade bill for five years and sent it to the Guardians Council that rejected it and sent it back for revisions and modifications.
The Trade Reform Bill had been gathering dust in the parliament until last month, when lawmakers decided to give it another go.