KARACHI: Haji Muhammad Saeed Chairman SME Farmers And Exporters Association (SMEFEA) has invited the attention of the Ministry of Commerce (MINCOM) to the registration clause in Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) of 30 January 2013 stating that the exporters of fresh fruits, vegetables, rice etc would be registered with their respective associations and in case of non existence of such an association mandatory registration of such exporter be made with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).
Saeed urged TDAP to register exporters of processed produce items with them and not subject them to hardships by applying to associations for registration who are compelling them to become members first instead of simply registering them on nominal registration fees.
“MINCOM should accept the membership of the chamber of commerce and industry (CC&I) as valid registration as the CC&I observes the proper procedure and maintains full record of the member along with income tax returns filed with the Federal Board of Revenue. All trade associations are themselves registered with the CC&I and MINCOM must comprehend this fact and not undermine the CC&I.”
SMEFEA stated that the TDAP by virtue of the STPF needs to recognize the fact the exporter of several food items can register with the authority Secondly the STPF has made registration mandatory and not membership mandatory. Simple registration and membership are two different things. MINCOM needs to differentiate between the definition of registration and membership and advise the trade associations not to treat them as one and same thing and enrol as members those who wish to and simply register those who are seeking registration only on nominal fees if necessary. The STPF clearly underlines the purpose of registration as monitoring the possibility of abuse and registration is for record purpose only.
He urged the MINCOM to interpret the STPF correctly and not impose mandatory membership of any association.
Haji Saeed said membership of the chamber of commerce should suffice for monitoring and record purpose and there seems to be no need for double membership of the respective chamber of commerce and industry (CC&I) and any other association.
The renewal of membership fees of the CC&I is only Rs 2100 which is affordable
The forum urged the ministry of commerce to take speedy decision as the last date for renewal of membership is 31st March 2014 and exporters will be compelled to apply for renewal.
Associations must be able to stand on their own merit and exporters would seek membership of their respective associations if they consider it useful on the basis of its facilities and guidance provided to its members.
The trade associations can attract membership on merit on the basis of their service and advocacy of the rights and protection they offer to its members and the ministry of commerce does not need to favour trade associations by making their membership compulsory for the traders who are members of their respective CC&I which is the superior body.
Many exporters are exporting multiple items and it is unwise to compel them to become members of several associations and the SME exporters sometimes ship several items in one container and it should not be proper to compel them to become members of all the associations.
TDAP had announced that an exporter of miscellaneous items could register as member of any one association and that would suffice but the question is that why an exporter is obliged to become a member of any association when it is already a member of the CC&I which is the parent association.