Lebanon News

Old trade law gets overhaul as committees OK changes

BEIRUT: Joint committees of Parliament Thursday endorsed a host of amendments to a 1942 law that regulates land-based trade in Lebanon, setting the stage for their adoption at the next legislative session.

The law, known as the Overland Trade Law, has remained unchanged since it was passed a year before Lebanon’s independence from French rule.

The amendments seek to introduce modern language to facilitate business in Lebanon, former Economy Minister and current Tripoli MP Nicolas Nahhas told The Daily Star.

“This law is a general trading law that sets the legal framework for everything industry- and trade-related, including the formation of companies, the way they deal with each other, the responsibilities of chairmen and CEOs and so on,” he said.

Amendments to the law have been knocking around parliamentary committees for over 10 years. Nahhas said that in addition to improving the way business is conducted in Lebanon for small, medium-size and large businesses, it makes the country’s ailing economy more attractive for outside investment.

He said it fit in well with a law Parliament ratified during its last legislative session that was aimed at facilitating electronic transactions.

The amendments to the Overland Trade Law were up for a vote at that session, but were returned to committees for further study.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Elie Ferzli said during Thursday’s session that the joint parliamentary committees would next meet on Jan. 10.

Meanwhile, Metn MP Sami Gemayel proposed a draft law to amend an article of the 2017 electoral law, the state-run National News Agency reported.

The article, set to go into effect at the next election, states that six parliamentary seats will be allocated to represent expatriate voters.

Gemayel proposed that the expatriate constituency provision be overturned and that members of the diaspora vote in domestic electoral districts, as occurred in the 2018 polls.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 14, 2018, on page 2.

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