On 5 February 2014, Omar Hashem, Vice-chairman of Nablus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, met with a delegation of the Palestinian Shipping Council in the Chamber of Commerce’s headquarters. Headed by board member Tareq Saqf al-Heit, the Shipping Council’s delegation also included Dr. Mahmoud al-Khafif, Dr. Said Khalidi, Dr. Anan Odeh, Dr. Nizar Ayoub, and Ms. Randa Jamal. Also in attendance were, Mr. Othman Musleh- Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Samir Qadiri- Deputy Treasurer, Mr Ahmad Shanar and Mr Zahi Odeh from the General Assembly, in addition to representatives of Zalmout Distribution Company and AlHijjawi Paper and Stationery Trade Company.
The discussion focused on the services provided by the Palestinian Shipping Council to traders and businessmen involved in import and export. Mr. Omar Hashem thanked the participants for taking part in this meeting that discussed issues directly affecting the life and businesses of the members of the general assemblies in the import and export sectors. The participants were also informed of the services provided by the Shipping Council after the launching of the legal department that aims to find solutions for the legal problems faced by importers and exporters on Israeli crossings and ports.
Hashem pointed out that the Chamber welcomes all forms of collaboration with all sides interested in providing services to the Chamber’s General Assembly members, and benefiting the private sector, the importers and exporters.
Hashem added that the Federation of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, has recently established a legal and economics department in order to meet the growing needs of the Palestinian private sector.
Meanwhile, Mr.Tareq Saqf al-Heit reiterated the work of the Shipping Council on fostering partnership with the Chamber in order to serve the exporters and importers, in addition to the efforts exerted to solve most of the procedural problems that drain traders and hamper the implementation of their businesses. He added that the Shipping Council has established a legal department to address and solve the problems through a legal team who provides Consultation and legal coverage. Saqf Al-Heit noted that the Shipping Council views the Chamber as a partner for future work and cooperation: “we are working to sign a memorandum of understanding with it [the chamber] soon,” he said and stressed that: “our ignorance of the applied laws is one of the main problem that we all face, but through the legal department, we can overcome this and arrive at solutions for many complex issues in the import and export sectors.”
Mr.Anan Odeh, head of the legal department, stated that the shipping council has launched a legal department that aims to provide the different legal services to the export and import sectors, and that the provision of such services will abide to the most pressing legal problems diagnosed and the obstructions they would tackle. He added : “we will raise awareness on the role of the department and the essence of the significant legal issues and how we in the Shipping Council can deal with those issues so we become more competent in providing useful services that meet the demands of the traders and yield convenient and desirable results on the ground.”
During the meeting, participants extensively presented and discussed particular issues that perturb the Chamber’s General Assembly members and they all agreed that these problems require understanding, analysis, follow-up and legal and technical solutions with the assistance of legal experts through setting up a general framework dealing with the problems.
At the end of the meeting, participants agreed on signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Chamber and the Shipping Council soon, as well as conducting and expanded workshop that will host exporters and importers from Nablus and other northern governorates in the West Bank.