Date: 11/12/2018

Briefing Session on Draft Law on Protection of Competition

On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, representatives of Commission for Protection of Competition and members of Working group for law drafting presented the Draft Law on Protection of Competition to AmCham members.

“The Draft Law is the result of the work of the working group in which, besides state authorities, representatives of the business sector also took part,“ stated Miloje Obradović, the President of the Commision for Protection of Competition, in his introductory speech. He emphasized that the Draft Law on Protection of Competition has been established in accordance with EU regulations and practices, and this law is being passed with the aim of removing omissions of the existing law and editing procedures. It has been emphasized that the main changes and additions in this Law are in the areas of restrictive contracts, dominant position and concentrations. Still, the institute of consumers protection is not regulated.

Besides President Obradović, Gordana Lukić, a member of the Working group for law drafting at the Ministry of trade, tourism and telecomunications, as well as Srđana Petronijević, from Schoenherr, who has also, as Vicepresident of AmCham Committee for Corporate and Business law, been included in the work of the Working group, took part in the Briefing Session.

This was a great opportunity for AmCham members to be presented with a few of the misunderstandings that the Working group faces in their work. The Presentation was also a great opportunity for exchange of opinions and expertise with interested representatives of the business sector. For example, in the Draft Law for Restrictive Agreements that is concluded between participants in the market, and have the aim of restraining, violating and preventing competition in Serbia, obligation of submitting an agreement to exemption is suggested as a rule. But if in the procedure of questioning whether the agreement was submitted it turns out that it was, it could be exempted, which would have lowered penalties to 1%. On the other hand, suggestions of solutions in this area are the possibility and not the obligation of submitting individual exemption, as well as the possibility of single estimation of agreement coordination with competition law.

Also, the Draft suggests increasing the level for registration of concentrations if the total annual income of all participants in concentration established in the previous accounting year is greater than 200 million euros (while in the existing solution the amount of 100 million euros was mentioned), so that the income established on the Serbian market is more than 15 million euros (while in the existing solution is 10 million euros) in the same period.

Attendees also heard about the settlement, new institute, which is already notorious among EU regulations. The advantage of this institute, in the way it is presented in the EU law, is that in the procedures of determining violation of competition parties accept responsibility, the commission provides solution faster and easier, as well as reducing the penalty to 20% of intended amount. Still, in Serbian law, settlement is predicted only for cartels and predicts maximal penal reduction to 10%.

At the end of the briefing session, the presenters thanked AmCham for the opportunity to share the new Draft Law with the business sector and emphasized that comments of business sector representatives are precious because of the harmonization of all interested parties’ interests.