Date: 21/02/2019

Briefing Session with Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications – Current regulatory changes and implementation of existing regulations

On February 21, 2019, AmCham member representatives gathered at a Briefing Session with the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications.

Milan Dobrijević from the Ministry’s Digital Agenda Department and Milan Vojvodić from the Ministry’s Information Society Department gave a presentation to AmCham members on novelties in the Draft Law on Trade, the Draft Amendments to the Law on E-Commerce and the Draft Amendments to the Cybersecurity Law, as well as progress with implementation of the eBusiness Law.

The representatives of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications’ stated that the intention of the Draft Law on Trade and the Draft Amendments to the Law on E-Commerce is to encourage the establishment of legal businesses via electronic platforms, as well as to sanction traders who use these channels to operate businesses in the grey zone. As well as improving inspectional surveillance over all participants in the electronic commerce chain and ensuring an efficient system of sanctioning, it was emphasized that an important way to reduce the grey economy in this area would be to implement wider application of electronic payment, thus facilitating transaction insurance and refunds.

The Draft Law on Trade specifies service providers, regulates how e-commerce prices are stated, precisely regulates the obligations of e-traders and introduces a new obligation for e-traders to state product declarations on their websites. Furthermore, it regulates the use, issue and significance of trust marks, which should establish the trust in e-commerce that consumers currently lack.

Concerning the Draft Amendments to the Law on E-Commerce, the Ministry’s representatives emphasized that the changes are minimal, and that the Law is completely in accordance with European directive 2000/31/EC. The Law precisely defines service providers in the information sector and is an extension of the Law on Obligational Relations, as it explicitly confirms that it is possible to conclude a contractual relationship in electronic form. Additionally, it specifies that a contract cannot be deemed invalid simply because was concluded in electronic form. Further changes regulate cross-border service provision, but also regulate the specific situations in which it is possible to limit the ability to do this by initiating a procedure and taking measures in accordance with the law, thus preventing and removing this danger. It has been left to the Government to regulate the procedure according to which collaboration in this area is established with member countries, through a special regulation. The Ministry’s representatives emphasized that this provision will be enforced and practically developed after Serbia’s accession to European Union. Finally, the Draft Law regulates the matter of surveillance, with jurisdiction shared between market inspection and inspection of electronic communications. The Ministry’s representatives stated that both the Draft Law on Trade and the Draft Amendments to the Law on E-Commerce should be adopted at the assembly’s spring meeting.

Although the eBusiness Law was adopted in 2017, it was left to by-laws to regulate this matter in detail. Thirteen by-laws have been adopted this year, while by-laws referring to the validation of electronic signatures and electronic stamps and those which more closely regulate the conditions for the provision of electronic delivery and electronic stamps remain to be implemented. Responding to a question from companies about whether a body has been given responsibility for assessing coordination, the Ministry’s representatives confirmed that no such body has yet been established, and the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunication will for now be carrying out an assessment of coordination.

Finally, the Ministry’s representatives presented the Draft Amendments to the Cybersecurity Law, which was adopted in 2016. These initial alterations are being made in order to establish full coordination with the EU Directive in this area and improve existing regulation. The Amendments introduce terms of service in the information sector and add terms for providers of digital services, as well as introducing a unique system for registering incidents, which refers only to incidents that could potentially have difficult and harmful consequences and are provided as exempli causa in the Law. The public consultation on the Draft Amendments to the Cybersecurity Law ended on February 25th.