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Communication on the Termination of Application of Deadlines Under the Regulation on the Application of Deadlines in Administrative Proceedings During the State of Emergency

kzkThe Regulation on the application of deadlines in administrative proceedings during the state of emergency (Official Gazette of the RS 041/2020, hereinafter – the Regulation), which entered into force on March 24, 2020, provides for the treatment in respect of the application of deadlines in administrative proceedings during the state of emergency.

The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia enacted the Decision on the abolition of the state of emergency (Official Gazette of the RS 065/2020), which entered into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of the RS, that is, on May 6, 2020.

Noting the fact that the state of emergency is lifted on May 6, 2020, the application of deadlines in administrative proceedings under the Regulation ceased to apply on the same date.

The deadlines expired during the state of emergency or deadlines expiring in the period from March 24-May 6, 2020, shall be considered expired upon the expiration of 30 days from the day of the abolition of the state of emergency (i.e. on June 5, 2020). This relates to deadlines prescribed by the Law on Protection of Competition (Official Gazette of the RS 51/09 and 95/13, hereinafter – the Law) for filing merger notifications and requests for individual exemption or deadlines for taking administrative actions, closing of administrative procedures (for example, decisions in merger cases) and deciding on the declared judicial remedies.

It follows therefrom that the parties to proceedings, pursuant to the Law, may be liable for the consequences of the improper performance and failure to act within the deadlines set in conclusions and other orders of the Commission for acting in ongoing administrative procedures, including proceedings instituted at the request of the party or ex officio. Under the Law, undertakings may be liable for the consequences of their improper performance and failure to act within the deadlines set in conclusions and other orders of the Commission in sector inquires.

Communication on the application of deadlines in administrative proceedings during the state of emergency

kzkThe Regulation on the application of deadlines in administrative proceedings during the state of emergency („Official Gazette of the RS“, no. 41/2020, hereinafter – the Regulation), which entered into force on March 24, 2020, applies to administrative proceedings before the Commission, including concentration review proceedings and requests for individual exemptions of restrictive agreements, pursuant to the Law on Protection of Competition („Official Gazette of the RS“, nos. 51/09 and 95/13, hereinafter – the Law). The Regulation only refers to deadlines concerning written applications submitted during the state of emergency, and does not affect the implementation of other provisions in the Law, by-laws and other regulations.

In order to achieve legal certainty, protect the rights of the parties and foster the public interest, the Commission wishes to provide the following clarifications:

- while undertakings are still legally bound to notify concentrations and request individual exemptions, they shall not bear the consequences of their failure to comply with the deadlines set by the Law for notification of concentrations and requests for individual exemptions;

- deadlines expiring during the state of emergency, which concern taking administrative action, closing administrative proceedings (for example, adopting decisions in concentration summary proceedings) and deciding upon legal remedies, shall be deemed to have expired 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency;

- delivery of acts in administrative proceedings causing non-extendable deadlines to start running (acts such as decisions, resolutions closing the proceedings, resolutions on the protection of information), which occurs during the state of emergency, shall be deemed to have occurred, for the purpose of the prescribed deadlines, 15 days after the termination of the state of emergency;

- parties to the proceedings shall not bear the consequences of their failure to comply with the timelimit set in resolutions and other acts of the Commission requiring specific actions or conduct in ongoing ex parte and ex officio administrative proceedings; however, since the accurate and complete determination of facts is in the interest of the parties, the Commission invites them to act in a timely manner to the extent possible under the circumstances of the state of emergency;

- undertakings shall not bear the consequences of their failure to comply with timelimit set in resolutions and other acts of the Commission requiring their action in the context of sector inquiries.

While ensuring the consistent enforcement of this Regulation, the Commission will continue to decide on the rights and obligations of undertakings in accordance with the Law.

Communication on the working arrangements of the CPC during state of emergency

kzkBased on the Decision on the declaration of the state of emergency on the territory of the Republic of Serbia due to the infectious disease outbreak caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, no meetings shall be held with the parties on the premises of the Commission for Protection of Competition until further notice, as part of the measures to prevent further spread of the disease. During the state of emergency, communication shall be conducted via email (office@kzk.gov.rs).

Written submissions (apart from notifications of concentrations) and other correspondence can be submitted electronically, at the e-mail address pisarnica@kzk.gov.rs or using the PE Pošta Srbije postal services.

Notifications of concentrations and e-mails with attachments exceeding 100MB in size should be submitted by post or directly at the Registrar’s Office.

The Commission for Protection of Competition wishes to thank you for your understanding and responsible behavior during these extraordinary circumstances.

Instituted Antitrust Investigation Proceedings in Milk and Dairy Products, Beer Wholesale Markets

kzkFollowing the sector inquiry into the retail sale in non-specialized stores with food, beverages and tobacco predominating for the period 2017-2018 and the analysis of obtained agreements entered into by suppliers of individual goods and their buyers, the Commission for Protection of Competition instituted antitrust investigation proceedings against 23 undertakings.

Based on reasonable grounds for believing that the parties have entered into a restrictive agreement referred to in Article 10 of the Law on Protection of Competition, that is, agreements containing the resale price maintenance clauses, the Commission for Protection of Competition instituted proceedings against two suppliers – AD Imlek and Apatinska pivara, and buyers – food retailers.

The Commission hereby invites all persons in possession of data, documents or other relevant information that could contribute to more accurate fact-finding in this proceeding to present said evidence the Commission for Protection of Competition, 25 Savska St., 4th Floor, Belgrade.

Commission Institutes Proceedings on Suspicion of Collusion in Public Procurements

kzkThe Commission for Protection of Competition instituted proceedings against undertakings, companies „MITECO“ – Kneževac, „YUNIRISK“ – Beograd, „MODEKOLO“ – Beograd, „BREM GROUP“ – Beograd, and „KEMIS“ – Valjevo, based on a reasonable belief that the said parties have committed a competition law infringement referred to in Article 10 of the Law on Protection of Competition, by engaging in collusive joint bidding agreements in a public procurement announced by the Ministry of Environmental Protection as the Contracting Authority.

In parallel to instituting proceedings, authorized officials of the Commission for Protection of Competition have conducted a dawn raid in five locations and collected relevant documentation necessary to establish facts in the proceedings.
All persons are invited to submit data, documents or other relevant information in their possession that could contribute to the accurate fact-finding in this proceeding to the Commission for Protection of Competition, 25 Savska St., 4th Floor, Belgrade.

Report on the Sector Inquiry into Retail Market in the Period 2017-2018

kzkThe Commission for Protection of Competition conducted a sector inquiry into the retail sale in non-specialized stores with food, beverages and tobacco predominating, covering a two-year period (2017-2018). The objective of the inquiry was to establish relations between market competitors in the retail sale in non-specialized stores with food, beverages and tobacco predominating in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, in terms of assessing their market share and relative power, as well as to analyze relations between suppliers and selected trade chains with respect to individual product categories.

The recommendations provided by the Commission constitute an integral part of the report, in which the Commission expressed a need for a public trade register that would considerably facilitate the monitoring of this trade segment in the coming period, while also reiterating the importance of cooperation with other government authorities in terms of submitting all relevant legislation and regulations for the provision of legal opinions.

The Commission wishes to express its gratitude to all undertakings for their timely and proper submission of requested data during the inquiry drafting process, and concomitantly invites all undertakings and other members of the expert public to submit their commentaries to the report, as well as to give proposals and suggestions for the follow-up reports, no later than February 28, 2020, to the email address: office.kzk@kzk.gov.rs, with the subject line: Comments to the sector inquiry into retail market.

Inquiry into Competitive Conditions in the Sunflower Production and Sales Market in the Territory of the Republic of Serbia for the period 2016-2018

kzkPursuant to the provisions of Article 21(1/6) of the Law on Protection of Competition, the Commission for Protection of Competition conducted an inquiry into competitive conditions in the sunflower production and sales market in the territory of the Republic of Serbia for the period 2016-2018.

The purpose of the inquiry was to gain an understanding of the sunflower production and sales market, from a market structure perspective and by observing the market shares of individual market participants, as well as to analyze the trends in sunflower purchase prices during the period observed. The inquiry covered the data on production, purchase, import, and export of sunflower seeds, as well as on the export and import of raw and refined sunflower oil during the period observed.

The inquiry used data provided by the Ministry of Finance – Customs Administration on the import and export of sunflower and sunflower oil, in addition to publicly available information provided by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia on the sunflower and sunflower oil production, as well as information provided by undertakings – sunflower buyers and producers, namely: Dijamant AD from Zrenjanin, Vital AD from Vrbas, Sunce AD from Sombor, Banat AD from Nova Crnja, Victoriaoil AD from Šid, Bimal Trading doo from Belgrade, and Bimal Agri doo from Bečej.

The Commission wishes to express its gratitude to all undertakings for their timely and proper submission of requested data during the inquiry drafting process, and concomitantly invites all undertakings and other members of the expert public to submit their commentaries to the report, to the email address: office.kzk@kzk.gov.rs, with the subject line: Comments to the inquiry into sunflower market.

Noting the importance of this crop for the development of food industry and the overall industrial development, as well as the conclusions of this inquiry, the Commission will put particular emphasis on due-diligence measures in the future in order to monitor the behavior of undertakings and identify particular circumstances prevailing in this market which might indicate any violation of the Law on Protection of Competition.

Sector Inquiry into the Oil Derivatives Retail Market for 2018

kzkPursuant to Article 47 of the Law on Protection of Competition, the Commission for Protection of Competition conducted the ninth sector inquiry into the oil derivatives retail market. The objective of the sector inquiry was to establish the relations between main competitors operating in the oil derivatives retail market in 2018 and to assess their market shares and relative market power.

The inquiry was based on a representative sample of 19 business entities operating in the oil derivatives retail domain and whose petrol stations account for 58% of the total number of petrol stations in Serbia.

The conclusions derived from such an analysis allowing for, inter alia, an overview of trends both in the oil production and refining market and the oil derivatives retail market, in addition to the structure and retail price trends of selected oil derivatives, are an integral part of the report.

The Commission assessed the degree of compliance with recommendations provided in the previous reports and reiterated the importance of establishing a precise statistical record on the oil and oil derivatives and the importance of cooperation with other competent institutions towards creating a legal and business environment favorable to free competition in the market.

The Commission hereby expresses its gratitude to all undertakings that have regularly submitted the requested data during the inquiry drafting process, and also invites undertakings and other members of the expert public to send their commentaries to the report via e-mail to: office.kzk@kzk.gov.rs, with annotation: Commentary to the Sector inquiry into the oil and oil derivatives market.

New CPC President and Council Members Elected

kzkAt the Fifth Sitting of the Second Regular Session held on November 14, 2019, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Decision on the Election of the President and three Council members of the Commission for Protection of Competition.

The new Commission President is Nebojša Perić, and three Council members are Miroslava Đošić, Danijela Bokan, and dr Siniša Milošević. All candidates are elected at the proposal of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy, for a five-year term.

The Decision on the Appointment is published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 81 of November 15, 2019.

Commission Organizes Competition Policy Seminars for Students in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš

kzk-ekofIn cooperation with the Japan Fair Trade Commission, the Commission for Protection of Competition organized seminars for students enrolled in undergraduate, master, and doctoral academic studies in universities in Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Niš.

The keynote addresses during the first seminar are given by H.E. Junichi Maruyama, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Serbia, and Slobodan Vuksanović, Director of the Museum of Pedagogy, followed by expert presentations provided by Gordana Bulatović, Head of the Division for Competition Advocacy and International Affairs, Nina Vasić, Senior Advisor at the Division for Competition Advocacy and International Affairs, Takujiro Kono, Head of the Strategic Planning Division, JFTC, and Atsushi Nakahata, Head of the International Affairs Division, JFTC.

kzk-ekofThe academics were given an opportunity to learn about fundamental principles of competition policy, in addition to a number of concrete examples drawn from the practice illustrating the fight against cartels and other forms of anti-competitive behaviors.
By organizing such seminars, the Commission for Protection of Competition wishes to reaffirm the interest and commitment of students for competition policy in their scholarly works and to provide support to academics in pursuing their future professional careers in antitrust.

The seminars are held at the Museum of Pedagogy in Belgrade, and Novi Sad and Niš University Rectorates.

The Embassy of Japan in Belgrade and the Japan International Cooperation Agency provided support towards organizing the seminars.

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