The implementation of the new law on the Prohibition of Unfair Trade Practices marks a significant milestone for trade regulation in the Republic of North Macedonia. Aligned with Directive (EU) 2019/633 of the European Parliament and the Council, this legislation aims to foster fairer trade practices, particularly within the agriculture and food supply chain.

Primarily, the law targets the protection of consumers by regulating final prices and curbing excessive fees imposed by major retail chains on suppliers, costs that inevitably trickle down to consumers.

Who is Covered and What Does it Entail?

The scope of the Law on the Prohibition of Unfair Trade Practices extends across the entire supply chain, encompassing manufacturers, buyers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers engaged in contractual relationships. Additionally, it applies to public authorities acting as buyers within the territory of North Macedonia, irrespective of their legal status.

Key Provisions:

  1. Written Agreements: Mandates the execution of written agreements between suppliers and buyers for the supply of agricultural and food products before delivery. These agreements must outline crucial details such as product pricing, quality specifications, delivery terms, payment deadlines, and contract duration.
  2. Payment Deadlines: Introduces strict deadlines for payment of delivered goods, ensuring prompt remuneration. Perishable products must be paid for within 30 days, while non-perishable goods a 60-day payment window.
  3. Prohibited Practices: Enumerates a range of unfair trade practices in buyer-supplier relationships, including:

Fair Trade Practices and Exceptions:

Certain fees are permitted under specific circumstances, including charges for shelf placement, product advertising, marketing, and personnel hiring for store setup. However, these fees must be reasonable and directly related to service provision.

Enforcement and Oversight:

The Commission for the Protection of Competition assumes responsibility for overseeing compliance with the law. It has the authority to initiate misdemeanor proceedings against violators either independently or upon request by affected parties. Misdemeanor procedures must conclude within three months of initiation.

For Further Inquiries:

Should you have any queries regarding compliance with the new law or procedures before the Commission for the Protection of Competition, additional information can be obtained from our law office.

Ivica Jevtic

Part One

Discussing the development of the construction sector as an economic pillar in the Republic of North Macedonia is inherently complex due to its notable fluctuations. Despite this, there appears to be a consistent upward trajectory in this sector, with enduring and unwavering interest demonstrated by the exploration of new avenues for construction, both within the capital city and across the wider state territory.

An intriguing aspect of deliberation concerning construction as an endeavor is the formal and practical regulation of relationships among the entities involved in this field.

Macedonian legislation boasts an effective Building Law, treated as a comprehensive legal framework, encompassing vital aspects of the industry and offering clarity in its application. However, the construction contract, as a business-legal arrangement, falls under the purview of the Law on Obligations. This categorizes it as a Service Agreement, explicitly designating one party, namely the Contractor, and mandating a written form. While the legislator provides overarching regulations and underscores crucial elements of the construction contract, particular emphasis is placed on the responsibilities of various stakeholders in the construction process, including designers, contractors, and supervisory authorities.

Yet, important questions arise: Do industry participants advocate for and adhere to uniformity in regulating rights and obligations during construction, or do they prefer flexibility and autonomy in this regard? Are standardized models of construction agreementseven considered and applied? Moreover, do stakeholders contemplate the potential risks associated with uniformity versus the advantages of flexibility in governing contractual relationships within the construction sector?

In discussions concerning standardization in construction, the application of FIDIC agreementsoften takes precedence.

The CОNCEPT of FIDIC Contracts

FIDIC, formally known as the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, primarily aims to establish international general conditions for use within the construction domain. These conditions practically serve as a tool in international construction contracts, finding widespread application across jurisdictions. The objective of standardization and the formulation of general conditions or forms is primarily to establish equitable and balanced relationships, ensuring a fair distribution of risks and benefits for all contractual parties. When employing FIDIC contracts, it is implicitly understood that rights and obligations are applied without bias, maintaining parity between parties.

In essence, from FIDIC’s general conditions emerges the need to establish several fundamental principles. Through a meticulous analysis and examination of these conditions over the years by a dedicated committee within the Federation, the aim has been to identify indispensable principles that limit potential abuses or prevent them altogether – essentially, establishing “sacred” rules known as the “FIDIC Golden Principles (GPs)”.

The GPs essentially provide guidelines on HOW and TO WHAT EXTENT the general conditions (GCs) or standard terms provided for in FIDIC agreementscan be modified when the application of Special Conditions (SCs) becomes necessary due to factors arising from the peculiarities of different jurisdictions or the construction itself. Practically, the GPs set the “ultimate boundary” for when a particular General Condition can be altered, provided that the parties are willing to regulate their relationship in accordance with the FIDIC terms and how the contract would be considered compatible with them.

In any case, the FIDIC Golden Principles (GPs) are founded on several fundamental pillars:

Considering all of the above, the following are the 5 GOLDEN PRINCIPLES OF FIDIC CONTRACTS:

GP1 – The terms in construction agreements must be aligned and fair for both contractual parties, meeting the specific project requirements.

GP2 – Particular Conditions should be clear and precise, ensuring clarity for all contractual parties involved.

GP3 – Particular Conditions should maintain a balance in risk and reward, ensuring that neither party gains an undue advantage over the other.

GP4 – Deadlines outlined in agreements should be reasonable and feasible for both parties, allowing for realistic project completion schedules.

GP5 – In the event of disagreements, unless conflicting with national jurisdiction, resolution should be sought through the Dispute Avoidance/Adjudication Board, ensuring a temporary binding decision that serves as a prerequisite for arbitration.

In conclusion, while the promotion of FIDIC agreements is more prevalent in the public sector in North Macedonia, their implementation in the private sector therein remains limited. Perhaps a more robust promotional strategy coupled with incentives for adopting FIDIC principles is needed. The desire for uniformity in formal provisions among stakeholders in the construction sector stems from the belief that it offers greater legal certainty. Considering that FIDIC principles are rooted in global best practices, their widespread adoption could significantly enhance the construction industry’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Ana Tosic Chubrinovski

In pursuit of greater regional cooperation and integration, the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia, and the Republic of Albania have embarked on the Open Balkan Initiative. A very important aspect of this initiative involves enabling free access to labor markets in the three countries.

To formalize this commitment, the participating countries came together to sign several key documents:

Following announcements made by the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Employment Agency of the Republic of North Macedonia, effective March 5, 2024, the service for free access to the labor market has been activated and citizens of the three participating countries are able to commence employment procedures in accordance with the provisions outlined in the aforementioned documents.

Key aspects of the said procedure are given below:

1. Conditions for exercising the right

To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:

2. Procedural steps

3. Validity of the Approval

4. Costs

According to the Agreement on Conditions for Free Access to the Labor Market in the Western Balkans, application fees are excluded for this procedure.

5. Key Benefits

Elena Kuzmanovska

JPM Partners announces its presence in North Macedonia by teaming up with Tosic & Jevtic Attorneys and counselors–at–law

JPM Partners and Tosic & Jevtic – Attorneys and counselors-at-law are happy to announce that Tosic & Jevtic are becoming part of JPM Partners.

This strategic #partnership, planned to be completed in the third quarter of 2024, will significantly enhance joint capabilities not only at the #market of #NorthMacedonia but also at the markets of #Montenegro and #Serbia, as well.

We Team Up!