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FOREIGN TRADE ACT

("Off. Herald of RS", Nos. 36/2009, 36/2011 - other act, 88/2011 and 89/2015 - other act)

 

I BASIC PROVISIONS

Scope

Article 1

The present Act governs the foreign trade operations in keeping with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the regulations of the European Union (EU), as well as the competences of the Agency for Foreign Investments and Promotion of Exports.

A foreign trade is a foreign trade circulation of goods and services and performance of business operations by a foreign person in the Republic of Serbia and by a domestic person in another state or customs territory.

A foreign trade involving an individual type of goods and services may be regulated separately in keeping with the WTO rules and EU regulations.

A foreign trade in armaments, military equipment and dual purpose goods is governed by a separate law.

Meaning of Some Terms

Article 2

A foreign trade is a trade between domestic and foreign persons carried out on the basis of contracts concluded in keeping with domestic regulations and international agreements.

Performance of business operations includes direct investments and capital projects of a foreign person in the Republic of Serbia, i.e. of a domestic person in another state or customs territory.

In terms of paragraph 2 of this Article:

1) Direct investmentis the incorporation of a company, branch, purchase of equity or capital shares of a company, recapitalization of a company and any other shape of investment by a foreign person in the Republic of Serbia, i.e. a domestic person in another state or customs territory.

2) Capital projectsare designing, construction and craft works, engineering and all other works conducted and services performed in relation to buildings by a foreign person in the Republic of Serbia, i.e. by a domestic person in another state or customs territory.

Persons Involved in Foreign Trade

Article 3

A domestic person, in terms of this Act, is a legal person, a branch of a domestic or foreign legal person and a sole trader who has a registered office, i.e. is registered in the Republic of Serbia, as well as a natural person that has a domicile in the Republic of Serbia, except for a natural person who has a domicile, i.e. temporary residence outside of the Republic of Serbia for longer than one year.

A foreign person, in terms of this Act, is every person not listed in paragraph 1 of this Article.

Article 4*

(Deleted)

II FOREIGN TRADE PRINCIPLES

Freedom of Foreign Trade of Goods

Article 5

Foreign trade of goods is free and may only be restricted in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

Domestic and foreign legal persons, their branches, as well as sole traders, acquire the right and conduct foreign trade of goods under equal terms.

A representative office of a foreign legal person conducts activities related to foreign trade in accordance with the law that governs companies.

Domestic and foreign natural persons have the same rights in foreign trade of goods and carry out that trade exclusively for their own needs.

Government agencies, religious, sports, humanitarian and other organizations, carry out the foreign trade of goods exclusively for their own needs.

Most-Favored-Nation Treatment

Article 6

The most-favored-nation treatment is applicable to foreign trade with a state or a customs territory to which such treatment has been accorded under an international treaty or by the Government’s decision.

With respect to goods, the most-favored-nation treatment under this Act means that any advantages, conveniences, benefits or exceptions granted by the Republic of Serbia to any goods originating from or intended to some other state or customs territory, must be granted, immediately and without delay, to the same or similar goods originating from or intended to any other state or customs territory.

With respect to services, the most-favored-nation treatment, in terms of this Act, means such treatment of services and service providers originating from another state or customs territory which is not less favorable than the treatment of similar services and providers of similar services originating from any other state or customs territory.

The most-favored-nation treatment does not include the terms granted under a free-trade agreement, customs union agreement and border trade arrangement and the terms granted or based on interim agreements on the establishment of a free-trade zone or a customs union.

National Treatment

Article 7

Foreign goods imported on the territory of the Republic of Serbia shall not have less favorable treatment than that given to similar domestic goods.

The national treatment with respect to services, in terms of this Act, means that all measures affecting the services originating from another state or customs territory, as well as the service providers from another state or customs territory, cannot not be more unfavorable than measures which are applicable to similar domestic services or domestic service providers.

Services originating from another state or customs territory, as well as service providers from another state or customs territory, enjoy the national treatment on the basis of an international treaty.

Intellectual property rights of foreign persons shall not have less favorable treatment than that given to the intellectual property rights of domestic persons.

Prohibition against Quantitative Restrictions

Article 8

New quantitative restrictions may not be introduced or the existing ones be retained in foreign trade in goods, with the exception of those provided by the present Act.

Public Disclosure

Article 9

Any measure affecting foreign trade that are adopted pursuant to the present Act are published in the "Official Herald of the Republic of Serbia".

At the request of any interested person, the ministry competent for foreign trade relations (hereinafter: the Ministry) provides information on the application of the present Act and the measures adopted pursuant to it.

Confidentiality of Information

Article 10

The information obtained in accordance with the present Act are deemed confidential and may neither be published nor forwarded to third parties without the written consent of the person to which it relates, unless the competent authority is bound to do so in accordance with the law.

Exceptions to the Principles of Foreign Trade

Article 11

The provisions of this Act shall not be interpreted in such a way so as to prevent the introduction or application of measures affecting the foreign trade of goods, if these measure are not applied in such a manner as to cause arbitrary or unjustified discrimination among states, i.e. customs territories where the same requirements are in force, or as covert restrictions to foreign trade, and if such measures:

1) Are introduced or applied for the purpose of necessary protection of public morality,

2) Are introduced or applied for the purpose of necessary protection of lives and health of people, animals or plants,

3) Relate to imports and exports of gold and silver,

4) Are introduced or applied as necessary to provide the compliance with regulations which are not in contravention of provisions of the WTO agreement, including the application of customs regulations, regulations regarding protection of patents, trademarks and copyright, as well as prevention of dissemination of misleading information,

5) Relate to products made in prisons,

6) Are introduced for the purpose of protection of artistic, historical and archaeological treasures,

7) Relate to the protection of the non-renewable natural resources, if such measures are applied in parallel with the restrictions to domestic production or consumption,

8) Are undertaken in view of compliance with the obligations from an international goods treaty which is in accordance with the criteria submitted to WTO members, or which has been submitted to the WTO members, and the WTO members had no objections,

9) Relate to restrictions on exports of raw materials produced in the Republic of Serbia and required by the domestic manufacturing industry to obtain the necessary quantities of those raw materials during periods when, by Government decision as part of market stabilization for that type of goods, domestic price is being kept at a level which is below the world price, provided that this restriction does not result in the increase of exports or protection for that domestic industry and that this measure does not include any kind of discrimination,

10) Are introduced or applied because of product shortages (general or local) in order to furnish or distribute those products, provided that all states are entitled to a fair share in the supply of these products and that such measures are abolished when reasons for which they were introduced cease to exist, or

11) Are introduced or applied for the purpose of protection of security if:

- They relate to fissile materials or materials they originate from,

- They relate to trade of arms, ammunition and other means of waging war, as well as to the trade of other goods and materials which is conducted indirectly or directly for the purposes of supplying armed forces,

- They are undertaken in the time of war or other emergency situations in international relations, or

- They are introduced or applied for the purpose of fulfilling obligations from the Charter of United Nations with respect to keeping world peace and security.

III MEASURES AFFECTING FOREIGN TRADE

Measures

Article 12

The measures affecting foreign trade (hereinafter: the measures) are prescribed, implemented and interpreted in keeping with the principles of the present Act and WTO rules, EU regulations and obligations provided by international treaties.

The measures referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article are permissible only when:

1) So is necessary for the purpose of achieving the goals set by the present Act,

2) So is provided explicitly by law, and

3) The degree, scope and duration of a measure are proportionate to its purpose, i.e. when they are limited to the minimum necessary for the achievement of the measure’s goals.

Implementation of Measures

Article 13

The goal or consequence of any measure introduced pursuant to the present Act must not be the violation of the freedom of trade and competitiveness of the participants in a foreign trade transaction.

A measure is revoked or its degree or scope is reduced when the reasons for its implementation cease to exist or when the circumstances because of which it was introduced change.

Competence for the Introduction of Measures

Article 14

Measures and detailed conditions for the application of measures are prescribed by the Government, at the proposal of the Ministry or some other competent authority.

If the measure referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article entails the procurement of a document which is the condition for import, export or transit of goods, the list of such goods is published in the "Official Herald of the Republic of Serbia".

Administrative Procedure and Administrative Dispute

Article 15

The provisions of the law governing the general administrative procedure apply to the procedure of adoption of individual administrative decisions, in terms of this Act, unless otherwise provided by the present Act.

An administrative dispute may be instituted against a decision referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

Administrative Fee for the Work Done by Agencies

Article 16

The fee payable for the administrative services rendered by the agencies, i.e. persons to whom the public authority was delegated by law, to persons in foreign trade operations may not:

1) Be higher than the actual costs of the services rendered,

2) Represent indirect protection of domestic production, and

3) Represent indirect burden on imports and exports.

IV FOREIGN TRADE IN GOODS

1) Export, Import and Transit

Article 17

The export of goods is carrying out, sending, i.e. delivery of goods from the territory of the Republic of Serbia to the territory of another state or customs territory, in accordance with customs regulations of the Republic of Serbia.

The import of goods is carrying in, supplying, i.e. delivering goods from the territory of another state or customs territory to the territory of the Republic of Serbia, in accordance with customs regulations of the Republic of Serbia.

The transit of goods is the crossing of goods through the customs territory of the Republic of Serbia, in accordance with customs regulations of the Republic of Serbia.

2) Quantitative Limitations

Article 18

Quantitative limitation is the largest total amount of a certain product set according to value or quantity which may be exported or imported within a prescribed time limit.

The quantitative limitation is divided into quotas, unless prescribed otherwise.

Requirements for the Introduction of a Quantitative Limitation

Article 19

A quantitative limitation of imports may be introduced for the purpose of:

1) Protection against excessive imports pursuant to Article 34 of this Act, or

2) Protection of the payment balance pursuant to Arts. 35, 36 and 36a of this Act.

A quantitative limitation of imports may be introduced temporarily, for the purpose of preventing critical shortages of basic products or mitigating the consequences of such shortages in the Republic of Serbia.

Quantitative limitations of imports and exports may be introduced:

1) In the cases provided by Article 11 of this Act, or

2) For the purpose of application of norms or regulations on the classification, ranking or placement of goods in international trade.

The Government introduces the quantitative limitations referred to in paras. 1 and 2 of this Article at the proposal of the Ministry. The quantitative limitations referred to in paragraph 3 of this Article are introduced by the Government at the proposal of the Ministry or other competent authority.

Quota Distribution

Article 20

The Ministry, i.e. other competent authority distributes the quotas at the request of an applicant, in accordance with the requirements that in particular include the following:

1) Economically justified quantity of goods covered by the quota,

2) Degree of exploitation of previously allocated quotas, and

3) Possibility of the quotas being allotted to the persons to which they have not been allotted in the past.

The quotas are distributed:

1) By issuing permits in a non-automatic manner for import, i.e. export of the allocated quota,

2) By writing off by the competent customs authority, at the time of customs control of goods, according to the order of acceptance of a customs declaration.

An allocated quota is non-transferable.

A quota may be used up within a time limit which may be longer than one year from the day of its allocation.

The number of deliveries within the time limit in which a quota may be used up is not limited.

If a person fails to use up the quota in accordance with the conditions prescribed in the regulation introducing the quantitative limitation, i.e. with the quota allocation decision, the Ministry, i.e. another competent authority may revoke the quota allocation decision.

The Government may prescribe more detailed requirements for the quota distribution.

3) Permits

Article 21

A permit is a document which is issued at the applicant’s request for the import, export or transit of certain goods.

The issuance of a permit may be automatic and non-automatic.

The automatic issuance of a permit happens when the request is approved in all cases when the prescribed documents have been supplied.

The non-automatic issuance of a permit is the issuance of a permit which is not covered by the provision of paragraph 3 of this Article.

Competence for Permit Issuance

Article 22

The Ministry, i.e. some other competent authority, decides on the request for issuance of the permit in accordance with regulations.

If necessary in the procedure for deciding on the request for issuance of the permit, the agency referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article obtains the opinion of other authorities, organizations, institutions and associations, which are obliged to submit their opinion within the time limit set by the agency referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

Permit Issuance, Use and Revocation Procedure

Article 23

The request for the issuance of a permit is filed with the authority referred to in Article 22, paragraph 1, of the present Act.

The request for the issuance of a permit may not be rejected because of minor imperfections of documentation which do not affect the main data included in the request.

The regulation from Article 14, paragraph 1 of this Act that determines the issuance of an import permit, as well as the regulation that determines exemptions, exclusions or modifications of conditions for the issuance of an import permit, i.e. the list of goods imported on the basis of a permit, is published, whenever possible, 21 days before the day of commencement of its application.

Regulation from paragraph 3 of this Article, establishing exemptions from the obligation to obtain permit, must also establish criteria for these exemptions, manner of submission of applications for these exemptions, as well as a way of deciding on the application for exemption.

The manner of submitting the request for issuance of a permit, for modification, i.e. renewal of a permit, is prescribed in such a way as to keep it as simple as possible.

A request for the issuance of a permit is submitted to one agency, and exceptionally, when necessary, it is submitted to no more than three agencies.

At the recommendation of the authorities referred to in Article 22, paragraph 1, of the present Act, the Government prescribes the more detailed requirements for issuance, usage and revocation of permits, in keeping with the WTO rules and the EU regulations.

4) Special Requirements

Special Competence

Article 24

If a contract, national or foreign regulation or a ratified international treaty provides that certain legal instruments are attached to the goods during export, import and transit, and the competence for the issuance and verification of such legal instruments has not been prescribed, such legal instruments are issued or verified by the agency, i.e. some other person authorized by the Government at the proposal of the Ministry.

At the proposal of the Ministry, the Government prescribes the way of issuing and verifying the legal instruments referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

Sanitary, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Requirements

Article 25

The goods being exported, imported, transited or put into some customs control procedure are subject to the fulfilment of sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary requirements, in keeping with regulations.

The requirements referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article may not result in additional limitation of exports, imports or transit.

Technical Regulations and Standards

Article 26

Technical regulation, in terms of the law regulating technical requirements for products and compliance assessment, may be applied to import of goods and its application may not result in an additional limitations of imports.

Compliance with standards is not a condition for importing goods.

V FOREIGN TRADE IN SERVICES

Requirements

Article 27

Foreign trade in services is carried out in keeping with the law, international treaties and obligations assumed by the Republic of Serbia.

The provision of services by a domestic person in another state or customs territory is unrestricted.

Foreign persons provide services in the territory of the Republic of Serbia in keeping with the regulations dealing with the provision of various services.

Day of the Provision of Services

Article 28

The day of the provision of a service in foreign trade is determined by the contract.

The Ministry sets the day of the provision of a service, if such day has not been determined or determinable by the contract.

VI MEASURES OF PROTECTION

Kinds of Measures

Article 29

The Government may prescribe the following measures of protection:

1) Antidumping measures;

2) Compensatory measures;

3) Measures for the protection against excessive importing;

4) Measures for the protection of the balance of payments equilibrium.

1) Antidumping Measures

Article 30

For the purposes of the present Act:

1) An "antidumping measure" is a special levy on the import of products, which is introduced for the purpose of removing the negative impacts of dumping;

2) "Dumping" is an import of products into Serbia for a price which is lower than the normal value of similar products in the exporting state or customs territory;

3) "Normal value" is a price of a similar product in the market of the exporting country or customs territory, as fixed under normal trading conditions in that exporting state or customs territory, or in the case of insufficient sale in the domestic market, the cost price plus the sale, general and administrative costs.

Application of Antidumping Levies

Article 31

The Government introduces antidumping levies at the Ministry’s recommendation and upon completion of the investigation procedure conducted by the Ministry, if the following are found to be existent:

1) Dumping,

2) Damage suffered by domestic industry, and

3) Causal relationship between dumping and damage.

In terms of paragraph 1 of this Article:

1) "Domestic industry" is a total output of all domestic producers of similar products or those whose total output in similar products makes up the major part of the total domestic output in such products;

2) "Damage" is a material damage done to the domestic industry, hazard of the occurrence of material damage or considerable slowing-down in incorporation of such industry.

The Government sets in greater detail the requirements for the application of antidumping measures.

2) Compensatory Measures

Article 32

In terms of this Act:

1) A "compensatory measure" is a special levy on the import of products, which is introduced for the purpose of removing the negative impacts of the subsidizing done in the state or customs zone of origin, i.e. export of products;

2) A "subsidy" is a direct or indirect financial contribution or any support to prices or income provided by the government in the state or customs territory of origin, i.e. export of products, in favor of producers, production, export or transport of such products to the Republic of Serbia, whereby the subsidy recipients achieve benefit.

Application of the Compensatory Levy

Article 33

The Government introduces a compensatory levy at the proposal of the Ministry and upon completion of the investigation procedure conducted by the Ministry, if it finds that the following exists:

1) A subsidy,

2) A damage for domestic industry in terms of Article 31, paragraph 2, of the present Act, and

3) Existence of a causal relationship between subsidy and damage.

The Government sets in greater detail the conditions for the application of compensatory measures.

3) Measures of Protection against Excessive Importing

Article 34

A measure of protection against excessive importing may be applied to a product only if it has been established that such product is being imported in such increased quantities, in absolute and relative values in relation to domestic production, and under such conditions, as will cause or threat to cause serious damage to domestic industries which are producing similar or directly competitive products.

In terms of paragraph 1 of this Article:

1) "Serious damage" is a considerable general deterioration of the domestic industry’s position.

2) "Threat to cause serious damage" is an unambiguous threat of the occurrence of serious damage. The determination of the existence of a threat to cause serious damage shall be based on facts, not on statements, guesses or possibilities.

3) "Domestic industry" is the total output of all domestic producers of similar or directly competitive products or of those producers whose total joint output in such products makes up the major portion of domestic output in such products.

The Government sets in greater detail the conditions for application of the measures of protection against excessive importing.

4) Measures for the Protection of the Balance of Payments Equilibrium

Article 35

A measure for the protection of the balance of payment equilibrium may be introduced if it is necessary to:

1) Stop a considerable decline in the foreign currency reserves or prevent an immediate threat of a considerable decline in the foreign currency reserves, or

2) Increase the very low foreign currency reserves.

Measures based on price may be introduced for the purpose of protection of the balance of payments equilibrium, in accordance with the law.

The measures based on price include the import duties, import deposit requirements and other trade measures that affect the price of imported goods.

Article 36

Notwithstanding Article 35 of this Act, the Government, at the proposal of the Ministry and on the basis of data and opinions received from the National Bank of Serbia, may limit the quantity and value of imports for the purpose of protection of the balance of payment, if measures based on price are unable to stop the rapid decline of the balance of payment.

Proposal from paragraph 1 of this Article must contain an explanation of the reasons why measures based on price do not resolve the balance of payments situation.

Article 36a

Measures for the protection of the balance of payments equilibrium shall be applied only to the extent which is justified under the circumstances specified in Article 35 of this Act, and the extent of measures shall gradually be reduced as balance of payments improves.

The criteria for selecting the products which are subject to measures for the protection of the balance of payments equilibrium must contain an explanation.

Certain basic products may be exempted from the application of measures for the protection of the balance of payments equilibrium.

Measures for the protection of the balance of payments equilibrium may neither be introduced nor applied for the purpose of protection of domestic manufacturers.

The Government prescribes the more detailed conditions for the implementation of measures to protect the balance of payments equilibrium at the proposal of the competent Ministry, i.e. the National Bank of Serbia, in accordance with the law.

VII OTHER REGIMES AND MEASURES

Collection, i.e. Payment in Goods, i.e. Services

Article 37

A domestic person may charge or pay for the exported i.e. imported goods and services, in goods i.e. services, especially if it involves the procurement of equipment, intermediate materials and raw materials earmarked for the production of goods and provision of services, and if it involves the services provided in the process of active or passive outward processing, in keeping with customs regulations, and the payment or collection is made in the goods which are being subject to outward processing, i.e. in outward processed goods.

The Government may set in greater detail the conditions of payment and collection in goods, i.e. services.

Exporting and Importing without Collection, i.e. Payment

Article 38

Goods and services may be exported, i.e. imported without collection, i.e. payment for the purpose of performance of contractual commitments and in other cases provided by the Government.

Exceptions related to the Goods Purchased in another State or Customs Territory

Article 39

A domestic person does not have to do the following with the goods purchased by in another state or customs territory:

1) Import them, if such goods are, under a contract, directly delivered to another state or customs territory, or

2) Put them in free circulation on the market, if such goods, after the appropriate customs procedure, are dispatched beyond the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

Tracking of Some Foreign Trade Transactions

Article 40

For the purpose of upgrading the foreign trade operations and for the sake of more efficient implementation of the present Act and other regulations affecting the foreign trade operations, the Government may impose the obligation of keeping a record of or reporting on some foreign trade transactions and set the contents of such records and reports.

A goal or a consequence of the application of the provision of paragraph 1 of this Article may not be the additional limitation to the freedom of foreign trade.

Article 41

(Deleted)

Arts. 42-46**

(Repealed)

IX PENAL PROVISIONS

Article 47

A legal person which is not using the allocated quota in compliance with the conditions from Article 20, paragraph 6, of the present Act, shall be fined RSD 100,000 to 1,000,000 for a misdemeanor.

A sole trader, i.e. responsible official in a legal person shall be fined RSD 10,000 to 100,000 for the misdemeanor referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

Article 48

A legal person found to be violating the prescribed conditions for using the permits issued pursuant to Article 22 of the present Act shall be fined RSD 100,000 to 1,000,000 for a misdemeanor.

A sole trader, natural person, i.e. responsible official of a legal person shall be fined RSD 10,000 to 100,000 for the misdemeanor referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

Article 48a

A legal person found to be providing incorrect data in its request, i.e. documentation from Article 23 of this Act shall be imposed with a fine for the misdemeanor in the amount of RSD 100,000 to 1,000,000.

A sole trader, natural person, i.e. responsible official in a legal person shall be fined RSD 10,000 to 100,000 for the misdemeanor referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

If the misdemeanor referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article was made without intent to deceive or gross negligence, the offender may be subject to a reprimand.

Article 49

A legal person which is exporting, i.e. importing the goods, and paying, i.e. charging for services in foreign trade in goods or services, and is not acting in compliance with the conditions laid down in the document issued on the basis of Article 37, paragraph 2, of the present Act, shall be fined RSD 100,000 to 1,000,000 for the misdemeanor.

A sole trader, i.e. responsible official of a legal person shall be imposed with a fine in the amount of RSD 10,000 to 100,000 for the misdemeanor referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

Article 50

A legal person which fails to perform the obligation of keeping the records of and reporting on a certain foreign trade transaction, as provided by Article 40, paragraph 1 of the present Act, shall be fined RSD 100,000 to 1,000,000 for the misdemeanor.

A sole trader, i.e. responsible official of a legal entity shall be imposed with a fine of RSD 10,000 to 100,000 for the misdemeanor referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

Article 51

The Ministry of Finance - Foreign Currency Inspectorate is in charge of deciding in the first-instance regarding the misdemeanors referred to in Arts. 47 through 50.

X TRANSITIONAL AND CONCLUDING PROVISIONS

Repealed Regulations

Article 52

As of the day the present Act enters into force the Foreign Trade Operations Act ("Official Herald of RS", No. 101/05) is repealed.

The provisions of Article 30, item 8), and Article 38 of the Ministries Act ("Official Herald of RS", No. 65/08) are repealed as of the day of registration of the Agency referred to in Article 42 of the present Act.

Pending the enactment of the regulations for implementation of the present Act, the regulations enacted on the basis of the Foreign Trade Act ("Official Herald of RS", No. 101/05) shall be applicable.

Entry into Force

Article 53

The present Act enters into force on the eighth day upon publication in the "Official Herald of the Republic of Serbia".

 

Independent Article of the Act to Amend and Supplement the Foreign Trade Act

("Off. Herald of RS", No. 88/2011)

Article 24

This Act enters into force on the eighth day after the day of publication in the "Official Herald of the Republic of Serbia", and shall be applicable as of 1 February 2012.