As reported earlier, Serbia is in the process of completing its block exemption system by adopting four new block exemption regulations. The first two on the list are block exemptions governing technology transfer and transport by rail, road and inland waterway, respectively, the drafts of which are now out.
In drafting the regulations, the Serbian Competition Commission relied heavily on EU law. Specifically, the draft block exemption on technology transfer is in large part a translation of EU Commission Regulation 316/2014 while the draft regulation concerning transport by rail, road and inland waterway is more-less a copy of EU Council Regulation 169/2009.
There are also some substantive differences between the drafts and their EU models. For instance, in the draft block exemption on technology transfer, the market share threshold for exemption of agreements between non-competitors is set at 25%, which is more stringent than the 30% threshold in the relevant EU regulation. While the rationale for having such stricter thresholds is not entirely clear, the approach is in line with the Serbian general block exemption of vertical agreements, where the exemption threshold is also set at 25%.
Interested parties can submit their comments to the Competition Commission, which prepared the drafts, by September 27. Judging by similar occasions in the past, submitting a comment is worthwhile, as the Commission can be expected to seriously consider all comments it receives.
Once the two block exemptions are adopted, the remaining two block exemptions which have been announced, on agreements in the insurance sector and motor vehicle sectors, respectively, will probably follow shortly. Together with the announcement of the drafting of a brand new Competition Act, this fall promises to be an interesting one in Serbian antitrust.