Upon the expiry of the 5 years period from the date of entry into force of the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, on one side, and the Republic of Serbia, on the other side (hereinafter: the “SAA”) from 01 September 2018 the advantage for domestic bidders and goods in public procurement procedures in Serbia has been abolished.
In principle, advantage given to domestic bidders in comparison to bidders from all other countries, in public procurement procedures for goods and services, as well as the manner of its application were defined in the Article 86 paragraphs 1 through 4 of the Law on Public Procurements (hereinafter: the “Law”), whereby paragraph 11 of the same Article prescribes that in public procurement procedures that involve bidders from signatory states of the SAA preferences given to domestic bidders will be applied in accordance with the provisions of the SAA.
In this regard, Article 76 of the SAA, related to public procurements, prescribes that upon the entry into force of the SAA, Serbia shall gradually reduce any existing preference given to domestic bidders in accordance with the dynamics specified in the same Article and thus that the preferences will be completely abolished no later than the end of the fifth year following the entry into force of the SAA.
The SAA entered into force on 01 September 2013 on the basis of the publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia dated 05 August 2013. Accordingly, the latest deadline for abolishment of the advantage given to the domestic bidders was 01 September 2018.
On the other hand, preferences given to domestic bidders by Article 86 paragraphs 1 through 4 of the Law will still be applicable in the public procurement procedures that involve bidders from non-EU countries.
However, it should be borne in mind that according to Article 86 paragraph 10 of the Law, in public procurement procedures that involve bidders from signatory states of the Central Europe Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA 2006) no advantage shall be given to domestic bidders.