In cooperation with the USAID and E-commerce association of Serbia, the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications published Guidelines for e-commerce, for the purpose of stimulating the development of e-commerce in Serbia.
Sudden growth of the need for e-commerce was unavoidable in the times of the pandemic, hence most activities were redirected to an online environment, which largely helped the retention of social and economic operation in the pandemic circumstances.
What is the purpose of the guidelines and who is it intended for?
The aim of the Guidelines for e-commerce is to inform the business community about the importance of entering the e-commerce, particularly in the circumstances of changes and challenges for the traditional model of business caused by the pandemic, to provide clear procedures and examples for starting the e-commerce and to advise the market participants by addressing them with solutions that support that process.
Therefore, the guidelines will answer the questions as to how traders can register for e-sale, which form to register, which website and what platform to use, how to advertise, how to deliver products etc.
The Guidelines for e-commerce are primarily intended for beginners: both those who are about to register and start trading through the Internet, as well as the business entities that are already in business but wish to start e-business or to add e-commerce as a new sales channel in addition to the existing traditional sale.
Also, these guidelines also contain the initial experiences of individual traders and useful examples from e-business practice.
What is electronic trade?
In accordance with Article 17 of the Law on Trade (“Official Gazette of RS” no. 52/2019) electronic trade is a form of remote trade that is performed so that the goods/services are offered, ordered and sold through the Internet.
According to the Guidelines for e-commerce, the electronic trade includes the processes of purchase, sale, transfer or exchange of products, services and information through the Internet.
The Guidelines further make the difference between:
- Electronic trade between business entities (B2B);
- Electronic trade between a business entity and individual consumer (B2C)
Although B2B form of e-commerce still represents the dominant component of overall electronic trade, e-commerce is fully affirmed only with the flourish of B2C e-commerce. This is why the guidelines primarily focus on B2C electronic trade i.e. how a business entity should sell goods or services to consumers.
Advantages of trade in form of e-commerce
The Guidelines provide the advantages for business entities that opt to sell their products through electronic channels, including:
- Access to a much greater number of buyers;
- Lower costs of business start-up;
- Possibility to adjust to the requirements of buyers and other persons interested in e-commerce;
Issuance of electronic invoices
Namely, in accordance with Article 9, paragraph 3. of the new Law on Accounting (“Official Gazette of RS” no. 73/2019), starting from January 1, 2022, all legal entities and entrepreneurs will have to issue (prepare and deliver) invoices exclusively in electronic form.
As indicated in the guidelines, such change will further improve digitisation and provide another strong incentive to electronic business.
This article is to be considered as exclusively informative, with no intention to provide legal advice. If you should need additional information, please contact us directly.
By Natalija Djukic, Associate, PR Legal