The export of raw materials, components, semi-finished products and services to the German market has been subject to a new, stricter regime since January 1.
Companies must now prove they are not polluting the environment and respect human rights before they export to Germany, according to Germany’s new law on supply chains. The law does not apply to companies that export finished products, but only to suppliers for large German companies, reports Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS).
“Regarding the protection of employee rights, the law prohibits the use of child labour or any forced labour for that matter and the abuse of private security. It also prescribes the right of employees to associate, to have adequate wages and adequate protection in the workplace, as well as the prohibition of illegal land confiscation”, explains Tanja Lindel, assistant director of the Business Association Sector of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS).
This year, the law applies only to those German companies that employ more than 3,000 people. From 2024, it will also apply to those with more than 1,000 employees. It is expected that a similar export law will soon be adopted in the entire European Union.
When it comes to the law’s environmental provisions, the law relies on three conventions – on the use of mercury, the long-term impact of harmful substances and the transboundary movement of waste and its storage.
“Now, you actually have to prove that not only the production but also the transport of your goods, is completely ‘green’. This means that you can no longer use diesel-powered trucks, but ones that use environmentally friendly fuel. This will, first and foremost, affect all those companies that cooperate with high-tech industries in Germany, such as the metal, electrical and machine-making industry, so almost all branches of industry”, notes Dragoljub Rajić from the Business Support Network.
2,700 companies from Serbia export to Germany, and the number of those which are part of German supply chains is yet to be determined. PKS will open a help desk in March to make it easier for Serbian exporters to adapt to the new German rules.