Newsletter December 2018

Legal Updates

The new legal regime for payment services and electronic cur

On the 13th of November 2018, the New Legal Regime for Payment Services and Electronic Currency entered into force, transposing EU Directive 2015/2366, which regulates the payment institutions’ access to this activity, as well as the electronic currency institutions’ access to this activity and the provision of electronic currency issuing services. It is aimed at promoting a more innovative, competitive and secure payment market.

A prior authorization from the Bank of Portugal is required for the incorporation of payment and electronic currency institutions, which implies a number of conditions, including: (i) legal type of limited liability or private limited company; (ii) share capital of at least €350,000.00; (iii) main and effective headquarters of its Administration in Portugal (and carrying out part of its main activity in the territory); (iv) suitability, qualification and professionalism of members of the administration and supervisory boards; among others. These requirements are of continuous compliance.

The Bank of Portugal shall issue its decision within 3 months after receiving all the necessary information and documentation. Subsequently, a special registration with the Bank of Portugal will be required to start the activity.


Creation of a council of financial guarantees for export and investment

The Council of Financial Guarantees for Export and Investment starts operations as early as 2019.

In view of the national economy’s progress and in an effort of internationalisation of the Portuguese companies and promotion of exports, it was deemed necessary to create this entity.

Its objective is to support the Government in pursuit of the State’s policy of providing guarantees to loans and insurance operations relating to exports and foreign direct investment. It is in the light of this intention that the Decree-Law No. 94/2018, published on the 14th of November, creates the Council of Financial Guarantees for Export and Investment.

The purpose of this advisory and monitoring body is to propose to the Government policy principles and guidelines for insurances with personal guarantees from the State. In addition, it will give non-binding opinions on the operations analysed by the Director-General of the Treasury and Finance (DGTF).

The new Council therefore aims to streamline credit insurance mechanisms and to ensure the necessary coordination with government policies with the general EU and OECD guidelines.


Business Updates

Portugal fights medication counterfeiting

The Convention of the European Council on Medications Counterfeiting and Similar Infringements Involving Threats to Public Health has already been approved by Portugal.

This international instrument, commonly referred to as the MEDICRIME Convention, covers medicinal products and medical devices, whether or not protected by intellectual property rights, including active substances, excipients and instruments used in production.

In view of the growing reality of medication purchases outside the licensed and controlled markets, namely through the Internet, the MEDICRIME Convention seeks to define effective mechanisms for the investigation, combat and prevention of counterfeit medications and medical devices by criminalizing their distribution and sale.

The MEDICRIME convention is open to non-European countries and the approval will allow for improved cooperation between Member States in fighting this global phenomenon, which creates a high risk for public and individual public health.

We recall that in October the international operation PANGEA XI took place, which involved 116 countries and culminated with 859 detainees and more than 10 million units of counterfeit medicines seized, worth over 12 million euros. The main target of the operation was organized crime in illegal drug trafficking online, namely illegal domain registration, electronic payment services and postal delivery


Government grants 130 million euros to tourism companies

An entrepreneur who has a business in the tourism sector can now benefit from a credit line provided by the Portuguese Government to finance companies in this sector.

The announcement of this program was made in November, having the Prime Minister highlighted that the €130 million stimulation is aimed at supporting the creation and re-qualification of companies and enterprises with a touristic interest throughout the country. “Capitalizar Turismo” is the designation of this new program developed by the Government in partnership with Turismo de Portugal, Sociedade Portuguesa de Garantia Mútua and the financial system. This credit pack may also finance existing short and medium-term debt and of which service is considered to be too high.

This new credit line will have conditions especially adapted to the tourism sector, including long-term maturities, repayment terms of up to fifteen years and grace periods of four years. The main idea is to foster the financial autonomy of tourism companies and allow innovation and training in the tourism sector, in order to attract new events and markets.