Newsletter September 2020

Legal Updates

Legal protection for the the wine sector reinforced

Decree-Law no. 61/2020 of August 18 was recently published, establishing a new institutional organization for the wine sector and the respective legal regime in Portugal, reinforcing the level of legal protection of designations of origin and geographical indications. This diploma aims to promote the strengthening of self-regulation of the sector, based on the interprofessional model, and the clarification of the attributions and powers of the entities that perform functions delegated by the State, including their legal powers, responsibilities and duties of cooperation.

The law in question, which revises the previous Decree-Law 212/2004, extends the scope of the designations of origin and geographical indications to the goods and services associated with their name, giving the managing entities flexibility to define complementary rules, in addition to the applicable horizontal principles, and creating a Monitoring Commission for specialized support and consultation. As it is well known, designations of origin and geographical indications, when registered, become an Industrial Property Right, which gives legitimate users the possibility to react against improper and abusive use in products that discredit them.


Commission limitations on MB Way and banking installments

On January 1, 2021 new rules come into force putting an end to the various bank charges on the MB Way (within certain limits) and also establishing the end of certain credit charges.

Regarding the MB Way, the Law 53/2020 of August 26 prohibits the existence of bank commissions for certain operations of low value, with an operation limit of 30 euros, a monthly limit of 150 euros, and up to 25 transfers per month. Above these transfers, a maximum fee of 0.2% may be applied for debit cards and 0.3% for credit cards. Meanwhile in the minimum bank service accounts, the end of commissions on transfers through payment applications will have a monthly limit of five transfers.

Regarding bank commissions on credits, Law No. 57/2020 of August 28 provides for the end of fees related to distrate, i.e. the termination or rescission of the contract, as well as those related to credit renegotiations. The end of the commission for processing of installment only occurs for new contracts.


Business Updates

Rental reduction in shopping centers

Law 27-A/2020, of July 24, amended the State Budget, namely through the addition of article 168 – A, regarding support for the payment of housing and non-housing rents.
Paragraph 5 of this provision states that no minimum rent is payable until December 31st 2020 in cases where specific forms of contracts for the operation of real estate for commerce and services in shopping centers are applicable.

Consequently, the owners of the shopping centers will only be entitled to the payment of the variable component of the rent, calculated on the sales made by the tenant. Nevertheless, the tenants remain responsible for the payment of all contractually agreed expenses, such as common charges and expenses.
A question that has been raised concerns the reconciliation of these legal measures with other measures that have been voluntarily agreed to by the parties prior to the date of entry into force of this law.
Law 27-A/2020, which came into force on July 25, 2020 and is part of the set of exceptional and temporary measures that have been adopted in response to the economic and financial impacts of the current pandemic situation, will certainly have a significant impact on the sector.


National strategy for hydrogen approved

Aligned with the European scenario, on July 30, 2020 the Resolution of the Council of Ministers that establishes the National Strategy for Hydrogen (or EN-H2) was approved.

We highlight the following initiatives:

  • Green hydrogen production anchor project: installation in Sines of an industrial unit with a total capacity in electrometers of at least 1 GW by 2030, based on solar and wind energy.
  • Application to IPCEI Hydrogen to develop the industrial value chain around green hydrogen.

This application may raise investments in the order of 7 to 9 billion euros until 2030, generating a reduction on imports of natural gas between 380 and 740 million euros, and ammonia in the order of 180 million euros.

The decarbonization of the heavy transport sector, the decarbonization of the national industry and the creation of a collaborative laboratory for hydrogen are also foreseen. The adoption of EN-H2 aims to adopt hydrogen and its integration in various sectors, contributing to the goal of carbon neutrality to which Portugal has committed to achieve by 2050.