Economy and Industry Ministry to Ask Cabinet to Declare Force Majeure

NW 19:57:01 16-03-2022

Economy and Industry Ministry
to Ask Cabinet
to Declare Force Majeure

Sofia, March 16 (BTA) - Bulgaria's Economy and Industry Ministry will approach the Council of Ministers with a proposal to adopt a decision declaring force majeure for all sectors, effective retroactively from February 24 to March 31, 2022, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy and Industry Minister Korneliya Ninova told the National Assembly Economic Policy and Innovation Committee here on Wednesday.

"We are doing our utmost to help Bulgarian companies and the economy," Ninova stressed, adding that the proposal has been finalized and will be discussed and put to vote at the next Cabinet meeting.

The Commerce Act defines force majeure as "an unforeseen or unavoidable event of an extraordinary nature which has occurred after the conclusion of a contract." Force majeure exempts either or both contracting parties from liability for non-performing a contractual obligation when this performance is prevented by an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, epidemic or sudden legal changes.

Answering a question from an MP, Ninova said she was not aware if other EU Member States had declared force majeure, but the issue has been raised in different formats in Brussels.

Bulgaria's trade and economic services in the countries producing goods affected by the war in Ukraine are exploring options for supplies from alternative manufacturers and along alternative routes. The survey is being conducted jointly with Bulgarian companies as well. Businesses in almost all sectors are concerned about the rising prices of raw materials, Ninova said. Her Ministry's trade representatives abroad are available to assist businesses in negotiating or renegotiating their contracts, decision, she added.

Almost all companies have raised the need of declaring force majeure. If this is done, companies can terminate their contracts on eased terms, avoid penalties, and settle their contractual relations alternatively because almost all international contracts provide for renegotiation options and a possibility to defer penalties in force majeure, the Deputy PM explained.

She recalled that supply chains are vital for companies. "When the delivery of a specific commodity is halted, companies are unable to perform their contracts and incur compensations and penalties, but they are relieved of this if force majeure measure is declared," Ninova said. RY/KK/LG//