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Editorial

Legal market overview

Ecuador has been riding a steady wave of economic growth since the global financial crisis in 2009, yet a 50% drop in oil export prices – petroleum resources account for at least 50% of the country's export earnings and roughly two-fifths of public sector revenue – are slowing down the heavily-oil-dependent nation. After eight years in power, left-leaning president Rafael Correa is set to further extend his period in office with the help of a constitutional-reform initiative that seeks to remove presidential term limits. Even though public debt has risen quite substantially, Finance Minister Fausto Herrera vowed to refrain from public spending cuts and so Ecuador has turned, once more, to China for loans, this time totalling $7.5 billion.
‘The Law for Labour Justice and Recognition of Work from Home’, an overhaul of the 1938 labour code, accounts for the most significant legislative change this year. The reform, which has already passed the National Assembly, establishes that all new labour contracts signed as of January 1, 2016 will be indefinite rather than fixed-term. It is hoped that the reform will help reduce public debt since it includes the removal of a government subsidy meant to cover almost half of state pensioners’ monthly payments. While the reform provoked conflict between Ecuador’s biggest trade union, United Workers’ Front, and the employers’ side, it has generated considerable advisory work for law firms and observers note the reform has increased the flexibility of a historically entrenched market, bringing a positive impact on the economy. Certainly Ecuador’s law firms are looking to bolster their labour departments in order to deal with an increased volume of work. Among other relevant legislative changes is the upcoming enactment of a single General Procedural Code, which will simplify and modernise contentious practice in Ecuador by replacing the numerous litigation codes with a single unified one, and also allowing virtual file access. Jaramillo Dávila Abogados acted as the main advisor to the government in the conceptualisation of the code, which has already been approved by the National Assembly.
Well-established firms Fabara AbogadosBustamante & Bustamante and Pérez Bustamante & Ponce stand at the forefront of loan-agreements between foreign lenders and the Ecuadorian government. Bustamante & Bustamante, for example, provided initial advice to state-entity PetroEcuador on a $1bn loan from Noble Americas, with Fabara Abogados susbsequently acting as local counsel for the closure of the deal as well as provided relevant legal opinions; Pérez Bustamante & Ponce meanwhile, advised the Export-Import Bank of China on a $510m loan agreement to the Republic of Ecuador. The likes of Corral Rosales Carmigniani Pérez and Coronel & Pérez follow suit in key mid-market positions. Arguably the most significant market movement is the arrival of originally-Uruguayan firm Ferrere, which has added an Ecuadorian office to those in Uruguay, Bolivia and Paraguay; much of the firm comes from the division of the former Paz Horowitz Roablino Garcés into Paz Horowitz Abogados, on the one hand, and Ferrere, on the other – although it has also recruited individuals from other market leading firms. At the boutique-end of the spectrum, there are key players in each of the ‘transversal’-market sectors: Jaramillo Dávila Abogados in the labour sector; Bermeo & Bermeo Law Firm in intellectual property; and Tax & Legal Advisors in the fiscal arena.

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    On average, male employees are paid more than female employees. In 2015, men working full-time were paid approximately 9.4% more than women working full-time. As a result, the government is working to introduce measures with the aim of reducing this gap.
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    One of the biggest news reports in the region last week was the acquisition of Porto Montenegro , the luxury yacht marina located in Tivat, by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). The marina was handed over to the new owners during a press conference at the Regent Hotel, where the accompanying protocol was signed by ICD's Executive Director, Sheikh Mohammed Al Shaibani, and the CEO of the marina's previous owner – Adriatic Marinas, Oliver Corlette. The conference was also attended by the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Milo Đukanović, and the Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Branimir Gvozdenović.
  • Insolvency Update: Changes that take effect from April 2016

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  • The Apprenticeship Levy

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  • https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2016/04/28/Competition-Commission-Joins-Forces-with-t

    Another piece of news related to our competition team in Serbia are the recent signings of a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement of Cooperation in the field of forensics between the Commission for the Protection of Competition and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).
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    The Sarajevo Business Forum 2016 (SBF) was, among hosting a number of lectures and discussions, a platform for one of the largest post-war investments in the energy sector in Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH). The reason for this can be found in the latest reports that an agreement was reached for the EUR 722 million construction of Thermal Power Plant Tuzla's Block 7 between Elektroprivreda BiH and the China Gezhouba Group Corporation , with the official MoU signing taking place on the first day of the SBF 2016. The project financier for the deal in question will be the Export Import Bank of China (EXIM), and the repayment period – together with a five-year grace period, is reported to be 15 years.
  • Karanović & Nikolić Attends Commission’s Anniversary

    ​Karanović & Nikolić attorneys were among the guests at the Republic of Serbia's Commission for the Protection of Competition's 10 year anniversary celebration, which also included an international conference on the topic of the law and policy of competition protection. The conference was opened by Deputy Prime Minister, Prof. Dr Kori Udovički, President of the Commission for Protection of Competition, Dr Miloje Obradović, President of the National Assembly's Committee for Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy, Dr Aleksandra Tomić, and European Union Delegate, Steffen Hudolin.