Wolf Theiss has announced that the firm's Zagreb branch successfully assisted Split-based Adria Steel in enabling customs-free exports of Croatia-produced steel products to Algeria. Adria Steel is wholly-owned by Techcom.
Although Croatia joined the EU on July 1, 2013, the Algerian customs authorities had failed to extend the application of the EU/Algeria Association Agreement to Croatia and continued to impose a 15% customs tariff on Croatian steel products. Adria Steel sees Algeria as a critical market, and the imposition of the customs tariff made the company less competitive than its major EU competitors.
According to Wolf Theiss, the firm "directly engaged with senior officials from the European Commission and Croatian Government to find a remedy," and "potential proceedings against the European Commission before the European Courts in Luxembourg were also explored." The results were successful, as free access to the Algerian market was secured. Wolf Theiss released a statement explaining that "the removal of those discriminatory barriers for Croatian steel producers is an important milestone for Adria Steel in resuming full capacity production and employment and being able to announce further investments in modernizing its facility. These developments further Adria Steel's goal of becoming one of the ten best and most profitable steel producers in Europe."
The Wolf Theiss team was led by Silvije Cvjetko with the support of Dora Gazi Kovacevic, Andrej Bolfek and Luka Colic.
Edgar Schumacher, the CEO of Adria Steel, commented: "We really appreciated Wolf Theiss' know-how on EU law, contacts with the competent authorities, and excellent German speaking capabilities. They really provided expert and wide-ranging support and were crucial in getting us to the right result. We would also like to thank the Croatian Minister for Economy, Ivan Vrdoljak, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Vesna Pusic, and their hardworking teams in Zagreb, Brussels and Algeria, for such invaluable help. Their efforts have directly led to more Croatian jobs and investment."
Silvije Cvjetko of Wolf Theiss added: "Our immediate attention to this matter, in-depth understanding of the client’s business and positions, regular intense interaction with the responsible EU and Croatian officials, and, most importantly, not taking 'no' for an answer, led to the positive resolution of this matter."