The Regulatory Committee has continued its aim to fulfil its legal supporting function assisting fellow committees and the AmCham Board, and operating as a workshop for many of the most highly skilled practicing attorneys in Hungary and the representatives of AmCham member companies.
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Minister of Justice Judit Varga meets AmCham Regulatory Committee
Judit Varga, Minister of Justice welcomed the delegation of AmCham’s Regulatory Committee led by Committee Chair Gábor Orosz, in her office on 3 March. AmCham’s President, Dr. Farkas Bársony and CEO Irisz Lippai-Nagy were also present at the meeting.
The two parties discussed the Strategic Partnership Agreement that was originally signed in 2011 and renewed lately in 2019 by László Trócsányi, then Minister of Justice, and President Bársony, as a manifestation of a closer cooperation between the business sector and legislators. In the past years, AmCham, representing its members’ interest, regularly consulted with the ministry on different pieces of legislation within the framework of the referred Agreement. Furthermore, the Chamber has submitted several professional opinions to legislators on issues that determine the operation of different actors in the economy and directly affect the country's competitiveness.
The Minister emphasized the importance of the professional input provided by AmCham to the public consultation process of legislative drafts and thanked for the outstanding work of AmCham, and the Regulatory Committee in particular.
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Strategic Partnership Agreement
On January 22, 2019, the Ministry of Justice and AmCham renewed their Strategic Partnership Agreement. The Strategic Partnership Agreement – first signed in 2011, then first renewed in 2014 – ensures that AmCham has a well-established, formal cooperation framework with the Ministry of Justice and can engage in regular and direct consultation on its legislative proposals with Government experts. As a result, AmCham has a solid base to contribute and make an impact on the Hungarian legislation.
Regulatory Committee gives input to modified sectoral legislation related to GDPR
In January, AmCham was also invited to a series of inter-ministerial expert level meetings organized by the Ministry of Justice. AmCham was represented by committee topic leaders Dr. Ádám Liber (Baker McKenzie) and Dr. László Pók (Magyar Telekom) who had the opportunity to present and discuss the business arguments with Ministries in charge of the specific sectoral legislation.
As a result of the dialogue, several AmCham recommendations were incorporated into the draft package of GDPR related modifications in sectoral legislation, that was submitted to the Parliament on 7th of February. AmCham’s proposals were aiming at the formation of a data protection legal environment contributing to the competitiveness of Hungary and at the same time, providing adequate level of protection to data subjects. The recommendations included proposals, among others, regarding the processing of employees’ biometric data and personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences and the processing of personal data concerning health. The Regulatory Committee is committed to continue consultations about future legislative modifications needed in other fields of law to support the sound implementation process of the GDPR.
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GDPR related activities
On February 16, Minister of Justice László Trócsányi and his colleagues welcomed the delegation of AmCham’s Regulatory Committee led by Committee Chair Gábor Orosz and AmCham CEO Irisz Lippai-Nagy in his office. At the meeting, representatives of the Regulatory Committee had the opportunity to discuss the status and hear out the standpoint of Minister Trócsányi and his expert colleagues, including Deputy State Secretary Zoltán Nemessányi and Deputy State Secretary László Péter Salgó, on a number of important legislative pieces. The Committee had reviewed and worked out an AmCham position on 13 different legislative drafts between January 2017 and February 2018. The Minister emphasized the importance of the regular, professional input provided by AmCham to the public consultation process of legislative drafts and thanked for the outstanding work of AmCham, and the Regulatory Committee in particular.
In October 11, 2018, an extraordinary committee meeting was held with the participation of Deputy State Secretary Dr. Zoltán Nemessányi and Chief Advisor to the Minister Dr. Tibor Bogdán to discuss Ministry of Justice’s legislative agenda and priorities for 2018 and 2019.
In January, upon the request of the Ministry of Justice, the Regulatory Committee has compiled and sent a robust package of recommendations on those pieces of sectoral legislation that are relevant and need to be modified in AmCham’s view for the sound implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union (GDPR) in Hungary. The Ministry of Justice channeled our recommendations to the other Ministries in charge of the specific legislation, and to the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (NAIH).
On January 26, Chargé d’Affaires David J. Kostelancik hosted a delegation of the Committee for a Fireside Chat to discuss the committee's work and achievements, and the developments of GDPR legislation in specific.
In February, the Committee’s GDPR topic leads participated in a series of inter-ministerial expert level meetings to discuss and present the AmCham arguments to the ministry representatives. AmCham also channeled input to the Ministry about the legislative harmonization plans in connection to GDPR of other EU nations. Read more: here.
In October, upon the request of the Ministry of Justice, the Committee in cooperation with the Hungarian Competition Law Association has sent a set of recommendations to the draft Hungarian legislation aiming at the review of sectoral rules relating to the EU data protection reform. AmCham’s position focused on topics that are the most relevant for the membership, namely direct marketing, workplace privacy, whistleblowing, health data and consent, pharmacovigilance, telecommunication privacy and energy laws, among others.
On October 18, the University of Szeged and the Ministry of Justice hosted an international conference, focusing on the challenges associated with the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation and the future of data protection, to which the AmCham Regulatory Committee Chair Gábor Orosz was invited to moderate a professional roundtable on the „ Application of the GDPR at enterprises“. Read more: here.
Other topics covered by the committee:
- In February, the Committee has been actively engaged and supported the Ministry of Justice in its work on the planned transposition of the EU Directive on the Protection of Trade Secrets.
- In March, the Committee has prepared and sent a summary and analysis of international bankruptcy and liquidation legislation and procedures to the Ministry.
- In August, the Committee has sent its comments on the planned modification of the legislation on the protection of industrial property rights.
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- In February, upon the request of the Ministry of Justice, the committee sent its feedback on the planned new legislation of Private International Law.
- In February, AmCham sent its comments to the draft legislative sample documents that are to be used by civil organizations at court proceedings. The AmCham position was prepared together with the Governance & Transparency Committee.
- In March, the committee in cooperation with the Hungarian Association of Competition Law sent comments on the draft legislation of General Administrative Regulations, and also on the draft legislation connected to secret data collection related to the new Act on Criminal Proceedings.
- In April, it sent its comments on draft modification of selected pieces of legislation related to strengthening the competitiveness of the Hungarian legislation.
- In May, it sent its comments on the planned modification of the Act XLIX of 1991 on Bankruptcy and Liquidation.
- In June, the Regulatory Committee sent its comments to the Ministry of Justice on draft modification of 21/2006. (V.18.) Decree of the Ministry on company registration procedure and 6/2017. (VI.1.) on provision of headquarters.
- In September, the Regulatory Committee together with the Competitive Workforce Policy Task Force have developed and sent its feedback to the Ministry for National Economy on the planned modification of the law regulating labor safety (Act XCIII of 1993 on Labor Safety), which impacts the regulatory framework of remote work. The Ministry thanked the committee for the input and accepted several of the recommendations.
- In October, in cooperation with the Hungarian Association of Competition Law, the committee sent its feedback to the Ministry of Justice on the planned modification of the Act LVII of 1996 on the Prohibition of Unfair and Restrictive Market Practices.
- Also in October, the committee sent its suggestions to the Ministry on the draft new Act on the protection of business secrecy and undisclosed know-how.
Harmonization of Hungarian law with the GDPR
In early Summer 2017, the committee started discussions on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will be implemented by May 25, 2018, and issues around the harmonization process. In order to better understand priority issues of member companies in relation to the implementation process of GDPR, the committee launched a short, online survey among the membership. More than 60 companies participated in the survey. The findings of the survey were later shared with the Ministry of Justice and the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (NAIH) in order to help decision-makers see the topics where companies would welcome more information and guidelines.
In August, the Regulatory Committee developed a package of recommendations on the planned modification of Act CXII of 2011 on Informational Self-Determination and Freedom of Information (“Privacy Act”) to harmonize Hungarian law with the GDPR. AmCham has sent its position to the Ministry of Justice in early September, advocating for more structured, transparent legislation to make law-interpretation as clear as possible for economic players, and to ensure a more competitive regulatory environment. In September, AmCham was invited to an expert-level meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Justice to discuss the AmCham position in details.
In early October, the committee met with Attila Péterfalvi, president of NAIH and presented the AmCham position on the harmonization of the Hungarian law to GDPR. It shared a summary of the expected responsibilities and requirements of a data protection officer (DPO), a position that will be required by the GDPR, as seen and recommended by committee experts. President Péterfalvi thanked AmCham for its cooperation and invited the committee to give further input and continue consultations.
Following expert level consultations, a working group has been established by the Ministry of Justice to provide a forum for inter-ministerial consultations and to help develop further legislative pieces in different areas of law within the implementation process of GDPR in Hungary. The Regulatory Committee has been invited and will delegate members to this working group. With the professional support of the committee.
AmCham organized a half day conference at the end of November for its members, with the participation of the president of NAIH and László Péter Salgó, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice to provide a platform for discussions on priority issues related to GDPR.
For further information on the GDPR conference, please visit: https://www.amcham.hu/gdpr-high-season-for-preparation
Continued Engagement Of Committee Members
We have experienced a remarkable participation level from our committee members in the course of 2017. These members dedicate their time and resources to a number of projects during the year and contribute to exceptionally high quality internal legal discussions over proposals, while also duly representing AmCham in the Ministry consultations listed above.
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Member companies’ practical experiences in transatlantic data transfer
In March, AmCham has sent input to the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information („NAIH”) on member companies’ practical experiences in transatlantic data transfer in order to support NAIH’s work, while there are great efforts made within the EU and the US to create a new, solid legislative basis for transatlantic data transfer, as soon as possible. In its position, the Chamber stressed the need for a timely solution and the importance of rapid implementation of the new scheme called EU-US Privacy Shield..
On June 6, a delegation of the Regulatory Committee met President of NAIH Attila Péterfalvi and his colleagues to discuss cooperation between the two organizations. The Regulatory Committee closely follows updates in this area and AmCham is dedicated to continue cooperation with NAIH to represent members’ interests.
Draft bill modifying the credit Collateral Register scheme
In April, the Regulatory Committee responded to the Ministry of Justice‘s request for recommendations on the draft bill modifying the credit Collateral Register scheme. In its response, AmCham welcomed the innovation that the new Collateral Register will officially certify the genuine existence of facts recorded in it and the requirement that entries may only be registered, amended or deleted subject to a legal statement, final and binding court order or official resolution. However, the Regulatory Committee opined that the rules of document review provided in the bill are too formal and do not ensure that the main goal set in the general reasoning of the bill is achieved.
New Civil Procedure Code
As requested by the Ministry of Justice, the Regulatory Committee has sent its recommendations on the draft bill on the New Civil Procedure Code (the “New CPC”) to the Ministry in June. The Regulatory Committee has been participating in the legislative reform process preparing the New CPC since early 2015 and had worked out proposals with regards to two specific areas: class action and the direction in substance of the course of proceedings, which was submitted to the Ministry of Justice in October 2015.
Modification of unfair and restrictive market practices legislation
Upon the request of the Ministry of Justice, AmCham has sent its position on the draft modification of the Act LVII of 1996 on Prohibition of Unfair and Restrictive Market Practices in September.The Regulatory Committee discussed key elements of the new legislation with Ministry experts, including Deputy State Secretary Zoltán Nemessányi at a meeting held in October .
Planned revision of legislation pertaining to in-house counsel regulation
The Ministry of Justice began the revision of legislation pertaining to in-house legal counsel this year. The Regulatory Committee has been engaged in active dialogue with representatives of member companies on this issue, and also has reviewed the guiding basic principles specific to planned revision, within the framework of public consultation. The Regulatory Committee will continue to closely follow legislative developments in this area.
Continued engagement of the Committee members
We have experienced a remarkable participation level from our Committee members in the course of 2016. These Committee Members dedicate their time and resources to a number of projects during the year and contribute to exceptionally high quality internal legal discussions over different proposals, all while duly representing AmCham in the Ministry consultations listed above.
The Regulatory Committee as a framework, provides legal professionals with a critical opportunity to discuss and advance common policy issues while exhibiting a strong track record of quality and productivity. As such, our main goal remains to provide well-researched and theoretically grounded, practical materials to reflect the members’ interests appropriately. The Committee also plays an important role by providing support to fellow Committees in legislative related issues, on their request.