This news was published in the Consumer Protection Act ("Official Gazette", 236/22) and is in accordance with the decision on the introduction of a second official language from 2019. At that time, in addition to the Macedonian language, Albanian also became an official language in North Macedonia.
In accordance with the Consumer Protection Act, when delivering goods or providing services to the customer, the trader is obliged to provide all documents in the Macedonian and Albanian languages (a language that, according to official data, is spoken by less than 20% of the citizens of North Macedonia).
The law entered into force on November 15, 2022 and applies to products placed on the market from that date. This means that you do not need to change the labels for products that were put on the market before this date.
According to information from the media, in the first six months of use, for products that will not contain bilingual labels, fines won't be issued, but warnings will. After this period, i.e. from May 15 onwards, sentencing will begin:
- Fines range from a minimum of €1,000 for small traders to a maximum of €10,000 for large traders, with additional fines for those responsible.
- Also, a ban on performing activities for a duration of 15 to 30 days can also be issued.
There are therefore more than enough reasons for you to take immediate action.
If you are a distributor of chemicals, this innovation applies to the label as well as to the safety data sheet and other technical documentation for chemicals.
The Law on Chemicals of North Macedonia ("Official Gazette", 145/10, 53/11, 164/13, 116/15, 149/15 and 37/16) stipulates that the labeling of chemicals is carried out in the Macedonian language and in Cyrillic . However, this does not preclude the application of other regulations, including the new Consumer Protection Act and therefore Albanian language.
Just for reference, bilingual labels for chemicals are not something new. Regulations in the European Union, as well as in the countries of the region, provide for the possibility of displaying data in several languages. In this case, the hazard information must be the same in all languages.
Let's look here at the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has as many as three official languages. However, most regulations require that product information be provided in only one of the official languages. You can lear more about chemical regulations in Bosnia here.
In contrast to BIH, the new rules in North Macedonia do not leave the option of choosing a language, but you are obliged to provide information in both official languages.
You need to have this in mind when placing chemicals on the North Macedonian market.
P.S.: If you need help with documentation for chemicals or want to find out what kind of solutions we offer you in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you can contact email@example.com.