New Competition Regulation in the United Arab Emirates - Considerations for Commercial Practices and Transactions

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This briefing identifies the types of practices and transactions in which domestic competition law might be relevant to doing business in the United Arab Emirates (the UAE) in light of the new federal competition law set to take effect on 23 February 2013. Of particular note, certain commercial practices such as cartels and bid rigging, which up to now have escaped competition law sanctions, will be subject to potential criminal penalties (through substantial fines). Mergers and other forms of business combination, meeting certain thresholds, will be subject to mandatory notification and suspension prior to approval.

Introducing the UAE’s New Competition Law -

In the UAE, competition legislation was historically contained in a series of consumer protection related regulations which fell short of creating a significant regulatory framework to encourage and safeguard competition within the state. On 10 October 2012 that changed, as the UAE passed Federal Law No. 4/2012 on the regulation of competition (the Competition Law) which aims to protect and enhance competition within the state. The Competition Law is a significant piece of legislation and will have an impact on commercial practice and transactions in the UAE, both for local and international companies.

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