Understanding the UAE’s New Competition Law: A Move Towards Economic Freedom and Fair Play


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Understanding the New Competition Law

What is the New Competition Law?

The UAE has recently introduced a groundbreaking competition law designed to reshape market dynamics and promote fair competition. This law prohibits firms from offering ‘very low’ prices for production, transfer, and marketing, aiming to prevent practices that can harm the market and consumer interests.

Purpose of the Law

The primary goal of this new competition law is to ensure fair competition across all sectors, prevent monopolistic practices, and protect the rights of consumers. By setting clear guidelines and restrictions, the law seeks to create a balanced and competitive market environment.

Key Provisions of the Law

Prohibition of Very Low Prices

One of the notable provisions of the new law is the prohibition of offering very low prices for goods and services. This measure is intended to prevent companies from using predatory pricing strategies that can undermine competitors and distort market conditions.

Defining Competition

The law defines competition as conducting economic activities based on market mechanisms, excluding those that harm trade, development, and consumer interests. This definition emphasizes the importance of maintaining healthy competition while avoiding practices that can negatively impact the market.

Protecting Consumer Interests

Protecting consumer interests is a central focus of the new competition law. By promoting fair competition, the law aims to ensure that consumers have access to a variety of choices and are not subjected to unfair pricing or market manipulation.

Impact on Market Practices

Regulation of Mergers and Acquisitions

The new competition law also addresses mergers and acquisitions (M&As) within the local market. It sets regulations to ensure that M&As do not lead to monopolistic practices or hinder fair competition. Companies engaging in M&As will need to comply with these regulations to maintain market balance.

Monitoring and Inspections

To ensure compliance with the new competition law, the ministry will actively monitor market practices and conduct inspections in collaboration with local authorities. This proactive approach aims to detect and address any violations promptly.

Penalties and Fines

Review of Penalties

The law outlines penalties for companies that violate its provisions. These penalties are currently under review and will be released once approved by the Cabinet. The aim is to establish a robust framework for enforcing compliance and deterring unfair practices.

Approval by the Cabinet

The final approval of penalties and fines rests with the Cabinet. Once approved, these measures will serve as a strong deterrent against violations and ensure that companies adhere to the new competition guidelines.

Economic Concentration Explained

Definition of Economic Concentration

Economic concentration refers to any act resulting in the complete or partial transfer of ownership or usufruct rights of property, rights, equity, shares, or obligations of one establishment to another. This definition highlights the importance of monitoring significant changes in market structure.

Criteria for Economic Concentration

The law takes into consideration various criteria for economic concentration, including the annual sales value of the enterprises involved. This comprehensive approach ensures that the impact on the market is thoroughly assessed.

Annual Sales Value Consideration

Importance of Annual Sales Value

The annual sales value of enterprises is a key factor in evaluating economic concentration. By focusing on sales value, the law ensures that significant market players are appropriately regulated, preventing undue market dominance.

Impact on Economic Concentration Process

Considering annual sales value in the economic concentration process helps maintain a fair market environment. It ensures that larger enterprises do not engage in practices that could stifle competition or harm consumer interests.

Ministry’s Role and Responsibilities

Monitoring Compliance

The ministry plays a crucial role in monitoring compliance with the new competition law. Through regular inspections and oversight, the ministry ensures that companies adhere to the guidelines and maintain fair competitive practices.

Communication with Local Authorities

Effective communication with local authorities is essential for the successful implementation of the new competition law. The ministry collaborates with these authorities to conduct inspections and address any violations promptly.

Encouraging Company Participation

Submitting Views on Economic Concentration

The ministry encourages companies to actively participate in the Application for Economic Concentration project. By submitting their views and feedback, companies can contribute to the development and refinement of the regulatory framework.

Providing Data and Information

Companies are also encouraged to provide relevant data and information that can aid in studying economic concentration requests. This collaborative approach ensures that decisions are based on comprehensive and accurate information.

The UAE’s new competition law marks a significant step towards ensuring fair play in the market. By prohibiting predatory pricing, regulating mergers and acquisitions, and emphasizing the importance of consumer protection, the law aims to create a balanced and competitive market environment. The ministry’s proactive approach to monitoring and enforcement, coupled with the active participation of companies, will play a crucial role in achieving the law’s objectives. As the penalties and fines are finalized, the UAE is poised to strengthen its commitment to fair competition and consumer rights.

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