October 26th, 2023 Legal Updates

Merger control regime in UAE – Briefing of the UAE Merger Control Chambers guide

Four pieces of legislation should be read together to understand the framework of antitrust and merger control in the UAE. This legislation significantly interlinks to display the bigger picture for complying with the antitrust and merger control regulatory requirements. The following list details the relevant legislation, and can be called the “UAE Competition Legislation”:

  • Federal Law No 4 of 2012 concerning the Regulation of Competition (the “Competition Law”);
  • Cabinet Resolution No 37 of 2014 Implementing Regulations of the Competition Law (the “Competition Regulations”);
  • Cabinet Resolution No 13 of 2016 on the Rates and Rules Applying to the Competition Law (the “Competition Threshold Rules”); and
  • Cabinet Resolution No 22 of 2016 on Unified Definition of Small and Medium Enterprises (the “SME Definition Decision”).

The Competition Law and Competition Regulations regulate merger control, prohibitions on antitrust arrangements, and abuse of a dominant position. Abuse of a dominant position includes predatory pricing, discriminating among customers without objective justification, refusal to supply, limiting production, failure to satisfy demand, and tying arrangements.

The Competition Law further provides that the aim of the law is to protect and enhance competition in the UAE and to combat monopoly practices through:

  • providing a stimulating environment for businesses to enhance efficiency, competitiveness and the interest of consumers, and to achieve sustainable development in the UAE; and
  • sustaining a competitive market governed by the market’s mechanisms through the principle of economic freedom by way of banning restrictive agreements, banning the businesses and actions that lead to the abuse of a dominant position, controlling the operations of economic concentrations, and avoiding everything that may create prejudice within, limit, or prevent competition.

Meanwhile, the Competition Threshold Rules define what is meant by “dominance” and set out the relevant antitrust and merger control filing thresholds.

For further information and details, please check our Chambers and Partners 2023 guideline where we provide a wholesome overview of the key takeaways of merger control regime in the UAE, englobing the filing procedure, form of notification, triggering events and thresholds, remedies and regulation of specific industries. Otherwise, feel free to reach out to Alex Saleh (alex.saleh@glaco.com ) or Youself Al Amly (y.alamly@glaco.com).

Authors: Yousef Al Amly, Partner and Rana Moustafa, Associate.