On February 23, 2013, the United Arab Emirates ("UAE") competition law (the "Law") entered into force. Companies benefited from a six month transition period after the Law entered into force, presumably to enable them to review their current trade practices and ensure that the latter did not constitute anti-competitive practices. However, in practice, due to the delay in issuing implementing regulations, the Law has never been applied so far and, thus, companies have had significantly longer to prepare for the impact of the Law. The UAE competition law and merger control framework is now in place. Although some details of how the rules will be implemented are yet to be clarified, all UAE-based companies and potential bidders for them should now consider carefully how the Law impacts them.

On October 27, 2014, the Cabinet of the UAE (the "Cabinet") adopted implementing regulations of the Law (Cabinet Decision No. 37/2014, the "Implementing Regulations"). The Implementing Regulations set forth additional substantive and procedural provisions. Finally, on April 25 and July 10, 2016, the Cabinet issued two more decisions (Cabinet Decision No. 13/2016 and Cabinet Decision No. 22/2016, the "Thresholds Regulations") that set out the market share thresholds for the application of (i) the de minimis exception (to the prohibition on restrictive agreements and abuse of dominant position) and (ii) merger control rules, as well as the criteria for identifying small and medium undertakings which are exempted from the Law. However, the competition regulator is not yet fully operational and the forms to be employed for the purpose of individual exemption applications and merger control notifications and complaints still need to be released.

This memorandum briefly analyses the main features of the Law, the Implementing Regulations and the Thresholds Regulations.

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October 25, 2016

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