Enforcement of Competition Rules in the Middle East

Omar Obeidat, Partner, Head of IP & Competition, Al Tamimi & Company, UAE
Moutaz Abdullat, General Counsel, Fererro , UAE

In this piece we address how different the Competition authorities are in the Middle East and highlight those authorities upping their game in enforcement of the competition laws looking at practically how serious the penalties they impose. The Competition Laws in the Middle East are relatively new. As such, with the enactment of these laws over the past two decades, authorities overseeing competition compliance took some time to find its way whether require capacity building and knowledge or training of government staff. Some of these authorities found through practice the need to cooperate with other governmental institutions to improve enforcement while other identified the need to a stronger regulation adding teeth to its enforcement and enabling its officers with greater power. Saudi Arabia having the most sophisticated and impressive enforcement record with Egypt not too far from Saudi Arabia and its clamping down on certain sectors was felt and heard by other sectors. Other countries still struggling to find their way during competition infancy, not really due to lack of powers affirmed under the law, but its strategy, structure, and capabilities may not have been as aggressive as the laws permit. Whether be it legislation review, staff training, or organizational structure, it is important to understand the factors needed to transform the authorities in countries of the Middle East region to adopting more proactive approach.

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UAE Competition Retail August 2022 Vol.15, No. 60, Summer 2022

Omar Obeidat


Omar Obeidat is a Partner in Al Tamimi & Company and the Head of Competition and Intellectual Property and enjoys over 22 years of experience in this field. Omar obtained his LL.B degree in 1996 from Yarmouk University, Jordan, and his LL.M. degree in 1997 from the University of Georgia at Athens, USA and he is qualified before Jordan Bar Association. He advised on a number of areas including Intellectual Property, Competition, Media, Regulatory Affairs and Compliance and Consumer Protection in the UAE as well as the Arab region. Omar had previously advised, with a team of lawyers, the Jordanian Government on the accession to the World Trade Organization. Omar has overseen the Competition Law in the UAE from its inception initially commenting on the draft law to its adoption later on and implementation. In this regard, Omar is quite active in liaising with UAE Competition Authority in addressing compliance or defending clients’ interests. On Competition disputes, Omar was successful in defending a move distributor and cinema operator in the first of its kind Competition Law investigation in the UAE. On merger clearances, Omar was successful in obtaining approval for economic concentration decision by the Minister of economy for Uber acquisition of Careem assets. The significance of this transaction being in a dynamic ever-developing mobility sector and was the first merger control clearance worldwide for this transaction. On the legislative side, Omar assisted in drafting or commenting on Trademarks Regulation, Industrial Property (Design & Patent) Law, Trade Secrets Draft, Competition Law, Cyber Crimes Law, and Plant Varieties Law. Omar has spoken at tens of seminars, conferences, round tables on mostly intellectual property and, is regularly hosted on Televised programs including BBC World; ‘Middle East Business report’, Dubai TV, One TV, Rotana and Abu Dhabi TV, and has extensive publications. Omar sets as the Vice President of AIPPI-UAE national group, and a Board member of Brand Owners Protection Group (BPG). And is a member to many organisations locally and internationally including, and sat on various committees in International Trademarks Association. (INTA). He is also previously served as Trustee and Board member to the Dubai Advisory Board for Intellectual Property. Omar also previously sat as member of the Advisory Board for the Middle East North Africa Franchise Association (MENAFA), and on the Steering Committee for Global Entrepreneurship Monitor-UAE Chapter. Omar is ranked Band 1 in Chambers and Tier 1 in Legal 500, The World Trademark Review ranked Omar as Gold and states “IP head Omar Obeidat is the star of the show; he is strongly endorsed for his anti-counterfeiting know-how and his in-depth understanding of IP law”. Omar was also a Winner of the Client Choice Awards 2015 under the practice Intellectual Property-Trademarks. He was also chosen by Managing Intellectual Property in the IP Stars Handbook of years 2014 through 2019.

Moutaz Abdullat


Moutaz Abdullat is currently employed at Ferrero GAC as General Counsel heading the Legal Department. He is looking after Corporate Governance, Joint ventures and acquisitions, Food Law, Intellectual Property, Data Privacy, Marketing Law and corporate commercial matters. Moutaz obtained his LL.B degree from Jordan and his Master’s Degree in International Business Law from Paris Sorbonne University.



Founded as a family business in Alba, Italy in 1946, Ferrero is the third-largest company in the global chocolate confectionary market, with global sales of over $12 billion, distribution across over 170 countries, and a workforce of more than 30,000 people across 55 countries.

Al Tamimi & Company


Al Tamimi & Company has unrivalled experience, having operated in the region for over 30 years. Our lawyers combine international experience and qualifications with expert regional knowledge and understanding. We are a full-service firm, specialising in advising and supporting major international corporations, banks and financial institutions, government organisations and local, regional and international companies. Our main areas of expertise include arbitration & litigation, banking & finance, corporate & commercial, intellectual property, real estate, construction & infrastructure, and technology, media & telecommunications. Our lawyers provide quality legal advice and support to clients across all of our practice areas. Our business and regional footprint continues to grow, and we seek to expand further in line with our commitment to meet the needs of clients doing business across the MENA region.

UAE Competition Retail August 2022 Vol.15, No. 60, Summer 2022

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