Protect competition and prevent monopolistic practices’ committee
About the Committee
In line with the efforts of the State of Qatar to protect economic competition and fight which interfere with the principles of a free market economy, Amiri Decree No. (19) was issued in 2006 with the aim of protecting economic competition and preventing monopoly practices which are defined in articles No. (3) and (4) of the aforementioned law.
Article No (7) of the same law stipulates the formation of a committee entitled “Competition Protection and Antimonopoly Committee.” The committee is affiliated with the Minister of Economy and Commerce and includes economic, financial and legal experts.
The Committee comprises the following members:
- A private sector representative who is nominated as president by the Minister of Economy and Commerce
- Two representatives of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce among whom one is named as vice president
- A representative of the Energy and Industry Ministry
- A representative of the Finance Ministry
- A representative of the Ministry of Justice
- A representative of Qatar Central Bank
- A representative of the General Authority of Customs and Ports
- Two experts nominated by the Minister of Economy and Commerce
Each relevant party nominates its representatives on the committee. The president, vice president and members of the committee are appointed by a decision issued by the Minister of Economy and Commerce. The committee’s secretariat comprises one or more employee from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce who are assigned by the minister.
Working towards free competition based on advanced rules far from monopoly practices.
The Committee’s vision is to promote economic competition and fight monopoly practices by taking the appropriate measures based on market research and available data concerning economic activity in the State of Qatar.
The Committee’s objectives include:
- Raising awareness about the importance of fair competition in terms of ensuring fair prices and high quality goods and products
- Preventing monopoly practices that negatively affect fair competition
- Creating an integrated and complete database related to economic activity in the State of Qatar as to facilitate the work of the committee in terms of promoting fair competition and preventing monopoly practices
- Building highly qualified and skilled cadres capable of conducting academic research and studies
- Liaising with counterpart committees in other countries to discuss issues of common interest
- Contributing to the development of legal frameworks to ensure fair competition and prevent monopoly practices
The committee’s jurisdiction is defined in article (8) of law number (19) issued in 2006:
The committee’s jurisdiction include the following:
Preparing a database that includes comprehensive information regarding economic activity in Qatar and updating it regularly to facilitate the work of the committee in promoting fair competition and preventing monopoly practices and conducting the necessary research.
Receiving complaints regarding violations of law (19), verifying their authenticity and taking the appropriate measures.
Coordinating with counterparts in other countries over issues of common interest.
Issuing a regular newsletter that outlines the decisions, recommendations and measures taken by the committee.
Preparing an annual report to be submitted to the Minister of Economy and Commerce and referred to the Council of Ministers about the committee’s activities, recommendations and future plans.
Giving advice concerning draft laws and proposals related to economic competition and antimonopoly practices.
In relation to supervising the conduct of local market dealers, the committee exercises its authority in 4 areas:
Complaints and objections received from economic bodies and concerned individuals and parties about violations of law (19) issued in 2006.
Cases that are automatically handled by the committee in the absence of a complaint as well as taking the initiative to promote competition in certain economic sectors.
Notices received by the committee about mergers and acquisitions, asset purchases or stock purchases that might result in monopoly practices in violation of article 10 of law 19.
Evaluating requests referred by the Minister of Economy and Commerce to exempt agreements in accordance with article (5) of law number 19 issued in 2006
The committee’s voting rules and its bylaws guarantee the impartiality of the committee when reviewing cases whereby the session quorum is an absolute majority of the twelve members who form the committee. Members of the committee who have an interest in a case or with fourth degree relationship to an individual who has an interest in the case under review by the committee are prohibited from participating in discussions or voting.
Members of the committee, employees and ministry delegates are prohibited from disclosing any information or data related to the work of the committee or sources of information in previous cases and cases under review. It is also prohibited to use any information or data or sources of information for a purpose other than the intended submission purpose.
The committee is committed to conducting its work in a transparent manner whereby it issues a regular newsletter that outlines all decisions, recommendations and measures that it has taken. The committee also prepares an annual report about its activities, future plans and recommendations to be submitted to the Minister of Economy and Commerce and referred to the Council of Ministers.
The committee is also required to submit quarterly reports to the Minister of Economy and Commerce over the progress of its work and the challenges it is facing.
The committee aims to ensure an adequate work environment for its employees and delegates as to ensure work efficiency and productivity. To accomplish this objective, the committee hires highly skilled and well reputed individuals, offering them the opportunity to develop their skills through participation in regular training programs and workshops both locally and abroad.
On the other hand, employees and delegates commit to upholding work ethics and performing their duties efficiently whether internally or when dealing with external parties.
Principles of fair competition
The set of laws and regulations aimed at bolstering a free market economy and preventing monopoly practices
The ability of a single individual or a group of individuals to control a market to purchase a good or service, granting him the power to manipulate prices and exclude competitors.
A relevant market is a market in which a particular product or service is sold. It is the intersection of a relevant product market and a relevant geographic market.
The relevant product depends on the possibility for consumers to buy substitute goods and the ability for other firms to supply those products.
The geographic market is the area in in which the firms are involved in the supply of products or services and in which the conditions of competition are sufficiently homogeneous.
Frequently Asked Questions
These questions and answers aim to provide an overview above the Competition and Antimonopoly law and its implementation in the State of Qatar. However, the FAQ is neither considered a legal interpretation of the law nor an alternative to it.
Law number (19) issued in 2006 aims to provide a mechanism of work to fight monopoly practices. It also aims to promote fair economic competition in the context of transparent markets that enable businesses to compete freely and consumers to benefit from such competition. In this regard, the Competition and Antimonopoly law in Qatar outlines the principles of economic competition in Qatar.
The law applies to all activities (undertaken by factories, institutions and companies) across all economic sectors (industrial, commercial, agricultural or services) in violation of fair competition regulations and influence the market.
The law applies to all violations that influence the local market, including violations committed by institutions based outside Qatar.
Are there any exemptions to the law?
The law exempts state actions and institutions under the supervision of the State. The minister has also the right to exempt agreements that promote consumers’ welfare.
Who is responsible for enforcing the law?
The Competition Protection and Antimonopoly Committee is responsible for enforcing the law. Article (7) of the law stipulates the formation of the committee whose members include financial, legal and economic experts as well as the representatives of the ministry and concerned parties. The committee was formed in accordance with decision (105) issued in 2008. The committee conducts its work with the help of the Competition Protection department. Amiri decree number (20) issued in 2014 in relation to the organizational structure of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce outlines the area of competence of the department.
What is the area of competence (jurisdiction) of the Competition protection and Antimonopoly committee?
Article 8 of the law defines the jurisdiction of the committee as follows:
Preparing a database that includes comprehensive information of economic activity in Qatar and updating it regularly to facilitate the work of the committee in promoting fair competition and preventing monopoly practices. Conducting the necessary research. Receiving complaints regarding violations of law (19), verifying their authenticity and taking the appropriate measures. Coordinating with counterparts in other countries over issues of common interest. Issuing a regular newsletter that includes the decisions, recommendations and measures taken by the committee. Preparing an annual report to be submitted to the Minister of Economy and Commerce and referred to the Council of Ministers about the committee’s activities, recommendations and future plans. Giving advice over draft laws and proposals concerning economic competition and antimonopoly practices.
Which practices are banned under the Competition Protection law?
The law bans all agreements that aim to limit competition or result in monopolies. Institutions that have a dominant position in the market are also prohibited from abusing this position. It is important to note that institutions are allowed to have a dominant position but are not entitled to abuse this position.
What are the penalties for violating the law?
The law stipulates the following penalties for violating its provisions:
Any person who commits a violation of the provisions of this law is fined an amount not less than a hundred thousand rial and not exceeding five million rial. In all cases, the court shall confiscate all profits resulting from activities in violation of the provisions of this law. (Article 17)
What are the measures taken by the committee when a violation is proven?
When a violation is proven, the committee shall issue a warning to the person responsible for committing the violation, requiring him to comply with the law immediately or within a certain deadline.
If the person responsible for committing the violation fails to comply with the law within the appointed deadline, the committee refers the case to the Minister of the Economy and Commerce, who in turns refers the case to the judiciary.
Should institutions planning mergers and acquisitions inform the committee of their intent?
Institutions that are planning to acquire assets or intellectual property rights or shares or undergo mergers and acquisitions that result in a dominant market position should inform the committee of their decision in writing. The law ensures the quick processing of applications in less than 90 days following their submission to the committee. If the committee fails to process the application within a 90-day deadline, the application is deemed approved.
How is the law enforced?
The law is enforced by the committee in two ways:
The committee takes the initiative to investigate any violations of the provisions of the law.