The UAE unveiled a slew of measures to streamline businesses and facilitate services for consumers in the country, in line with the international digital commerce trends.

It also announced a new law, adopting a flexible approach to legislation, to emphasise the key role of entities and authorities responsible for licensing and regulating e-commerce, as well as the associated logistic services and digital payment gateways.

The new law does not impose any additional requirements on digital traders or providers of other services.

It also protects consumer interests by safeguarding intellectual property rights and the purchase of goods or services through modern technology means.

The latest initiative legally authorises trade conducted through modern technology means, making it similar to trade conducted through traditional methods and conventional procedures and provides optional jurisdictions for dispute resolution, including arbitration.

It also introduces the optional insurance coverage principle regarding obligations arising from trade through modern technological means.

Key highlights of new e-commerce regulations

The other salient features of the new, announced by the Ministry of Economy in a media briefing on Wednesday to introduce the Federal Decree-Law No. 14 of 2023 include:

  • Integrating roles of federal and local entities involved in the entire e-commerce value chain, enabled by flexible legislation for those entities, starting from the requirements of the Central Bank on digital payment gateways, followed by the requirements of the Federal Tax Authority and the TDRA, in addition to the security requirements of federal and local entities regarding cybersecurity.
  • Regulating the shared roles of the concerned federal and local entities with regard to the requirements and necessary approvals from the local entities concerned with the digital transformation of business activities and the e-commerce licensing requirements of economic development departments.
  • Creating an optional authority for the integration of supervisory, regulatory, and judicial control operations.
  • Organising the relationship between the merchants (B2B) and the relationship between the digital merchant and the consumer (B2C).
  • Making it applicable to free zones in the country, in addition to financial free zones, regarding activities that are not related to financial activities.
  • Organising the relationship between parties of digital contracts and protects online consumers and relevant parties.

The law is aimed to stimulate trade growth through advanced technologies and the development of smart infrastructure in the country.

Besides, it is to support the UAE’s attractiveness to investments and enhance its leadership as a global business and trade hub.

New e-commerce law integral to UAE’s economic development

Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, emphasised that the UAE is steadily transitioning to a new economic model that has resilience, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking as its key pillars.

Moreover, the country boasts a competitive and flexible economic, and legislative environment at the regional and global levels and offers an attractive business climate for entrepreneurs, investors and entrepreneurs from around the world, he said.

“We are witnessing a new milestone in the country’s efforts to achieve sustainable economic and social development through the promulgation of the new law for e-commerce.

“The law forms part of the integrated legislative updates undertaken by the UAE government to accelerate the transition towards a new economic model and achieve higher levels of competitiveness for the country’s business and trade environment,” Al Saleh said.

He also said the new law is an integrated framework for the development of the legislative and regulatory environment for trade conducted via modern technical means in the country, in line with global best practices in this regard.

“It will help our efforts to achieve the national target of raising the UAE’s position to the number one ranking globally in the development of proactive legislation governing new economic sectors, in the light of the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision,” he added.

Al Saleh said the new law is particularly important as it is the UAE’s main federal legislation governing e-commerce as it has been designed to enhance the business environment in the country by facilitating the conduct of business and contracting, enhancing its efficiency, reducing the cost of doing business, and enhancing stability.

The Ministry of Economy worked alongside its federal and local stakeholders and in partnership with the private sector and relevant experts to develop the articles of the law in a forward-looking and flexible manner.