Lebanon has enacted its first long-awaited Competition Law No. 281 which was published in the Official Gazette on 17 March 2022.
The purpose of the Competition Law is to promote and regulate free competition and prohibit trusts, monopolies and cartels. The Law also aims to protect consumers’ rights, achieve economic efficiency, enhance production, innovation, technical development and maintain high quality of products.
Scope of Application
The Competition Law applies to:
- All activities of production, distribution and services carried out within the Lebanese territory, having anti-competitive effects in Lebanon, including economic activities carried out by legal persons of public law or carried out under concession contracts of public service.
- All activities of production, distribution and services carried out outside Lebanon, having anti-competitive effects in Lebanon, taking into account the treaties between Lebanon and the country in which these companies are located;
- Activities involving misuse of intellectual property rights, trademarks, patents and publication rights if they result in anti-competitive effects.
- The Law abolishes exclusive dealerships and exclusive commercial representation as previously protected under Commercial Agency Law No. 34 of 1967.
- The Law establishes the National Competition Commission (Commission) which is an independent legal entity, under the tutelage of the Ministry of Economy and Trade, enjoying administrative and financial independence. The Commission is empowered to inter alia oversee the proper functioning of the markets, promote free competition, and control and evaluate restrictive businesses. The Commission is also vested with the exclusive right to decide on competition matters.
- The Law restricts and regulates anti-competitive practices such as abuse of dominant position and economic concentration. The Law also prohibits agreements, decisions and practices that are anti-competitive.
Retroactive Effect of the Law
This Law shall not apply to activities the practice of which was commenced before the date of its entry into force, and the Commission may not in such cases impose fines except if these practices are still ongoing after that date.
All persons must regularise their situation in accordance with the provisions of the Law within a period not exceeding a year from the date of its entry into force, by revoking or ceasing any existing practice, agreement or arrangement before this date.
For more information, please contact our team at [email protected] .