E-commerce in the UAE: relevant laws and regulations impacting the industry

E-commerce in the UAE: relevant laws and regulations impacting the industry 

Al Tamimi & Company published the 2021 issue of its "Venture Capital & Emerging Companies Law Review". The review offers content curated for anyone interested in the world of entrepreneurship, tech disruption and the financing of the coming generation of regional unicorns.

Al Tamimi & Company is a full-service commercial firm with teams offering knowledge, experience and expertise to service and provide best legal solutions to the local VC industry.

Martin Hayward, Head of Technology, Media & Telecommunications, and Willem Steenkamp, Partner Corporate Commercial, take a look at the question:

Based on the success of Amazon.ae, Noon.com, and other platforms in the UAE online marketplace, traditional bricks and mortar retail business are increasingly seeking to establish their own e-commerce portals as an add-on to their existing business models.

However, a successful e-commerce platform involves more than just acquiring a domain name and adding a payment process gateway. Retailers need to make sure that they comply with the legal and regulatory framework surrounding online sales to customers in the UAE.

Some of the key considerations in the context of applicable UAE laws and regulations as they relate to the e-commerce ecosystem include:

Licencing Requirements: Retailers that operate e-commerce platforms need to make sure that they are, in fact, licensed to undertake e-commerce activities as part of their current trade licence.

Terms and conditions of sale: Terms and conditions of sale will govern the way in which the retailer and its online customers will interact with each other in respect of the sale of the retailer’s products online.

Privacy Policy: The most important role for the privacy policy is to provide customers with the confidence that their data will be properly stored, used, protected and done in accordance with the applicable country law.

Electronic Contracting: The emergence of an online marketplace in the UAE resulted in commercial transactions and contracts of sale being concluded electronically.

Copyright: A person (or company) that creates content usually has the legal right to determine whether or not a third party can use that content. This position is generally the case across the world and certainly applies in the UAE.

Content: With different types of content published on its channels, the retailer that operates the e-commerce site is considered to be a publisher of the material, and so may be found liable for that content if it is found to breach the rights of another party, or breaks any laws or regulations.

Marketing: As an e-commerce site will fundamentally contain marketing for goods or services, it will be considered to be advertising and as such will be subject to the NMC advertising regulations that apply to such content.

Social Media: Content laws apply to any such activity, and companies should have effective social media policies in place to regulate use of social media and to ensure that there is a consistent approach with how the business is promoted.


To learn more about each consideration, and how they are applicable to your company, download the full report below and read the article starting page 53:

Tamimi Venture Capital Emerging companies Law review

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