The new UAE ecommerce rules represent a major update on what businesses should do on sales, promotions, and sharing of data. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Ecommerce businesses will need to take prior approval from the UAE authorities before they sell or ship in goods into the country that require special approvals.

Only after the approvals are received can they proceed with the transaction. The same stringent requirements come into play in ecommerce firms’ marketing and promotions, as part of the new UAE ecommerce law update.

Another area they need to be careful with is in any sharing of customer generated date.

Ecommerce portals must 'refrain from deceptive practices' or provide false info that does not accurately describe the goods or services. A detailed digital invoice for purchases must be issued at all times.

The law's update represent a major step up in the regulatory environment covering online sales of goods and services, and guarantees inbuilt protection for consumers.

The new law is 'particularly important as it is the main federal legislation governing e-commerce in the UAE', said Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Under-secretary at the UAE Ministry of Economy. "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."

Will extend to future digital ways too

While the latest rules cover sales through digital means - and even applies to blockchain based transactins - it covers 'any current or future modern technological means' as well.

More responsibilities for Ministry of Economy

The Ministry of Economy will have a specific set of responsibilities on the law, which includes preparing a general e-commerce policy with the relevant authority and supervising its implementation after obtaining the UAE Cabinet approval.

It also includes issuing specific terms and conditions for the protection of consumer interests and thus help meet the objectives of the new law. The Ministry must also take on the role of coordinating with the competent authority in blocking any app, website or platform when 'any actions violating the provisions of this law that affect public order or morals arise'.

Tax obligations

The Ministry has also been vested with the right to coordinate with the competent authority to meet tax compliance requirements.

"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," said Al Saleh. 

More to follow...