On Friday 29 March 2019, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (the Kingdom) published its new Competition Law pursuant to Royal decree (M/75) dated 29/06/1440H (Corresponding to 07/03/2019G) (the New Law), replacing the then current Competition Law issued by Royal decree (M/25) dated 04/05/1425H (Corresponding to 22/06/2004G). The New Law comes into force 180 days from the date of its publication. It seeks to protect and encourage fair competition and combat and prevent monopolistic practices that affect legitimate competition or the interest of the consumer, leading to an improved ‘market’ environment and economic development. It is contemplated that the implementing regulations to the New Law will also be issued by the Board of the General Authority for Competition (the Board) within 180 days of the New Law’s publication (the Implementing Regulations).
Council of Ministers resolution No. (55) dated 20/1/1439h (Corresponding to 11/10/2017) approved a change in the name of the “Council of Competition” to the “General Authority for Competition” (the General Authority). The General Authority is charged with the supervision and implementation of the new regime, whose stated intention is to protect and encourage fair competition and combat monopolistic practices that may affect lawful competition or the interest of the consumer. The General Authority shall operate under the Competition Law and Implementing Regulations to nurture a competitive business environment whilst preserving justice and transparency in the domestic market. In turn, firms should be placed to compete with freedom and fairness and provide consumers with the opportunity to reap the desired benefits of fair competition.
At Article 4, the New Law goes on to provide that the price of goods and services (save those fixed by decision of the Council of Ministers or prescribed at law) may then be determined by market forces and the principles of free competition.