Competition and Antitrust Law in Iraq
At the outset, the Law of Competition and Antitrust No. 14 of 2010 published in official gazette on 2010/03/09, and it aims to regulate competition and prevent monopolizing practices. The law applies to production, trade activities and services provided by natural or legal entities inside the country. It also applies to the economic activities outside the country if their implications took place inside the country. In addition, according to Article 4 of the Competition and Antitrust law a Competition and Antitrust Council shall be established, which shall be administratively and financially independent authority related to the Cabinet. This council shall have number of responsibilities, and the main responsibility is to investigate, with the relevant governmental departments, and collect all the information regarding the activities in breach with the regulations of the competition and antitrust. Although the Cabinet has recently decided to expedite the procedures of establishing, the Competition and Antitrust Council has not been established as of yet.
Prohibited practices according to Competition and Antitrust Law in Iraq
The Competition and Antitrust law has set numerous prohibited activities in order to improve the economic condition and to provide an adequate protection to costumers, as far as it concerns the financial institutions’ operations, the followings are the main prohibitions that must be taken into consideration:
- It is prohibited to conduct any activity or to enter into an agreement that is in breach with the competition and antitrust regulations, namely where it aims to divide the market geographically, the amount of the sales and purchases, the clients or it aims to divide the market according to any basis that affect negatively to the endeavors to improve the Iraqi economy;
- It is prohibited to conduct any action or behavior that result into obstructing the commercial entities to enter into the market, cause damages to them or to eliminate them from the market by selling at a loss;
- Plotting and secret understandings in respect to the bids and offers in tenders are prohibited, except for joint offers where both parties are aware of it from the beginning, providing that these offers should not be aimed to breach the competition and antitrust regulations;
- It is prohibited to bias against any client in respect to the fees of services or its conditions;
- It is prohibited to compel any client to abstain to deal with the competitors;
- It is prohibited to reject dealing with a certain client within the usual commercial conditions without legal justification;Furthermore, upon establishing the Competition and Antitrust Council, it shall issue certain regulations to facilitate the implementation of the provisions of this law.
- In the event that any entity breaches the provisions of the Competition and Antitrust Law, penalties shall be imposed in form of imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than 3 years, or fined with an amount not less than one million dinars and not more than three million dinars. In addition, the party who suffered any damages due to the breach shall be entitled to claim compensation before the competent courts.