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Navigating COVID-19 Business Disruptions in the Middle East

April 20, 2020

In recent weeks, the world has been engulfed by the spread of COVID-19 as governments scramble to protect their citizens and avoid the collapse of public health systems and long-term damage to their economies. The wide-ranging efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 has created a tidal wave of ramifications for an international business community that is today more interconnected than ever, and led to high levels of uncertainty surrounding current and future contractual obligations. At a time when government policies fluctuate daily and courts and arbitration centers are becoming increasingly inaccessible to resolve active disputes, it is difficult for a party to seek or obtain interim measures or relief. From country to country and company to company, the responses have not been uniform: some commercial parties have continued to perform their obligations, while others have argued for wholesale abdication of their responsibilities, and still others are somewhere in between. Certain trends of government action and commercial response are emerging worldwide, no less so in the hyper-connected global businesses that are found in the Middle East.