Zain is a regulatory attorney who currently leads the firm’s International Trade and Tax Law service lines. His core expertise lies in WTO and international trade law, GCC tax law, corporate regulatory and related litigation, where he regularly provides legal and strategic advice to both private sector clients and public sector institutions in the GCC.

Drawing on his 15 years of experience in international trade law, Zain advises various major clients on international trade law, customs law, and tax law (such as income tax, excise tax, transfer pricing rules, zakat, withholding tax, economic substance) and related litigation.

Prior to joining Hourani & Partners, Zain served as Senior Manager of Global Trade at Ernst & Young in Dubai.

  • International Trade Law
  • WTO Law and Trade Remedies
  • Customs Law
  • Export Controls & Sanctions
  • Tax Law (Corporate Tax, Withholding Tax, Excise Tax, ESR)
  • Transfer Pricing

Zain’s experience includes advising:

  • A major British multi-national company in relation to compliance with the new and technical laws and regulations concerning exports of its product from the UAE to other GCC countries
  • A UK multi-national FMCG client that required litigation services in Saudi Arabia in connection with potential adverse action from the Saudi customs authority which included advising on customs duty exemptions based on the GCC and World Trade Organization rules of origin
  • An American multi-national conglomerate on a matter that overlapped on two highly technical and separate legal aspects of World Trade Organization and GCC treaty rules on customs valuation, as well as OECD and local UAE and KSA rules on tax and transfer pricing
  • A UAE client in a litigation matter for cancellation of contract for the purchase of goods from a UK and US sanctioned Russian enterprise
  • One of the world’s largest accounting firms in regularly advising its client on the global trade, customs law and tax law regimes in the GCC
  • Multi-national clients in two separate transfer pricing tax law disputes in Saudi Arabia, in which our clients were successful on both counts
  • A well-established Saudi business on the most tax efficient structure regarding the sale of business assets and real estate which required careful consideration to avoid double payment of real estate transaction tax, and value added tax
  • A leading engineering company on group tax structuring across the GCC in connection with corporate income tax, transfer pricing, withholding tax, zakat, capital gains and VAT


  • Currently completing Doctor of Laws in WTO Customs Valuation and Transfer Pricing law, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • LLM, Dispute Resolution Law (distinction), University of Missouri, USA
  • LLM, International Trade Law (Dean’s gold medallist cum laude), University of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • LLB (Dean’s gold medallist), University of the Western Cape, South Africa


  • Attorney of the Supreme Court of South Africa
  • Certified Mediator of the Supreme Court of Missouri, USA
  • Dubai Legal Affairs Department, UAE
  • Afrikaans
  • English