FIEs will have greater rights to import drugs into Vietnam

According to Decree No. 54/2017/ND-CP (the “New Decree”) guiding Pharmaceutical Law 2016 which took effect 1 July 2017, foreign pharmaceutical investors are allowed to import and sell drugs to local partners in Vietnam. This new regulation creates an excellent opportunity for foreign investors interested in Vietnam’s pharmaceutical market. 

Article 24 of Decree 79/2006/ND-CP guiding Pharmaceutical Law 2005 limited the right to import drugs to manufacturers and local partners (“LPs”):

“1. Drug-producing or wholesaling enterprises which have certificates of full satisfaction of drug business conditions and have drug warehouses up to good practice standards on drug preservation shall be permitted to import drugs according to the provisions of law on pharmacy, regulations of the Health Ministry, and relevant legal provisions.”

However, this restriction was removed when Pharmaceutical Law 2016 was issued and took effect on 1 January 2017 because the New Decree guiding this law specifies the importation right is now expanded to foreign invested enterprises (“FIEs”).

Article 33.1(b) of Pharmaceutical Law 2016 states a drug business establishment can import drugs if it has the following: a physical premises; a GSP warehouse for drug storage; storage equipment; vehicles to transport drugs; quality control systems; technical documents; and personnel that fulfill Good Storage Practice requirements.

Article 44.1(d) of Pharmaceutical Law 2016 and Article 91.10 of the New Decree provide that FIEs will have the right to import and sell drugs to local partners for distribution. Article 91.12 also states that FIEs that want to import and sell drugs to LPs must register their LPs with the Ministry of Health (“MOH”) before they begin selling, as well as when they terminate their contracts with the LPs. The MOH will publish the list of LPs eligible to purchase imported products from FIEs on the MOH’s website within three working days.

The New Decree’s regulations were promulgated pursuant to Vietnam’s WTO commitments and other treaties, such as the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (“EVFTA”). Specifically, Paragraph 1 of Article 14 EVFTA (Trading Rights) states that:

“1. Vietnam shall adopt and maintain in force appropriate legal instruments allowing foreign pharmaceutical companies to establish foreign-invested enterprises in order to perform importation of pharmaceuticals [emphasis added], which duly got the marketing authorization from Vietnam’s authority.”

All of this bodes well for Vietnam’s pharmaceutical sector. Vietnam’s pharmaceutical sector has shown high growth rates over the last few years. For instance, the value of imported pharmaceutical products in the first nine months of 2016 reached USD 1.9 billion, up 16.44% from the same period in 2015. FIEs are responsible for an estimated 15% of domestic pharmacy production[1]. These figures prove that Vietnam’s pharmaceutical business has potential market space for FIEs to take advantage of.

With the passing of new laws in a dynamic country of nearly 90 million citizens, Vietnam promises to be a fertile pharmaceutical market for FIEs’ investment.

By Net Le & Hai Ngo, LNT & Partners

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us at or visit the website: Http://

[1] Source:

A bold move by the Vietnamese Government in the field of solar power projects

The development of the power sector, while prioritizing the production of renewable energy sources, forms a crucial part of Vietnam’s National Power Development Plan. On the 11th of April 2017, the Vietnamese Prime Minister, by issuing Decision 11/2017/QD-TTg on the mechanism for encouraging the development of solar energy in Vietnam (“Decision 11”), formalized some of these objectives.

Solar power as a primary focus of the Vietnamese Government

Unlike other alternatives to fossil fuels, solar power is a type of renewable energy that is encouraged by the Government.

The development of alternative sources of energy first began with the National Master Plan for Power Development in 2011 when the Prime Minister issued Decision 1208/QD-TTg. With the implementation of Decision 11, solar energy has gradually become a priority among power sources.

Decision 11 provides regulations for solar power projects, including rooftop projects and grid-connected projects. Rooftop projects are solar power projects that have their solar panels mounted on the rooftop or integrated into the construction of a building. Rooftop projects are connected directly to the buyer’s power grid. Grid-connected projects are those solar power projects, other than rooftop projects, connected to either the national power grid or the buyer’s power grid.  Under Decision 11, only grid-connected projects must conform to the National Development Plan for Solar Power or to the Provincial Development Plan for Solar Power. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (the “MOIT”) develops the National Development Plan, and the Prime Minister approves it. On the other hand, the provincial-level People’s Committee establishes the Provincial Solar Power Development Plan, and the MOIT approves it. This is one of the first steps to prepare and implement a Solar Power project. The detailed procedure is described in a flowchart presented at the end of this article.

Decision 11 provides an important incentive to encourage the development of solar power projects. Decision 11 mandates that Vietnam Electricity (EVN) and its authorized subsidiaries must buy all the electricity produced by every Vietnamese solar power project. Furthermore, Decision 11 also puts forth some important provisions regarding the price of electricity. Decision 11 fixes the purchasing price at US$ 00.0935/kWh, equivalent to VND 2.086/kWh for grid-connected projects. This price was set according to the exchange rate between VND and USD announced by the State Bank of Vietnam on the 10th of April 2017. The MOIT will determine the price to sell electricity for each power purchase agreement based on the present exchange rate. With respect to rooftop projects, projects must be implemented using net-metering with two-way electricity meters. In a trading cycle, if the amount of electricity generated from rooftop projects is greater than the consumed amount, the surplus will be carried forward to the next trading cycle. Every year, the MOIT will announce prices for electricity produced by rooftop solar power for the following year based on the exchange rate on the last day of the year.

According to Decision 2256/QD-BCT (dated 12 March 2015) of the MOIT, EVN’s average electricity selling price was US$ 00.0714/kWh, equivalent to VND 1.622/kWh. Therefore, the price provided by Decision 11 is significantly higher.

In addition, Decision 11 also states that the MOIT will provide a template for power purchasing agreements. Those agreements will be limited to twenty years, but could be extended.

Other incentives to be clarified

Decision 11 also encourages the development of solar power projects by providing attractive incentives. Those incentives are related to: capital mobilization; import duties; the corporate income tax (“CIT”); and land acquisition and rent. However, most of these incentives are too general and should be clarified. This lack of clarity can be seen when examining each incentive individually.

First, regarding capital mobilization, Decision 11 merely states that organizations and individuals involved in the development of solar power projects may raise domestic and foreign capital to carry out solar power projects in accordance with effective law.

Second, regarding import duties, Decision 11 provides that with respect to goods imported as fixed assets, solar power projects are exempted from import duties. Besides that, with respect to other materials, components, and semi-finished products that cannot be manufactured domestically, the import duty incentives for solar power projects must be determined in accordance with the present provisions in the Law on Import and Export Duties.

Third, regarding CIT, Decision 11 provides that the CIT exemptions and reductions granted to solar power projects shall be the same as those granted to projects eligible for investment incentives in accordance with effective regulations.

Fourth, regarding land incentives, grid-connected solar power projects, transmission lines, and substations shall be eligible for exemptions from, or reductions on, land levies, land rents, and water surface rents. Those exemptions or reductions shall be in accordance with current regulations on investment incentives. Depending on plans approved by the competent authorities, the People’s Committees of the provinces shall facilitate land arrangements for investors to execute solar power projects. Provision of compensation and site clearance shall be carried out in accordance with effective land regulations.

Therefore, because most of Decision 11’s incentives refer to other laws and specific incentives are not mentioned, the above-mentioned solar power project incentives remain unclear.

In addition, Decision 11 produces a conflict in the use of terms used by previous laws and regulations dealing with investment incentives.  In fact, while Decision 2068/QD-TTg approving the development strategy of renewable energy stated that renewable energy includes solar energy, and Decree 118/2015/ND-CP on Guidelines for some articles of the Law on Investment (“Decree 118”) classifies solar power projects as a business line eligible for special investment incentives (rather than a business line eligible for investment incentives), Decision 11 considers solar energy projects as a business line eligible only for investment incentives. Thus, Decision 11 may limit the chances for solar energy projects to benefit from the incentives applied to business lines eligible for special investment incentives. For example, under Decree 118, if the solar power project is treated as a business line eligible for investment incentives, the investor is entitled to only a 25% reduction of the security deposit required for project implementation. However, if the solar power project is treated as a business line eligible for special investment incentives, the investor may be entitled to a 50% reduction of the security deposit required for project implementation.

The MOIT has drafted a circular related to the development of solar power projects. However, the draft circular does not clarify the incentives, including investment incentives.


Decision 11 is an innovative move by the Vietnamese Government to help it meet its international obligations under the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Vietnam’s issuance of this decision demonstrates Vietnam’s intention to develop its economy without compromising environmental protection. However, while Decision 11 is a big step in the right direction, some of its important provisions, especially regarding investment incentives, need to be further clarified (or even modified) in order to remove any sources of confusion or disincentives. Otherwise, Decision 11 might only be a symbolic gesture without real effect.

Process flowchart for the implementation of a solar power project

By Net Le, Thu Nguyen and Cuong Le, LNT & Partners

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us at or visit the website: Http://

New banking and loan security regulations in Vietnam

Real estate projects generally demand a large amount of capital from investors, especially for housing projects. The majority of housing projects are implemented in urban areas, where land use taxes and site clearance expenses are extremely high. Thus, financing is considered the most important factor in the development and operation of real estate projects.

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In Vietnam, there are two mechanisms to finance real estate projects: mortgages and the sale of off-the-plan houses to customers. However, both options pose risks that investors, banks, and buyers are rightfully concerned about, especially in a country where the regulating legal system is not well-developed. Those risks became very real during the financial crisis earlier this decade, followed by the freezing of the real estate market. That freezing could be attributed to the dysfunction in the legal system for financing real estate projects. The laws and regulations have since been upgraded to eliminate that Achilles’s heel, but the implementation of such provisions is still proving challenging.

Mortgage of housing construction projects

A housing construction project can be wholly or partly mortgaged if the following documents are provided: the approved project’s documents and technical designs, and the certificates or decisions on land assignment and land leases from authorities. An investor can also mortgage off-the-plan residences in his/her project if the foundations of the residences have been completed and have not been previously mortgaged by the investor. Depending on their capital requirements, investors can choose the most appropriate option to finance their projects.

Investors do not necessarily need a Certificate of land use rights and ownership of houses and other land-attached assets (the “Certificate”) to mortgage their investment projects. Nevertheless, this is where potential risks appear. The laws and regulations do not provide any mechanism for banks to protect their rights in case the State recovers the land from the investors.  Pursuant to the Land Law 2014, the competent authority may seize the land if the land user fails to fulfill its financial obligations with the State. If that occurs, even if the banks take the secured assets to make up for the loan, there is not much to take because the land, which is the most crucial asset to a housing project, was already seized by the Government.

Mortgage of future acquired assets on land

The investor can also mortgage off-the-plan residences in his or her project. Circular 26 requires the mortgagor of the future acquired properties to register the mortgage at the competent authority (land registration offices and their branches). However, in order to register the mortgage, the dossier must include a Certificate. Therefore, the investor must complete all the financial obligations regarding the land. That includes paying site clearance expenses, as well as making rent payments and paying registration fees. After meeting those obligations, the investor is able to mortgage the off-the-plan residences for a loan.

Recently, some provincial Departments of Natural Resources and Environment have published lists of mortgaged real estate projects registered in their localities. These actions are motivated by The Harmony residence’s incident, where nearly 600 people are at risk of losing their apartments, because the investor has mortgaged all the land and the future acquired assets on land since 2012. In 2016, only after the bank announced its intention to seize the residence for recovery of the investor’s loan, was the truth revealed to the residents.

Currently, in order to protect the consumers, lists of mortgaged projects are being announced by the authorities. Only projects which have been granted Certificates may register their mortgages, which led to the announcement of mortgaged projects. However, from the perspective of the investors affected, the announcement of their mortgaged projects could adversely impact potential sales because the projects have to be free of the mortgages (or parts of the mortgage) before selling any off-the-plan residences.

There are two disadvantages for investors if they choose to mortgage off-the-plan residences. The first one is that they need to obtain a Certificate, which means they have already spent a large amount of money for site clearance and land rental. The second disadvantage is the public announcement of mortgaged projects, which could make customers hesitant to purchase units. Based on these factors, investors tend to choose the first mechanism (mortgaging the housing project or a part of the project for a loan). In fact, only 10% of projects in large cities such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City are registered for mortgages at the authority. For example, in Ho Chi Minh City in 2016, only seventy-seven of 600 projects had their mortgages registered. The majority of housing projects must be de facto financed from banks’ loans with secured properties. Therefore, the remaining projects are likely to have mortgages over their construction projects, but not over land use rights, or future acquired assets on land. Accordingly, the investors were not required to register the secured transactions.

Bank guarantee

Article 55 of the Law on Real Property Trading stipulates that investors, in order to sell off- the-plan houses to buyers, must obtain guarantees by commercial banks in case the investors fail to transfer the buildings on schedule as committed. Article 55 creates two issues:

  • For residential megaprojects, there is a question as to which bank will make the guarantee. For example, Royal City, a VinGroup real estate project in Hanoi, has a total investment capital of 18,000 billion VND, equivalent to 700 million US dollars. That amount surpasses the charter capital of thirty of thirty-three banks listed by the State Bank of Vietnam which are eligible to provide bank guarantees for housing construction projects;
  • The banks will only issue guarantees if the investors have assets with sufficient value to secure their obligations. The investors that already spent millions of dollars on construction may not be able to meet those requirements.

Due to the above obstacles, there are those who would rather violate the laws and run away with the consumers’ money when the project is not feasible anymore. In the end, the consumers are the ones who suffer.


Real estate project finance is a complex legal field that needs to be more fully developed, even though Vietnamese legislators and executive bodies have already made great efforts to do so. Sometimes, the law benefits investors, but creates great risks for banks and customers. And sometimes the exact opposite is true. Finally, some legal requirements appear impossible to meet, creating pressure to meet them through inappropriate responses, such as violating the law.

By Quang Le and Kim-Cuong Le, LNT & Partners

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us at or visit the website: Http://

Legal Update on Real Estate Law in Quarter 1 of 2017

Change in Land Rental in Economic Zones

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The Government has recently issued Decree No. 35/2017/NĐ-CP dated 3 April 2017 providing regulations on collection of land use fee, rental of land surface and water surface in economic zones and hi-tech parks (Decree 35).

As from 20 June 2017, the collection of land use fee and land rental in economic zones shall be no longer governed by Decree No.45/2014/ND-CP providing regulations on collection of land use fee (Decree 45) and Decree No. 46/2014/ND-CP providing regulations on collection of rental of land surface and water surface (Decree 46) but in accordance with Decree 35 with the highlighted points for the investors as follows:

  • The percentage for calculating land rent unit price in case of annual payment shall be from 0.5% to 3% subject to specific area or route corresponding to the investment and publicly announced annually.
  • The land rental is determined with land price adjustment coefficients. Subject to the specific area, route and location of the land corresponding to the land use purpose, the Provincial People’s Committee shall issue the land price adjustment coefficients annually with the minimum rate at 1.0 applicable from 1 January each year.
  • The land use for development of social housing for employees in accordance with approved projects shall be subject to land use fee exemption. The developer must conduct the administrative procedure for the exemption in this regard.

Land price adjustment coefficients applicable from 1st January 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City

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On 23 March 2017, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has just issued Decision No. 19/2017/QD-UBND providing the land price correction coefficient applied in 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City (Decision 19). The outstanding application for determining the land use fee or land rental in Ho Chi Minh City from 1 January 2017 shall be subject to the regulations of Decision 19.

The coefficients are applied for determining (i) the annual land rental for the first period; (ii) the adjustment to unit price of annual land rental for the following period and (iii) the unit price for annual land rental in case of acquiring the assets attached to land shall be from 1.0 to 2.0. In which, the land used for development of residential housing for leasing shall be subject to the maximum coefficient of 2.0 corresponding to the location of the project.

The coefficients applied for determining (i) the land use fee without land use right auction or in case of conversion of land use purpose, (ii) the one-off payment of land rental without land use right auction and (iii) the unit price of land rental in case of changing from leasing with annual rental to leasing with one-off payment for land rental shall be from 1.2 to 2.0 subject to the location of the project.

The land price adjustment coefficients mentioned above can be higher subject to the location with more than two (02) road fronts and the land use ratio.

The Ministry of Construction requesting the issuance of regulations on the condotel and officetel

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“Condotel” and “Officetel” have been new types of real estate development in Ho Chi Minh City since 2008.  In recent years, these kinds of real estate developments become more popular in the real estate market, particularly condotel type is more applied in coastal and tourist cities like Nha Trang, Da Nang, or Vung Tau. However, despite its popularity and more transactions on the properties, regulations or guidance from the competent authorities on the investment and management of the condotel and officetel are still unclear and confusing, and therefore potentially risky to the buyers as well.

For example, the concept of “officetel” describes apartments in residential buildings which may be used for both residential and office purpose. However, the Law on Residential Housing as well as guidance from the Ministry of Construction prohibits using residential apartments for office use. Furthermore, the guidance from the Ministry of Planning and Investment does not allow using residential apartments for business registration either.  Another legal issue to these kinds of properties is how to properly recognize the ownership to the properties because, in the Land Law, land use right duration for commercial purpose is 50 years and indefinite term for residential purpose.

Recently, the Ministry of Construction has given instructions and responses that (i) the regulations on condominiums are applied for the condotel/officetel with function as residential housing and (ii) the regulations on hotel are applied for the condotel/officetel without function as residential housing. This is actually confusing to the owners as well.

Therefore, the Ministry of Construction (MoC) recently had Dispatch No.381/BXD-QLN dated 28 April 2017 for report and proposal of the issues in relation to the management of condotel, officetel, or  resort projects to the competent Deputy Prime Minister for decision.

In which, MoC proposed (i) the amendment to law on land with respect to the classification and the usage of mixed use land (for both residential and commercial purposes) and issuance of the certificate of land use right, ownership of residential housing and other assets attached to land in this regard and (ii) clarification of the financial obligation for such mixed use land and (iii) the regulations on the management of the condotel and officetel.

The issuance of regulations in respect of condotel and officetel mentioned above will provide detailed legal framework for the development and management of condotel and officetel projects. Accordingly, (i) the investors will have firm legal basis for development and management of condotel and offictel and (ii) the buyers will have basis for considering their investment in the business model of condotel and officetel.

New model real estate business – Hometel

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Besides the officetel and office which become popular in real estate market, “hometel” is a new concept of tourism real estate just launched in the beginning of 2017. Hometel is the combination of “home” and “hotel” function.  Similar to condotel, hometel is fitted out and operated with the luxury standards as hotel under the management of a hotel operator.

However, hometel has some features different from condotel, typically (i) the homebuyers shall have an indefinite-term ownership of hometel with the certificate of land use right, ownership of residential housing and other assets attached to land and (ii) the homebuyers can decide the leasing program of the hometel without sharing profit with the developer, it means that the homebuyers will directly deal with the hotel operator for the operation and maintenance of standard of the hometel as hotel.

From legal perspective, (i) hometel must be constructed on residential land for the indefinite-term ownership; (ii) the development of hometel project must be in accordance with Law on Residential Housing because hometel is classified as residential housing and (iii) the construction of hometel must be in accordance with regulations on construction of residential housing under Law on Construction.

The management and operation of hometel is not clear to be treated as a condominium or not. As a residential housing, the hometel should be managed as a condominium with the organization of the Management Committee as required by laws.

However, the hometel must be operated and maintained with hotel standard which must be managed by a hotel operator. In case the management of hometel must be in accordance with regulations on management of condominium, the Management Committee must deal with the hotel operator for ensuring the standards applied to the hometel buiding as a hotel.

In addition, there should be amendments to Law on Land in relation to the classification of the land on which the hometel project located. Similar to the land used for developing condotel project, the land in this regard should be residential land without establishment of residential area.

As such, due to lack of legal grounds for such properties, the owners’ use right and ownership rights over these properties may be potentially restricted (for example, in terms of use duration or use functions).  This cannot be resolved in near future since amendments to several laws are required as well.

Disclaimer: This legal update does not constitute and should not be taken as a legal advice for a matter. For more information and clarification, please contact Mr. Tran Thai Binh, Partner of LNT & Partners, Head of Real Estate Practice Group via email: or his cell phone: 84-913629191.


 “Having signature on the commercial invoice in respect of imported goods” is not a new requirement in the importation and custom clearance procedures. However, this requirement has caused difficulties to importers when they import goods in practice, as there are still a number of discrepancies between the laws of Vietnam and international practices, without any remedy.

From the legal perspective, the requirements of the Ministry of Finance and Vietnamese Customs Authorities are base on Decree 51/2010/ND-CP, which stipulates that invoices must present signatures of the seller, seal of the buyer (if any), and signatures of the buyer. The entities who must comply with Decree 51/2010 are Vietnamese organizations, individuals who are selling goods, providing services in Vietnam’s territory or abroad; organizations, individuals imported goods in the local market regardless of producers or suppliers being Vietnamese or foreign organizations or individuals under Circular 64/2015/TTLT- BTC- BCT- BCA- BQP “With regard to goods sold or stored by entities other than importers, it is required to have invoices and/or documents of the selling entities as prescribed in Decree No. 51/2010/ND-CP.”

From the practical perspective, this regulation embarks a conflict with the common practice of making invoices by European countries in which all invoices are formed, retrieved electronically and without sellers’ signatures and seals in every single invoice. Annually, an automobile manufacturer can sell hundred thousands of products per year, the signing in each invoice is a hand work which makes time-squandering, human resource and increasing expenses. However, in order to complete the import procedure, enterprise must seek for ways to convince the manufacturers to provide their signature on invoices. This step has caused a lot of difficulties to enterprises because it is too hard for the manufacturers to change their goods trading management method contrary to the ordinary method in their home country. As a result, the completion of custom clearance of enterprises is often delayed for months from the scheduled business plan, which causes a lost in term of in business opportunity and cost burden to enterprises. In addition, the fact that the requirement on provision of invoice is still retained which is not caught up with the principle of Article 3.6(b) of Resolution 30c/NQ-CP enhancing the “application of information – telecommunication technology in the process of handling of works of administrative authorities, among administrative authorities and within transactions with organizations and individuals”.

With the understanding of these international practices, World Customs Organization (WCO) recommends its members not to have sellers sign commercial invoices when conducting the customs declaration, in particularly:

(16th MAY 1979)

RECOMMENDS that Members of the Council and members of the United Nations Organization or its specialized agencies, and Customs or Economic Unions, should :

  1. refrain from requiring a signature, for Customs purposes, on commercial invoices presented in support of a Goods declaration;[1]

Vietnam Customs authorities has been a member of WCO as of 01 July 1993 and entered into Kyoto Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures. After many renovations to adapt WCO’s objectives and policies, Vietnam Customs procedures have been modernized and reduced significantly yet not abrogated the requirements on signatures affixed to invoices due to existing “barriers” in Decree 51.

The main purpose for presentation of commercial invoices in customs procedures is to make a basis for determining customs values of the goods, goods origin and tax amounts imposed on goods at the time of import. In the Internet age, the authenticity of invoices can be checked by various methods. Therefore, we should learn a feasible way of other countries to check manufacturers’ database to conclude the accuracy of total value of goods rather than request them to sign in each of invoices. Customs Authorities can request the manufacture to send the detailed information of imported goods for checking, or confirm the accuracy and completeness of such invoices. From the author’s perspective, by taking advantage of the internet tool, the checking and verifying the accuracy of commercial bills will easier and more efficient.

 Author: Nguyen Thi Chau Thanh – LNT & Partners




High hopes for Vietnam’s capital markets in 2017

Vietnam is hoping the combination of a relaxation of foreign investment rules, for, stock exchange growth, a push for state-owned enterprises (SOE) equitisation and a gradual opening of bond markets will help its economy to grow this year. Asialaw spoke to lawyers in the jurisdiction to get a glimpse into the latest changes and expected trends in the capital markets for 2017.

Encouraging foreign investment

One of the major changes to encourage foreign investment in Vietnam is that certain industries including, securities firms, were opened up to 100% foreign holding in 2016.

 Le Net

“With the removal on foreign ownership cap at 49%, those needing capital to grow will be able to,” says Le Net, partner at LNT & Partners. “PE [private equity] and M&A interest have been coming from Thailand, Japan, China, Korea and Indonesia,”

 “There are other 18 sectors including transportation, construction and real estate where offshore investors can take a degree of ownership subject to certain conditions,” says Dang The Duc, managing partner at Indochine Counsel. “The increase of foreign ownership will create positive sentiment for the investors, enhancing stock market liquidity and M&A activities in Vietnam, especially for big companies with the aim to increase their market share.”

Growth of stock exchanges

Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index (VNI) has been one of the fastest growing markets in Southeast Asia so far this year. “VNI has gotten a new peak in 2016,” says Duc. “The Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) is expected to break into the top five biggest stock markets in the region by 2020, with market capitalisation of 60% of the country’s GDP and average daily trading value at $250 million. However, there were still some garbage stocks which were margin forced to sell in 2016 that were harmful to the quality of stock market.”

Dang The Duc

“Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) has developed the action plans for sorting stocks on the unlisted public company market (UPCoM), including selection of the best stocks break down by criteria such as size of the business, production and business situation – financial, situation governance, liquidity, etc., to put on the UPCoM premium list which is aimed towards adoption of open policy for good business groups,” adds Duc.

A merger of the HNX and HOSE, which was first announced in 2012, is expected to be completed by early 2017.

State owned enterprises equitisation

To support the development of the unlisted public company market, the Vietnamese government has put together a series of policies targeting divestment of SOEs associated with registration and listing on the stock market. It is mandatory for an equitised SOE to list the company’s shares on the stock exchange after one year, if it satisfies the listing criteria.

After the equitisation of SOEs, there will be an increased scale of listed enterprises registered for trading in the near future.

The deadline for divestment of state economic groups and state corporations from non-core sectors expired on December 31. “However, just over one-third of total investment capital were completed,” says Duc. “Therefore, the stock market will receive a boost from the country’s efforts to accelerate share sales in SOEs.”

Debt capital markets poised for growth

The trading volume in the Vietnam bond market reached $40.13 billion in the first half of 2016, an increase of 4.7% compared to 2015. Of that, 98% were government bond sales, which amounted to 22% of total GDP and is expected to increase to 40% by 2020. At $5.7 billion in 2015, the corporate bond market in Vietnam is still relatively small. “However, this is expected to grow as Vietnam plans to open its first corporate bond trading platform in early 2017 as it expects a rise in issuances of company debt,” says Duc. “The SSC has been actively implementing the corporate bond scheme to make the local corporate bond market work next year.”

“The bonds market has been nascent,” says Le. “There hasn’t been many corporate bonds since the companies have to be profitable and they need to be able to show investors that they can pay interest. Many newly established companies aren’t ready yet.”

Strengthening regulations

A number of rules have been amended to strengthen regulation around the banking and securities sector. Circular No. 07/2016/TT-BTC of the Ministry of Finance was issued in 2016 to amend 43 of the securities lending restrictions such that securities companies cannot use money and property of the company or the customer to ensure payment obligations for third parties by the securities companies.

“The government will continue restructuring banking sector, owing to the high level of bad debts, to reduce the number of local commercial banks by 2020, but these efforts will make only gradual headway,” says Duc.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment has drafted a banking restructuring plan for the 2016-2020 to:

  • continue reducing non-performing loans sustainably;
  • reduce numbers of illiquid banks;
  • reduce the lending interest rate to 5%; and
  • ensure 70% of commercial banks comply with Basel II, the second of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s recommendations to set minimum capital requirements for financial institutions by 2020.

With the combination of the stock exchanges, opening up of the derivatives and bonds markets and encouragement for foreign investment, the increased availability of products and liquidity for capital markets in the emerging markets of Vietnam pose a world of opportunity for investors, both domestic and abroad.

Source: Asialaw


Hôm nay,  7/12/2016, Tiến sĩ Lê Nết  tham dự buổi Hội thảo “Managing International Arbitration with a South East Asian Dimension: A Masterclass for Arbitration” được tổ chức ở Singapore. Tại đây, Tiến sĩ Lê Nết  đại diện cho Trung tâm trọng tài quốc tế Viêt Nam (VIAC) trình bày về “Development in arbitration in Vietnam”.

Dưới đây là bản tóm tắt nội dung phần diễn thuyết của Tiến sĩ Lê Nết bằng tiếng Việt. Bạn đọc click link để theo dõi.


Luật sửa đổi, bổ sung danh mục ngành, nghề đầu tư kinh doanh có điều kiện của Luật đầu tư 2014

Trong Hội thảo “Sự thay đổi của pháp luật đầu tư kinh doanh – AmCham” ngày 30/11/2016 vừa qua, Tiến sĩ Lê Nết đã có bài trình bày rất sinh động về “Luật sửa đổi, bổ sung danh mục ngành, nghề đầu tư kinh doanh có điều kiện của Luật đầu tư 2014”. 

Nếu bỏ lỡ cơ hội tham dự buổi hội thảo vừa rồi, bạn đọc hãy click link để xem văn bản tóm tắt  phần trình bày của Tiến sĩ Lê Nết.

Conditional businesses _30112016

Sổ tay Luật sư – Chương 6: Tư vấn lĩnh vực xây dựng

Chương 6 của Sổ tay luật sư trình bày một số vấn đề pháp lý cơ bản liên quan đến việc tư vấn trong lĩnh vực xây dựng, bao gồm (i)  hợp đồng xây dựng, (ii) các rủi ro chính phát sinh trong quá trình xây dựng, (iii) quy định về hợp đồng xây dựng theo luật Việt Nam và theo FIDIC, và (iv) Giá hợp đồng xây dựng, phương thức thanh toán và hồ sơ thanh toán.

Tại chương này, một số quy định của pháp luật đã hết hiệu lực chẳng hạn như Luật Xây dựng 2003, Luật Đấu thầu 2005, Nghị định 48/2010, Nghị định 99/2007 được viện dẫn để đối chiếu với những thay đổi so với các quy định hiện tại, đặc biệt là Nghị định 37/2015 và Thông tư 09/2016 hoặc được viện dẫn để làm rõ lý do cho những thay đổi trong pháp luật hiện tại.

Phương pháp luận chủ yếu được trình bày xuyên suốt tại Chương 6 này là (i) trình bày vấn đề cần đề cập; (ii) phân tích và đánh giá; (iii) đưa ra các kết luận và kiến nghị cần thiết. Tuy nhiên tại một số tiểu mục do tính chất đặc thù, phương pháp luận này sẽ không được trình bày rõ ràng như vậy hoặc được lược bớt những phần không quan trọng.

Để đọc nội dung chi tiết của chương 6, vui lòng click link bên dưới:

Link Chuong 6: Tu van linh vuc xay dung

Luật sư Lê Nết

LNT & Partners

#LNT #vietnam #law

Một số bình luận về 10 án lệ được công bố bởi Hội động Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao

Ngày 06 tháng 04 năm 2016, Hội đồng Thẩm phán Toà án nhân dân tối cao đã thông qua 06 án lệ và được công bố theo Quyết định số 220/QĐ-CA ngày 06 tháng 4 năm 2016 của Chánh án Tòa án nhân dân tối cao:

  1. Án lệ số 01/2016/AL được xây dựng trên cơ sở Quyết định giám đốc thẩm số 04/2014/HS-GĐT ngày 16/04/2014 của Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao về vụ án “Giết người” (Án Lệ 01);
  2. Án lệ số 02/2016/AL được xây dựng trên cơ sở Quyết định giám đốc thẩm số 27/2010/DS-GĐT ngày 08-7-2010 của Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao về vụ án “Tranh chấp đòi lại tài sản” (Án Lệ 02);
  3. Án lệ số 03/2016/AL được xây dựng trên cơ sở Quyết định giám đốc thẩm số 208/2013/DS-GĐT ngày 03-5-2013 của Tòa dân sự Tòa án nhân dân tối cao về vụ án “Ly hôn” (Án Lệ 03);
  4. Án lệ số 04/2016/AL được xây dựng trên cơ sở Quyết định giám đốc thẩm số 04/2010/QĐ-HĐTP ngày 03-3-2010 của Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao về vụ án “Tranh chấp hợp đồng chuyển nhượng quyền sử dụng đất” (Án Lệ 04);
  5. Án lệ số 05/2016/AL được xây dựng trên cơ sở Quyết định giám đốc thẩm số 39/2014/DS-GĐT ngày 09-10-2014 của Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao về vụ án “Tranh chấp di sản thừa kế” (Án Lệ 05);
  6. Án lệ số 06/2016/AL được xây dựng trên cơ sở Quyết định giám đốc thẩm số 100/2013/GĐT-DS ngày 12-8-2013 của Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao về vụ án “Tranh chấp thừa kế” (Án Lệ 06);


Các án lệ được Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao thông qua ngày 17 tháng 10 năm 2016 và được công bố theo Quyết định số 698/QĐ-CA ngày 17 tháng 10 năm 2016 của Chánh án Tòa án nhân dân tối cao:

  1. Án lệ số 07/2016/AL được xây dựng trên cơ sở Quyết định giám đốc thẩm số 126/2013/DS-GĐT ngày 23-9-2013 của Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao về vụ án dân sự “Tranh chấp quyền sở hữu, sử dụng nhà” (Án Lệ 07);
  2. Án lệ số 08/2016/AL được xây dựng trên cơ sở Quyết định giám đốc thẩm số 12/2013/KDTM-GĐT ngày 16-5-2013 của Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao về vụ án kinh doanh thương mại “Tranh chấp về hợp đồng tín dụng” (Án Lệ 08);
  3. Án lệ số 09/2016/AL được xây dựng trên cơ sở Quyết định giám đốc thẩm số 07/2013/KDTM-GĐT ngày 15-3-2013 của Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao về vụ án kinh doanh thương mại “Tranh chấp về hợp đồng mua bán hàng hóa”(Án Lệ 09);
  4. Án lệ số 10/2016/AL được xây dựng trên cơ sở Quyết định giám đốc thẩm số 08/2014/HC-GĐT ngày 19-8-2014 của Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tòa án nhân dân tối cao về vụ án hành chính “Khiếu kiện Quyết định bồi thường, hỗ trợ và tái định cư khi nhà nước thu hồi đất” (Án Lệ 10).

Để tìm hiểu chi tiết từng án lệ, các bạn độc giả hãy click link bên dưới:

Một số bình luận về 10 án lệ được công bố bởi Hội đồng Thẩm phán Tóa án nhân dân tối cao

IFLR 1000 – Vietnam chapter

“Although Vietnam’s capital market has established more than 20 years ago, the participation of Vietnam-based law firms in the markets, both locally and internationally, is still rare.”

Dr. Net Le, Partner of LNT & Partners, has shared his opinion about current landscape for capital markets and project finance in Vietnam on IFLR 1000, Edition 2017.

If you want to learn more about the structure as well as the future of capital markets and project finance in Vietnam, please click on link below to see full article.

Link: Vietnam capital market & project finance: Its structure and future


Tóm lược

Pháp luật sở hữu trí tuệ, bên cạnh vai trò là ngành luật bảo vệ quyền tài sản của các chủ thể, còn đóng vai trò quan trọng đối với sự tiến bộ về khoa học công nghệ của mỗi quốc gia, do đó, bất kỳ sự thay đổi nào trong pháp luật về sở hữu trí tuệ đều có thể dẫn đến những tác động mạnh mẽ đến tiến trình phát triển của nền kinh tế. Trong bối cảnh các cam kết về bảo hộ sáng chế ở mức độ cao trong Hiệp định TPP có khả năng sẽ được thi hành, Việt Nam cần chuẩn bị những biện pháp nhằm giảm thiểu những tác động tiêu cực đến ngành công nghiệp dược phẩm trong nước. Bản tham luận này đề cập đến những khó khăn và thách thức mà ngành công nghiệp dược phẩm sẽ phải đối mặt khi Việt Nam mở rộng đối tượng bảo hộ sáng chế theo cam kết trong TPP, cụ thể là thực hiện bảo hộ cách sử dụng, phương pháp sử dụng hoặc quy trình sử dụng mới của một sản phẩm đã biết. Trên cơ sở làm rõ những tác động của những đối tượng này đến thị trường dược phẩm, bao gồm trở ngại trong việc sản xuất thuốc gốc, giá thuốc tăng cao, khả năng tiếp cận thuốc của cộng đồng bị hạn chế, bản tham luận đã đề ra một số giải pháp về mặt chính sách cũng như về mặt kinh tế và khoa học nhằm hạn chế phần nào những tác động thiếu tích cực mà việc bảo hộ các đối tượng sáng chế mới có thể mang lại cho ngành công nghiệp dược phẩm tại Việt Nam

Dẫn nhập

Hiệp định đối tác chiến lược xuyên Thái Bình Dương (gọi tắt là Hiệp đinh TPP) đã được Bộ trưởng các nước tham gia đàm phán ký kết vào đầu năm nay. Mặc dù đến thời điểm hiện tại, các nước thành viên vẫn đang trong giai đoạn thực hiện các thủ tục pháp lý nội bộ để phê chuẩn Hiệp định. Tuy nhiên, Việt Nam với tư cách là một bên tham gia đàm phán và ký kết Hiệp định, nhiều khả năng sẽ phải thực hiện các cam kết được ghi nhận trong Hiệp đinh, trong đó có các cam kết liên quan đến vấn đề sở hữu trí tuệ.

Quá trình đàm phán Hiệp định TPP đã diễn ra không hề suôn sẻ khi các bên tham gia đàm phán phải nỗ lực trung hoà những lợi ích đối lập. Chương 18 của bản dự thảo Hiệp định TPP, đề cập đến vấn đề sở hữu trí tuệ, bao gồm các vấn đề về sáng chế, chỉ dẫn địa lý, thực thi quyền,… đã gây ra những tranh luận gay gắt giữa nhóm các nước có nền kinh tế phát triển và nhóm các nền kinh tế đang phát triển trong số 12 nước tham gia đàm phán TPP. Tuy nhiên, để có thể đạt được một thoả thuận chung, hài hòa lợi ích của tất cả các bên, mỗi quốc gia thành viên đều phải có những nhượng bộ trong một số lĩnh vực nhất định.

Đối với Việt Nam, có cơ sở để nhận định rằng, những thoả thuận được ghi nhận tại Chương Sở hữu trí tuệ của TPP là sự đánh đổi lớn của Việt Nam để đạt được các lợi ích quan trọng khác về thương mại và đầu tư. Theo đó, Việt Nam đã chấp nhận những điều kiện bảo hộ về sở hữu trí tuệ cao hơn rất nhiều so với mức độ mà Việt Nam đang thực hiện. Đặc biệt là mức độ bảo hộ cực kỳ cao đối với sáng chế, thể hiện rõ nét qua các điều khoản mở rộng phạm vi đối tượng được bảo hộ, được dự đoán sẽ là thách thức cho nền công nghiệp dược phẩm, một ngành công nghiệp non trẻ và nhạy cảm của Việt Nam.

Bản tham luận này, sau đây sẽ phân tích những tác động, đồng thời cũng là những khó khăn mà ngành công nghiệp dược phẩm của Việt Nam sẽ phải đối mặt trong tương lai khi một số đối tượng mới được bảo hộ theo cam kết trong TPP. Qua đó, đề xuất một số biện pháp khắc phục phù hợp với các cam kết quốc tế cũng như điều kiện và khả năng thực tế của Việt Nam.


Đối tượng bảo hộ sáng chế mới theo cam kết tại Hiệp định TPP

Chương 18 của Hiệp định TPP về sở hữu trí tuệ thiết lập một cơ chế bảo hộ mới, được đánh giá là cao hơn nhiều so với mức độ bảo hộ hiện tại được ghi nhận tại Hiệp định về các khía cạnh thương mại của quyền Sở hữu trí tuệ (Hiệp định TRIPS) cũng như Luật Sở hữu trí tuệ mà Việt Nam đang áp dụng. Cụ thể, Chương 18 Hiệp định TPP về sở hữu trí tuệ ghi nhận các thỏa thuận chung của các quốc gia trong lĩnh vực bảo hộ sáng chế, bao gồm các điều khoản về phạm vi các đối tượng được bảo hộ, điều chỉnh thời hạn của bằng độc quyền sáng chế, bảo vệ dữ liệu thử nghiệm,… Trong số các điều khoản tại Chương này, điều khoản ghi nhận sự mở rộng về phạm vi đối tượng được bảo hộ sáng chế được nhận định sẽ có tác động mạnh mẽ đến hệ thống bảo hộ sáng chế của Việt Nam.

Cụ thể, liên quan đến phạm vi các đối tượng được bảo hộ sáng chế, Điều 18.37.2 Hiệp định TPP quy định như sau:

Điều 18.37: Đối tượng được bảo hộ sáng chế.

  1. Theo khoản 3 và 4 và phù hợp với khoản 1, mỗi Bên khẳng định rằng bằng sáng chế có thể được cấp cho các sáng chế yêu cầu bảo hộ một trong các yếu tố sau: cách sử dụng mới của một sản phẩm đã biết, phương pháp sử dụng mới của một sản phẩm đã biết, hoặc quy trình sử dụng mới của một sản phẩm đã biết.Một Bên có thể hạn chế các quy trình sử dụng mới đó với những đối tượng không đòi hỏi việc sử dụng sản phẩm theo quy trình như vậy.”

Theo quy định của TRIPS và Luật Sở hữu trí tuệ Việt Nam, sáng chế là giải pháp kỹ thuật dưới dạng sản phẩm hoặc quy trình nhằm giải quyết một vấn đề kỹ thuật xác định. Để được bảo hộ là sáng chế, một sản phẩm hoặc quy trình phải đáp ứng yêu cầu về tính mới, tính sáng tạo và có khả năng áp dụng công nghiệp.[1] Theo đó, các đối tượng như cách sử dụng mới của một sản phẩm đã biết, phương pháp sử dụng mới của một sản phẩm đã biết, hoặc quy trình sử dụng mới của một sản phẩm đã biết không thể được bảo hộ là sáng chế do bản thân chúng, một cách độc lập, không phải là sản phẩm hay quy trình, hoặc nếu có, cũng không có đủ tính mới hay đủ trình độ sáng tạo.[2]

Tuy nhiên, trong trường hợp Hiệp định TPP được thông qua và vận hành, Việt Nam nhiều khả năng sẽ thực hiện bảo hộ đối với các đối tượng mới này. Điều này được đánh giá sẽ tạo ra sự tác động mạnh mẽ đối với thị trường dược phẩm tại Việt Nam.

Tác động của việc bảo hộ các đối tượng mới đến thị trường dược phẩm tại Việt Nam

Đối với ngành công nghiệp sản xuất thuốc gốc (thuốc generic), thuốc tương tự sinh học (thuốc biosimilar):

Khi một loại thuốc mới được nghiên cứu thành công và được cấp phép lưu hành, được gọi là biệt dược gốc (thuốc brand name) được cấp bằng sáng chế, chủ sở hữu bằng sáng chế của biệt dược gốc đó có độc quyền trong việc sản xuất biệt dược đó. Thông thường, để có thể sản xuất một biệt dược đang được bảo hộ, các doanh nghiệp sản xuất dược phẩm sẽ phải trả phí chuyển quyền sử dụng sáng chế (phí license) cho chủ sở hữu bằng độc quyền sáng chế của biệt dược đó. Trong hầu hết các trường hợp, phí chuyển quyền sử dụng sáng chế do các bên thỏa thuân, vì vậy, khoản phí này thường được chủ sở hữu ấn định ở mức rất cao. Tại Việt Nam, một nước đang phát triển với trình độ khoa học và tiềm lực kinh tế còn hạn chế, các công ty dược phẩm muốn sản xuất biệt dược thường phải chờ đến khi văn bằng bảo hộ sáng chế cấp cho biệt dược hết thời hạn để tiến hành sản xuất theo công thức của biệt dược đó. Sản phẩm của quá trình sản xuất này được gọi là thuốc gốc. Theo đó, thuốc gốc là thuốc có tính tương đương sinh học với biệt dược, chứa cùng lượng dược chất, sử dụng trong cùng điều kiện sinh khả dụng, tức là có tốc độ hấp thu vào cơ thể giống như biệt dược.[3]

Tương tự như vậy, chủ sở hữu của bằng độc quyền sáng chế đối với các loại thuốc có nguồn gốc sinh học (còn được gọi là các chế phẩm sinh học bao gồm các hormone tái tổ hợp, các chế phẩm máu, kháng thể đơn dòng, vắc xin tái tổ hợp và các sản phẩm ứng dụng công nghệ gen khác) cũng sẽ được cấp độc quyền sản xuất trong một khoảng thời gian nhất định. Khi hết thời hạn này, các doanh nghiệp sản xuất thuốc dù không được chủ sở hữu cho phép cũng có quyền sản xuất và đưa ra thị trường các sản phẩm thay thế có cùng bản chất và cùng chỉ định điều trị, tuy nhiên, với các điều kiện ngặt nghèo hơn so với thuốc gốc. Cụ thể, để có thể được lưu hành trên thị trường, thuốc generic chỉ cần chứng minh tính tương tự bào chế, tính tương đương sinh học, trong khi thuốc tương tự sinh học phải có dữ liệu thử nghiệm lâm sàng và tiền lâm sàng độc lập mà không được sử dụng dữ liệu thử nghiệm của chế phẩm sinh học đã được bảo hộ trước đó như đối với thuốc gốc. Các loại thuốc được sản xuất theo phương thức này được gọi là các thuốc tương tự sinh học (thuốc biosimilar).

Theo các quy định hiện tại của Hiệp định TRIPS cũng như các quy định của pháp luật sở hữu trí tuệ Việt Nam, đối với mỗi sáng chế, bằng độc quyền sáng chế có hiệu lực trong vòng 20 năm kể từ ngày nộp đơn yêu cầu bảo hộ. Kết thúc thời hạn này, các doanh nghiệp sản xuất thuốc có quyền sản xuất thuốc gốc hoặc thuốc tương tự sinh học mà không phải trả phí chuyển quyền sử dụng sáng chế. Tuy nhiên, với nội dung cam kết tại Điều 18.37.2 của Hiệp định TPP, chủ sở hữu bằng độc quyền sáng chế, cụ thể là một số doanh nghiệp sản xuất dược phẩm, có thể kéo dài thời hạn 20 năm độc quyền lên gấp nhiều lần bằng phương thức có tên gọi là “evergreening”.

Có nhiều định nghĩa khác nhau về thuật ngữ “evergreening”, tuy nhiên, có thể hiểu “evergreening” là phương thức được chủ sở hữu sử dụng để kéo dài thời gian được bảo hộ độc quyền sáng chế nhờ việc tạo ra một thay đổi nhỏ đối với sáng chế mà thậm chí không làm tăng thêm giá trị sử dụng của sáng chế đó.[4] Ví dụ, trong trường hợp muốn kéo dài thời hạn bảo hộ sáng chế của một sản phẩm thuốc biệt dược, khi sắp hết thời hạn bảo hộ, chủ sở hữu tiếp tục nộp đơn yêu cầu bảo hộ cho một công dụng mới của loại thuốc đó, một dạng bào chế mới, hoặc một một cách sử dụng mới. Đối với dược phẩm, ngay cả người không có chuyên môn trong lĩnh vực này cũng biết rằng, một loại thuốc hoàn toàn có thể có nhiều công dụng, nhiều dạng bào chế, và nhiều cách sử dụng khác nhau.

Như vậy, quy định tại Điều 18.37.2 Hiệp định TPP rõ ràng đã tạo điều kiện vô cùng thuận lợi cho chủ sở hữu sáng chế nói chung, đặc biệt là chủ sở hữu sáng chế dược phẩm thực hiện phương thức “evergreening”. Bằng cách tạo ra những thay đổi nhỏ đối với loại thuốc đã được bảo hộ (ví dụ sản xuất thuốc dạng nước thay vì dạng viên cứng như trước đây hoặc sử dụng bằng đường uống thay vì đường tiêm,…) từ đó thời hạn bảo hộ độc quyền đối với một loại thuốc có thể bị kéo dài thêm nhiều lần so với thời hạn 20 năm ban đầu.

Như một hệ quả tất yếu của việc thời hạn bảo hộ bị kéo dài thêm nhiều lần, không có bất kỳ một doanh nghiệp dược phẩm nào được quyền sản xuất thuốc gốc nếu sáng chế được bổ sung thêm một công dụng, một dạng bào chế mới hoặc một cách dùng mới vào thời điểm nó gần hết thời hạn bảo hộ, các doanh nghiệp sản xuất thuốc gốc sẽ phải chờ một khoảng thời gian dài gấp nhiều lần 20 năm, mới có thể sản xuất thuốc gốc. Do đó, nếu TPP được vận hành, quy định tạo điều kiện cho phương thức kéo dài thời hạn bảo hộ tại Điều 18.37.2 sẽ được Việt Nam nội luật hóa, ngành công nghiệp sản xuất thuốc gốc và thuốc tương tự sinh học, vốn chiếm tỷ trọng lớn trong ngành công nghiệp sản xuất dược phẩm của Việt Nam, sẽ bị ảnh hưởng nghiêm trọng.

  • Đối với giá thuốc và quyền tiếp cận thuốc của người dân Việt Nam.

Từ trước đến nay, dược phẩm luôn được xem là sản phẩm thiết yếu và nhạy cảm, ảnh hưởng đến lợi ích công cộng và tính mạng, sức khỏe con người và chất lượng cuộc sống. Thuốc gốc, do không phải bao gồm chi phí nghiên cứu và phát triển cũng như phí chuyển quyền sử dụng sáng chế, thường có giá thành rẻ hơn rất nhiều so với thuốc biệt dược. Vì vậy, thuốc gốc trở thành lựa chọn của rất nhiều bệnh nhân, đặc biệt là tại Việt Nam, đất nước có thu nhập bình quân đầu người ở mức thấp so với nhiều quốc gia trong khu vực cũng như trên thế giới.

Chấp nhận bảo hộ các đối tượng tại Điều 18.37.2 Hiệp định TPP đồng nghĩa với việc chấp nhận rằng thời gian bảo hộ độc quyền sáng chế đối với dược phẩm rất có thể sẽ tăng lên gấp nhiều lần bằng phương thức “evergreening”. Khi thời hạn bảo hộ sáng chế bị kéo dài thêm, các doanh ngiệp dược phẩm không thể sản xuất thuốc gốc để cung cấp cho nhu cầu phòng và chữa bệnh của cộng đồng. Chưa kể đến các lợi ích về kinh tế mà ngành sản xuất thuốc gốc bị thiệt hại, hệ quả ngay trước mắt là người dân và các bệnh nhân không còn sự lựa chọn nào khác ngoài việc trả một mức giá rất cao cho sản phẩm thuốc được bảo hộ sáng chế để bảo vệ sức khỏe và tính mạng của mình. Rõ ràng, các quy định về bảo hộ sáng chế trong TPP đã hạn chế đáng kể quyền tiếp cận thuốc của người dân đặc biệt là những bệnh nhân nghèo tại Việt Nam.

Một số đề xuất khắc phục những khó khăn của Việt Nam khi thực hiện bảo hộ các đối tượng mới

Đã từ lâu, trên cơ sở phù hợp với khả năng kinh tế và tiềm lực phát triển khoa học công nghệ của mình, các quốc gia luôn tìm kiếm một chính sách phù hợp nhằm cân bằng giữa việc bảo hộ quyền sở hữu trí tuệ và quyền tiếp cận thuốc của cộng đồng. Bằng Tuyên bố Doha 2001 về Hiệp định TRIPS và sức khỏe cộng đồng, tất cả các thành viên WTO, trong đó có các nước TPP đã ghi nhận tầm quan trọng, sự cần thiết và phù hợp đạo đức của việc áp dụng linh hoạt các quy định của TRIPS nhằm bảo vệ sức khỏe cộng đồng.

Trong quá trình đàm phán Hiệp định TPP, đoàn đàm phán chương sở hữu trí tuệ của Việt Nam đã bày tỏ quan điểm không chấp thuận các đề xuất liên quan đến việc tăng cường mức độ bảo hộ sáng chế. Trong Bản khuyến nghị chính sách của cộng đồng Doanh nghiệp Việt Nam về phương án đàm phán Chương sở hữu trí tuệ cũng như Thư kiến nghị về đàm phán Chương sở hữu trí tuệ của Phòng thương mại và công nghiệp Việt Nam (VCCI), các doanh nghiệp, hợp tác xã, nhóm bệnh nhân,… trên toàn quốc đã đề nghị đoàn đàm phán cần kịch liệt bác bỏ những đề xuất tăng cường bảo hộ sáng chế, đặc biệt là các quy định mở rộng phạm vi đối tượng bảo hộ sáng chế như cách sử dụng mới của một sản phẩm đã biết, phương pháp sử dụng mới của một sản phẩm đã biết, hoặc quy trình sử dụng mới của một sản phẩm đã biết[5]. Tuy nhiên, như đã nói, các quy định trong Chương Sở hữu trí tuệ trong Hiệp định TPP là sự đánh đổi của Việt Nam để đạt được những lợi ích kinh tế và chính trị cấp bách trong các lĩnh vực thương mại và đầu tư.

Quy định tại Điều 18.37.2 Hiệp định TPP, vốn được dự đoán là sẽ tạo điều kiện cho việc thực hiện “evergreening” đối với sáng chế, là điểm mới trọng tâm của việc bảo hộ sáng chế theo TPP so với pháp luật hiện hành của Việt Nam. Trên thế giới, nhiều nước bao gồm Ấn Độ và Philipines coi “evergreening” là một biểu hiện của việc lạm dụng quyền sở hữu trí tuệ và đã có những biên pháp hết sức quyết liệt để cấm hành vi này.[6] Vì vậy, trên cơ sở phù hợp với các cam kết trong TPP và vận dụng linh hoạt các điều khoản tùy nghi của Hiệp định TRIPS cũng như tinh thần của Tuyên bố Doha, Việt Nam cũng cần áp dụng một số biện pháp để bảo vệ sức khỏe cộng đồng và ngăn chặn việc lạm dụng quyền sở hữu trí tuệ đặc biệt trong vấn đề bảo hộ sáng chế đối với dược phẩm.

  • Nới lỏng những điều kiện về chuyển giao quyền sử dụng sáng chế bắt buộc trong lĩnh vực dược phẩm.

Bắt buộc chuyển giao quyền sử dụng sáng chế, hay còn được gọi là li-xăng không tự nguyện sáng chế, là việc cơ quan nhà nước có thẩm quyền cho phép một bên không phải là chủ sở hữu sáng chế được phép sử dụng sáng chế đó mà không cần có sự đồng ý của chủ sở hữu sáng chế. Hiệp định TPP cho phép các bên có quyền đặt ra ngoại lệ đối với độc quyền được cấp cho chủ sở hữu sáng chế, cụ thể, Điều 18.40 Hiệp định TPP quy định:

Điều 18.40: Ngoại lệ

Mỗi Bên có thể thiết lập một số ngoại lệ đối với độc quyền cấp cho chủ sở hữu sáng chế, với điều kiện các ngoại lệ đó không xung đột quá mức với việc khai thác bình thường sáng chế và không gây phương hại một cách bất hợp lý đến lợi ích hợp pháp của các chủ sở hữu bằng sáng chế, có tính đến lợi ích hợp pháp của các bên thứ ba.”

Hiện nay, Luật Sở hữu trí tuệ Việt Nam cũng đã quy định cụ thể các căn cứ bắt buộc chuyển giao sáng chế như: Sử dụng sáng chế nhằm mục đích công cộng, đảm bảo đáp ứng các nhu cầu cấp thiết của xã hội; Chủ sở hữu sáng chế không thực hiện nghĩa vụ sử dụng sáng chế hoặc thực hiện hành vi phản cạnh tranh;… Tuy nhiên, không phải trong bất cứ trường hợp nào cơ quan nhà nước có thẩm quyền cũng có đủ các căn cứ để thực hiện biện pháp bắt buộc chuyển giao quyền sử dụng sáng chế. Đồng thời người được chuyển giao quyền sử dụng sáng chế dược phẩm theo quyết định bắt buộc khi thực hiện sản xuất cũng bị hạn chế đáng kể về phạm vi sử dụng và quy mô sản xuất.

  • Tạo điều kiện cho việc nhập khẩu song song dược phẩm.

Nhập khẩu song song dược phẩm là việc nhập khẩu các sản phẩm thuốc được đưa ra thị trường nước ngoài một cách hợp pháp. Đối với Việt Nam, các sản phẩm thuốc tại thị trường nước ngoài, đặc biệt là các sản phẩm được sản xuất theo quyết định bắt buộc chuyển giao quyền sử dụng sáng chế, thường có giá thành rẻ hơn so với thuốc được sản xuất theo sự cho phép của chủ sở hữu sáng chế, ngay cả khi đã tính thuế nhập khẩu. Mặc dù tại thời điểm hiện tại, Luật sở hữu trí tuệ Việt Nam đã cho phép nhập khẩu song song dược phẩm, tuy nhiên, các quy định có liên quan khác (ví dụ: Thuế, cấp phép lưu hành, quản lý giá thuốc,…) vẫn chưa được thuận lợi đến mức độ có thể khuyến khích thực hiện nhập khẩu song song thuốc. Bởi vậy, Việt Nam nên tạo điều kiện thuận lợi, bao gồm tạo hành lang pháp lý toàn diện cho các doanh nghiệp thực hiện việc nhập khẩu song song các loại dược phẩm.

  • Quy định cụ thể hành vi lạm dụng quyền sở hữu trí tuệ như một hành vi phản cạnh tranh.

Luật cạnh tranh của Việt Nam tại thời điểm hiện tại chưa ghi nhận những hành vi lạm dụng quyền sở hữu trí tuệ, đặc biệt là độc quyền sử dụng sáng chế như một hành vi gây phản cạnh tranh. Trên thực tế, độc quyền sáng chế mang lại một thế mạnh cạnh tranh vô cùng lớn cho chủ sở hữu. Tuy nhiên, để đảm bảo quyền lợi ích hợp pháp, pháp luật về sở hữu trí tuệ trao cho chủ sở hữu sáng chế những độc quyền trong một thời hạn nhất định. Thời hạn đó đã được nghiên cứu kỹ lưỡng trên cơ sở cân nhắc lợi ích các bên và ấn định sao cho cân bằng giữa việc đảm bảo quyền lợi chính đáng của chủ sở hữu và việc đảm bảo tính cạnh tranh lành mạnh giữa các chủ thể kinh doanh trên thị trường. Bất kỳ hành vi nào, bằng cách thức nào, cố tình kéo dài thời hạn đã được ấn định đó, đều phải bị coi là hành vi lạm dụng quyền sở hữu trí tuệ và gây hạn chế cạnh tranh một đáng kể. Vì vậy, để đảm bảo một môi trường cạnh tranh lành mạnh cho thị trường dược phẩm, ngăn chặn các hành vi phản cạnh tranh, Việt Nam cần đưa vào pháp luật cạnh tranh của mình các quy định cụ thể về hành vi lạm dụng quyền sở hữu trí tuệ.

  • Một số biện pháp dành cho các doanh nghiệp dược phẩm.

Việc khắc phục những khó khăn đối với thị trường dược phẩm khi các đối tượng mới được bảo hộ theo cam kết trong TPP đòi hỏi không chỉ sự thay đổi về chính sách và pháp luật từ phía nhà nước và các cơ quan chức năng mà còn đòi hỏi sự ỗ lực đổi mới và phát triển từ phía các doanh nghiệp dược phẩm. Để có thể tồn tại trước thế mạnh cạnh tranh của các công ty dược phẩm nước ngoài, các doanh nghiệp trong nước cần không ngừng cải tiến công nghệ, nâng cao năng lực về tài chính, đẩy mạnh đầu tư cho nghiên cứu và phát triển. Trước mắt, có thể các doanh nghiệp trong nước chưa thể tự mình nghiên cứu được các loại thuốc hoàn toàn mới, tuy nhiên, việc tìm ra công dụng mới, dạng bào chế mới hay cách thức sử dụng mới của một loại thuốc đã có là hoàn toàn có thể. Quyền đăng ký sáng chế đối với các đối tượng này không phải chỉ được trao cho chủ sở hữu sáng chế của sản phẩm đã biết, vì vậy, các doanh nghiệp trong nước, không cần tốn quá nhiều công sức cũng có thể dành được độc quyền đối với sáng chế chỉ bằng việc tìm ra những điểm mới rất nhỏ xung quanh sáng chế đó (invent around and patent fences). Khi đã có được một số độc quyền xung quanh sáng chế của các doanh nghiệp nước ngoài, các doanh nghiệp trong nước hoàn toàn có thế mạnh để đàm phán về việc cấp phép sử dụng sáng chế gốc, bao gồm một số hình thức như góp vốn bằng độc quyền sáng chế, cấp phép ngược, cấp phép chéo,…

Bằng các biện pháp cả về mặt pháp lý lẫn về mặt kinh tế, kỹ thuật đã nêu trên, hành vi “evergreening”, cố tình kéo dài một cách bất hợp lý thời hạn bảo hộ sáng chế, hoàn toàn có thể được hạn chế một cách đáng kể, khắc phục hiệu quả những khó khăn đối với việc sản xuất thuốc gốc và đẩy mạnh phân phối thuốc giá rẻ, đảm bảo quyền tiếp cận thuốc của người dân Việt Nam. Ngay cả trong trường hợp Hiệp định TPP không được thông qua và đưa vào vận hành, trên phương diện của Việt Nam, các biện pháp kể trên vẫn có tác dụng triệt để trong việc ngăn chặn hành vi lạm dụng độc quyền đối với sáng chế, góp phần bảo vệ quyền lợi công cộng, thúc đẩy cạnh tranh và phát triển khoa học công nghệ.

Kết luận

Tới thời điểm này, Hiệp định TPP đã được ký kết. Hiệp định được đánh giá sẽ nâng mức độ bảo hộ sáng chế tại Việt Nam, vốn đã cao, lên đến mức bất hợp lý, không phù hợp với khả năng và tình hình thực tế của Việt Nam. Vì vậy, dù Hiệp định có được thông qua và đưa vào vận hành hay không, Việt Nam cũng cần có những biện pháp để kéo cán cân giữa việc bảo hộ độc quyền sáng chế dược phẩm và lợi ích, sức khỏe cộng đồng, vốn đang và ngày càng nghiêng về phía bảo hộ độc quyền sáng chế, trở về vị trí cân bằng.

(Tác giả: Tiến sĩ Luật Lê Nết, Đặng Thị Thùy Linh – Công ty Luật LNT & Partners)

[1] Xem: Điều 4.12 và Điều 58 Luật Sở hữu trí tuệ Việt Nam năm 2005, sửa đổi bổ sung năm 2009.

[2] Xem: Phòng Thương mại và Công nghiệp Việt Nam (VCCI), “Khuyến nghị chính sách của Cộng đồng doanh nghiệp Việt Nam về phương án đàm phán Hiệp định TPP – Chương Sở hữu trí tuệ”, tháng 7 năm 2012.

[3] Xem: Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Generic Drugs”, 2006.

[4] Xem: Ove Granstrand và Frank Tietze, “IP strategies and policies for and against evergreening”, tháng 4 năm 2015.

[5] Xem: Phòng Thương mại và Công nghiệp Việt Nam (VCCI), “Khuyến nghị chính sách của Cộng đồng doanh nghiệp Việt Nam về phương án đàm phán Hiệp định TPP – Chương Sở hữu trí tuệ”, tháng 7 năm 2012.

[6] Xem: Sushmita R., Christ Law College, “Evergreening: An abuse of the patent system” tháng 1 năm 2015.

Chuyên đề giải quyết tranh chấp xây dựng – Luật sư Lê Nết

Nội dung của Chuyên đề giải quyết tranh chấp xây dựng do Tiến sĩ Luật Lê Nết soạn thảo xoay quanh các vấn đề chính:

  1. HỢp đồng xây dựng theo Nghị định 37/ 2015
  2. Các loại tranh chấp trong xây dựng
  3. Nguyên nhân tranh chấp
  4. Giải pháp

Xem và tải bản đầy đủ tại Chuyên đề giải quyết tranh chấp xây dựng_LS. Lê Nết

#Construction #Dispute #Method #Insight #Legal


Feel free to download the PDF for your ease of reference: VIETNAM CAPITAL MARKET AND PROJECT FINANCE

Dr. Le Net, LNT & Partners

Although Vietnam’s capital markets were established more than twenty years ago, the participation of Vietnam-based law firms i the markets, both locally and internationally, is still rare. The main reasons for this have been the standardization of the State Securities Committee (SSC), the dominance of state capital, and strict foreign exchange controls.  The central new Government, formed in 2016, declared this year to be the “Enterprise Year” and issued many changes to laws and regulations to help make Vietnam become of the top four most open markets in ASEAN. The Government also accelerated its privatization plan (so-called “equalization”) and reduced interference from official development assistance (ODA) with project financing, as well as with recent legal reforms. The time for Vietnamese lawyers in capital markets and project finance is forthcoming.


The Law on Securities (LOS) governs Vietnam’s debt market for bonds, and the equity market for shares of public companies – joint stock companies (JSC) that have more than 100 shareholders. The largest trading volume in the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) and the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) is from Government bonds, which are invested by financial institutions with very rare involvement from law firms. Shares are traded by listed companies, whose IPO’s are prepared by securities companies rather than law firms, unlike in other countries. Corporate bonds and project bonds are still rare, although recently, there have been a number of offshore bonds available on the market.

The role of law firms is mainly for either IP offshore or pre-IPO onshore dealings between strategic partners with a target state owned enterprise (SOE) before equalization has taken place. So far, only leading international law firms or the top three local law firms have been eligible to participate in this narrow market.

Under the LOS, a public company must be registered at the SSC and its shares must be deposited at the Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD). Acquisitions gaining more than 25% of their total shares will be subject to a mandatory public offering (MPO). Almost all state owned enterprises (SOE) going through equalization will become public companies. In reality, many of the equitized SOEs are not registered with the SSC, and therefore, neither the MPO nor the UPCoM apply to them. To facilitate M&As in those companies, certain complex and often unprecedented restructuring models are required, and leading local law firms are proven to be more adept at this, as local laws are complicated and require practical solutions to overcome them.

Another point to note is that selling state shares in equitized SOEs must be done through the HOSE or the HNX, although information on the target company and its valuation is not always transparent. Certain foreign investment funds are willing to take risks investing in equitized companies as such opportunities rarely exist. Many of them can later transfer to Japanese, Thai or Korean conglomerates, with assistance from top law firms that gain innovative lawyers through the Financial Times or deal firm of the year by IFLR, Chambers, or ALB Thomson Reuters. It is expected that  M&As in public or equitized SOEs will be on the rise as those law firms gain more experience on M&A restructuring and legal due diligence with large SOEs.

Apart from the Vietnam debt and equity market, offshore IPOs are on the rise, as the SSC now provides guidelines for investment and offshore listings.  Other areas that Vietnam needs to develop are in high yield products, securitization, debt structuring, and trusts.  Some good news is that, for the first time, the new Civil Code 2015 introduced the concept of “hưởng dụng” – usus fructus that are similar to trusts. Similarly, the Enterprise Law 2014 also reduces conditions to issue bonds or derivatives, making securisation more feasible.


Vietnam’s economic growth was 6.8 percent in 2015, based on two engines: export and a growth of middle income consumers among its young 90 million person population. Due to strong exports, the Vietnamese Dong currency has proven to be resilient despite the devaluation of the Chinese Reminbi. The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) also issued new regulations allowing enterprises to invest or lend abroad. However,  obtaining offshore investment registration certificates (OIRC) is still a challenge for Vietnamese entities. Recently, Saigon Coop lost its 1 billion EUR Big C bid because of delays in obtaining an OIRC, and the strict foreign exchange controls for offshore lending or using foreign exchange to fund onshore projects.  To overcome these regulations, local investors may either need to contact foreign or local lenders in order to deposit foreign currency abroad. More deregulations are expected to ease capital inflow and outflow.


The second trend in Vietnamese financial services law firms is the sophistication of project finance. Some top local law firms have been involved in highly regarded transactions such as: the funding of Haiphong International Container Terminal (HICT), the M&A of the Big Co supermarket system, the development of mega thermal power plants, offshore oil rigs for Petro Vietnam, or aircraft finance for VietJet Air to acquire 100 aircrafts from Airbus and now Boeing. In those projects, the security comes second to project feasibility, and the risk of non-completion is now recognized as a major issue facing lenders or bond investors. To address these risks, financial service lawyers must be skillful not only with the  Asia Pacific Lenders Master Agreement (APLMA) loan structure but also with  focusing commercial expertise on construction contracts, as well as delays and cost overruns to counter the non-completion risks present in project finance. In addition, lawyers need to assist clients to obtain extra incentives and support to guarantee cash flow from the project.

For state support projects, investors often request the government’s guarantee. Nowadays the Government often refuses to provide guarantees, after its anticipated debt caused by the guarantee under the Nghi Son Oil Refinery project.  Lawyers need to find other means to support clients such as through incentives and investment protections rather than through direct financial supports from the State.

Until recently, Vietnam still relies on state capital and ODA funding for its industrialization and infrastructure development. However, as the public debt is reaches 80% of the GDP, SOEs becoming inefficient, and the country’s growth rate still high, the Government is expected to equitize its public sector and focus on enhancing infrastructure for the private sector, including with foreign investors. Changes in the Civil Code, Civil Procedural Code, Enterprise Law, Investment Law, and the Decree on Private Public Partnership (PPP) are some major examples. This policy shift will no doubt create more room for large law firms to develop their financial service sectors to meet the ever demanding growth for their clients.


For further information/ insights, please contact:

Dr. Le Net, email:

Arbitration procedures and practice in Vietnam: overview

This article is our publication from Global Guide 2014/15 – ARBITRATION by Practice Law (A Thomson  Reuters Legal Solution). This section is written by Dr. Le Net –  Partner of LNT & Partners

A Q&A guide to arbitration law and practice in Vietnam

The country-specific Q&A guide provides a structured overview of the key practical issues concerning arbitration in this jurisdiction, including any mandatory provisions and default rules applicable under local law, confidentiality, local courts’ willingness to assist arbitration, enforcement of awards and the available remedies, both final and interim.


Use of arbitration and recent trends

1. How is commercial arbitration used in your jurisdiction and what are the recent trends?

In recent years arbitration in Vietnam has gained momentum and is becoming an increasingly attractive method of resolving domestic and international disputes. Parties tend to prefer the private nature of the proceedings and the ability to decide on important issues, including the arbitrators, choice of law, venue and language. Relevant statistics for 2013 revealed that 4% of all disputes In Vietnam were resolved by arbitration.

An overwhelming majority of the cases involve the sale of goods (60%), relying on data from the largest and most commonly used local arbitration administrator in Vietnam, the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC). However, a growing number of claims relate to other economic sectors such as banking and finance, construction, distribution, investments, outsourcing and services.

Recent trends

Foreign companies have used arbitration for quite some time, but recent statistics show that local companies are increasingly relying on arbitration as the preferred choice for dispute resolution. A leading indicator is the 55% increase year-on-year in cases settled by VIAC in 2013. The VIAC handled 99 cases in 2013 and 124 cases in 2014 (an increase of 25%). The majority of cases are settled in Ho Chi Minh City. Domestic arbitrations count for 58.9% while international arbitrations count for 41.1%. On average, an arbitration lasts for 167 days, with the shortest case taking 81 days and the longest case extending 251 days. Out of 124 cases, the following statistics demonstrate that the VIAC arbitration is now becoming increasingly recognised internationally:

  • Cases that apply applicable foreign laws: four.

  • Cases that apply foreign languages: 25.

  • Cases where arbitrators send dissenting or separate opinions: five.

  • Cases that have the involvement of lawyers: 66 out of 124.

  • Cases that request for courts to apply interim measures: 14.

  • Cases that request for the tribunal to apply interim measures: two.

Arbitration clauses are now becoming a necessity in virtually all contracts.

Another positive trend is the increased involvement of local Vietnamese attorneys acting as arbitrators. The valuable experience local attorneys gain from representing clients in arbitral disputes have translated into a larger pool of qualified local attorneys who can credibly act as arbitrators in both complex cross-border and domestic arbitration proceedings. This will help bolster and continue to elevate arbitration as the preferred dispute resolution mechanism in Vietnam.


There are many advantages to using arbitration over court litigation. In addition to the near universal advantages experienced in other jurisdictions (for example, final resolution on the merits, privacy, quicker resolution, and ability to select the language and venue).

One key advantage arbitration offers is the ability for parties to preselect the lex causae (that is, the law governing the merits of the dispute). This is unless the underlying dispute is wholly a domestic affair. In contrast, litigants in Vietnamese courts must exclusively rely on Vietnamese law. Testimony on foreign law in Vietnamese court proceedings is currently not allowed. The ability to choose the substantive law allows the parties to better manage their risks, selecting and applying laws that cover potential issues specific to their commercial relationship.

Another key advantage is the ability to select qualified and impartial arbitrators. Vietnam’s corruption rankings are among the worst in the world and judicial bribery remains a major concern.

Finally, because Vietnam is a signatory to the New York Convention, arbitral awards are recognised and enforceable in more countries, including Vietnam, compared to court judgments, which are recognised on a reciprocal basis making the enforcement of foreign judgments more difficult.

While arbitration offers many benefits, the enforcement of arbitral awards in Vietnam remains challenging. The grounds for setting aside awards can be interpreted broadly when compared to the arbitration enforcement laws and practices of other countries.

Use of commercial arbitration

Legislative framework

Applicable legislation

2. What legislation applies to arbitration? To what extent has your jurisdiction adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration 1985 (UNCITRAL Model Law)?

The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) governs arbitrations conducted in Vietnam. Resolution No. 01/2014/NQ-HDTP (Resolution No.01), issued by the Supreme Court of Vietnam, provides further guidance on the implementation of certain provisions of the LCA.

The LCA refers significantly to the UNCITRAL Model Law and incorporates many important legal concepts, including a:

  • Tribunal’s ability to summon witnesses.

  • Party’s right to request, and a tribunal’s corresponding ability to grant, interim relief.

The Law on Enforcement of Civil Judgments (LECJ) controls the enforcement of arbitral awards and the Civil Procedure Code 2004 (CPC) governs the recognition and enforcement of foreign awards in Vietnam.

Mandatory legislative provisions

3. Are there any mandatory legislative provisions? What is their effect?

Most provisions in the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) are not mandatory. The LCA allows the parties to freely decide many critical issues that govern the arbitral proceedings. However, there are some mandatory legislative requirements, including:

  • The arbitral award is final and binding.

  • The arbitration agreements must be in writing.

  • The subject matter of the arbitration must involve at least one party engaged in commercial activity (commercial is defined as a profit-making activity, for example, the sale of goods, services, investments and trade promotion) and cannot belong in the exclusive jurisdiction of court litigation.

  • Vietnamese laws apply when the underlying dispute does not involve any foreign element.

  • The arbitral tribunal must, as a threshold, decide its jurisdiction by determining the validity and subject matter of an arbitration agreement.

  • Arbitrators must be independent, objective, impartial and observe the law.

The cumulative effect of the mandatory provisions is a strong legal system generally in favour of arbitration. This reduces the “bottleneck” effect caused by threshold issues that typically plague other jurisdictions, that is, the validity and scope of arbitration provisions.


4. Does the law of limitation apply to arbitration proceedings?

The statute of limitations to institute arbitration proceedings is typically two years from the date that a claimant has the right to take legal action. This is with the following two exceptions:

  • The statute of limitations for insurance contracts is three years from when the dispute arises (Article 30, Law on Insurance Business 2000).

  • The statute of limitations for damages with respect to cargo is one year from the date on which the cargo is delivered or should have been delivered to the consignee (Article 97, Vietnam Maritime Code).

The statute of limitations to enforce a foreign arbitral award is one year from the date the award becomes final.

Arbitration organisations

5. Which arbitration organisations are commonly used to resolve large commercial disputes in your jurisdiction?

The Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC) is the largest arbitration organisation in Vietnam. However, there are a number of arbitration centres, including:

  • The Asean International Commercial Arbitration Centre (ACIAC).

  • The Financial and Commercial Centre for Arbitration (FCCA).

  • The Pacific International Arbitration Centre (PIAC).

See box, Main arbitration organisations.

Arbitration agreements

Validity requirements

6. What are the requirements for an arbitration agreement to be enforceable?

Substantive/formal requirements

The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) only requires that an arbitration agreement be in writing and contain language that establishes the mutual consent of the parties to resolve their dispute by arbitration. The written requirement can be satisfied in different ways and can take various forms, including the following:

  • An agreement made through communications between the parties via telegram, fax, telex, email or other forms prescribed by law.

  • An agreement made through the exchange of written information between the parties.

  • An agreement recorded in writing by a lawyer, notary public, or competent institution at the request of the parties.

  • A document such as a contract, company charter or other similar document, which contains an arbitration agreement, and referenced by the parties during the course of their transaction.

  • An agreement made through an exchange of statements of claims and defences that reflect the existence of an agreement proposed by a party and not denied by the other party.

Separate arbitration agreement

An arbitration agreement can be made in the form of an arbitration clause contained in a contract or in the form of a separate agreement.

Unilateral or optional clauses

7. Are unilateral or optional clauses, where one party has the right to choose arbitration, enforceable?

The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) does not address unilateral or optional clauses. However, in theory if one party confers another party the right to arbitrate this may be sufficient to establish an agreement to arbitration.

In the context of consumer services and goods, arbitration cannot be unilaterally imposed through the provider’s general terms and conditions. Consumers can elect to litigate in court or arbitrate the dispute.


8. Does the applicable law recognise the separability of arbitration agreements?

An arbitration agreement is entirely independent of the contract where it is contained. Any modification, extension, cancellation, invalidation or non-performance of the underlying contract will not invalidate the arbitration agreement.

Breach of an arbitration agreement

9. What remedies are available where a party starts court proceedings in breach of an arbitration agreement or initiates arbitration in breach of a valid jurisdiction clause?

Court proceedings in breach of an arbitration agreement

A court will refuse to accept a case involving a dispute that is subject to a valid arbitration agreement. A party’s participation in a court proceeding does not act as a waiver of the party’s right to arbitrate the matter.

Arbitration in breach of a valid jurisdiction clause

If the parties did not agree to arbitrate, but instead agreed to resolve all disputes in court under a valid jurisdiction clause, the arbitration cannot proceed. If the scope of the jurisdiction clause is limited to certain matters, the parties can theoretically either waive the jurisdiction clause or agree to arbitrate matters not within the scope of the jurisdiction clause.

10. Will the local courts grant an injunction to restrain proceedings started overseas in breach of an arbitration agreement?

There are no regulations that specifically allow a local court to grant an injunction restraining judicial proceedings initiated overseas in breach of a valid arbitration agreement. The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) simply directs a court to refuse to accept cases that are subject to arbitration and allows a court to decide whether a matter is subject to arbitration.

However, the LCA does allow a tribunal the power to prohibit or force a party from taking any action that may adversely affect the arbitral proceedings.

Joinder of third parties

11. In what circumstances can a third party be joined to an arbitration or otherwise be bound by an arbitration award?

The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) does not contain any provision allowing the involuntary joinder of non-signatory third parties to an arbitration proceeding. However, a third party (with the consent of all parties) may theoretically voluntarily join the arbitration as a co-applicant or co-respondent.

A third party may nevertheless be bound by an arbitral award if the party is a party to another contract whose validity or enforceability is dependent on the contract that is subject to arbitration. For example, an award from a loan agreement containing a valid arbitration agreement can affect the guarantor of the loan. Similarly, an agent can theoretically bind the non-signatory principal.


Number and qualifications/characteristics

12. Are there any legal requirements relating to the number and qualifications/characteristics of arbitrators?

An arbitral tribunal can be composed of one or more arbitrators as agreed by the parties.

Under the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) a person who satisfies all the following criteria can act as an arbitrator:

  • Has the legal capacity to act under the Civil Code.

  • Possess a university degree and at least five years’ of work experience in the discipline studied.

  • In special cases, an expert who has highly specialised skills or qualifications can also be selected as arbitrator even if he does not have the requisite education and work experience.

The following cannot act as arbitrators:

  • Incumbent judges, procurators, investigators, enforcement officers or civil servants of the people’s courts, people’s procuracy, investigative agencies or judgment enforcement agencies.

  • Persons serving criminal sentences or whose criminal records have not yet been cleared even though they have served their sentences.


13. Are there any requirements relating to arbitrators’ independence and/or impartiality?

An arbitrator must be independent and impartial, with the ability to quickly and promptly settle disputes.


14. Does the law contain default provisions relating to the appointment and/or removal of arbitrators?

Appointment of arbitrators

Under Article 40 of the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) the parties are free to agree on the procedure for the appointment of the arbitrator(s). In cases where the parties agree that their dispute will be settled by a sole arbitrator, the claimant must state the name and address of the person whom the claimant selects as arbitrator. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, within 30 days after receiving the claimant’s statement of claims, the parties must agree on the selection of a sole arbitrator or request the Arbitration Centre to appoint a sole arbitrator, within 30 days after receiving the claimant’s statement of claims (unless otherwise agreed by the parties). A competent court can, at the request of any party, designate a sole arbitrator.

Removal of arbitrators

An arbitrator is disqualified and can be removed in the following circumstances (Article 42.1, LCA):

  • The arbitrator is a relative or representative of one party.

  • The arbitrator has an interest related to the dispute.

  • There are clear grounds to conclude that the arbitrator is not impartial or objective.

  • The arbitrator was a conciliator, representative, or lawyer of one party before the dispute was brought to arbitration for settlement (unless the parties consented in writing to waive such a potential conflict).


Commencement of arbitral proceedings

15. Does the law provide default rules governing the commencement of arbitral proceedings?

There are no laws that provide default rules governing the commencement of arbitral proceedings. When a dispute is settled by an arbitration centre, the time of commencement of arbitral proceedings is the time the arbitration centre receives the claimant’s statement of claims (unless otherwise agreed to by the parties)

In contrast, when a dispute is settled by ad hoc arbitration, the time of commencement of arbitral proceedings is the time the defendant receives the claimant’s statement of claims (unless otherwise agreed to by the parties).

Applicable rules

16. What procedural rules are arbitrators likely to follow? Can the parties determine the procedural rules that apply? Does the law provide any default rules governing procedure?

Applicable procedural rules

The parties are free to decide the applicable procedural rules. Arbitrators must respect the agreement of the parties if the procedural rules do not contravene any legal prohibitions or social ethics. If the parties do not specify procedural rules for the arbitrators to follow, arbitrators are likely to resort to the rules of the arbitration centre administering the arbitration.

Default rules

If the parties cannot agree on the governing procedure, the tribunal will decide the procedures, subject to the rules of the arbitration centre administering the case.

Arbitrator’s powers

17. What procedural powers does the arbitrator have under the applicable law? If there is no express agreement, can the arbitrator order disclosure of documents and attendance of witnesses (factual or expert)?

Under Article 49 of the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) a tribunal has the right to apply interim injunctive relief based on a party’s request. The Civil Judgment Enforcement Authority will assist in carrying out the orders of a tribunal.

In addition, under Article 46 and Article 47 of the LCA, an arbitrator has the right to request that other organisations or individuals provide evidence or witness statements. However, in the case of non-cooperation, the tribunal can only request assistance from a competent court.


18. What documents must the parties disclose to the other parties and/or the arbitrator? How, in practice, does the scope of disclosure compare with disclosure in litigation? Can the parties determine the rules on disclosure?

Scope of disclosure

Parties have the obligation to provide documents in support of their claims and establish facts relevant to the issues under dispute (Article 46, Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA)). However, there are no specific laws obliging the parties to provide any documents. In the event a party does not disclose supporting documents, there is no administrative or criminal sanction, but the party’s arguments can be severely undermined and not accepted by the tribunal.

There is no difference between disclosure in arbitration and litigation. Vietnam does not have any laws permitting party discovery. A tribunal can request the parties to provide evidence, but parties must make any request for evidence through a court or tribunal. There is no guarantee that a court or tribunal will accept a request. If a party refuses to provide evidence, there is nothing a tribunal can do. A party can seek court intervention, but the outcome is not predictable.

Parties’ choice

There are no provisions under the LCA that allow or disallow the parties to agree to what documents or information will be disclosed by either side.


19. Is arbitration confidential?

Arbitration proceedings are confidential under the Article 4 and 21 of the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA).

Courts and arbitration

20. Will the local courts intervene to assist arbitration proceedings?

Any competent court in Vietnam can intervene, at a party’s request, to assist arbitration proceedings. A competent court has the powers to order any of the following:

  • Appoint an arbitrator in an ad-hoc arbitration.

  • Replace an arbitrator in an ad-hoc arbitration.

  • Decide the validity and scope of arbitration agreements.

  • Assist in the collection of evidence.

  • Apply interim injunctive relief.

  • Summon witnesses.

21. What is the risk of a local court intervening to frustrate the arbitration? Can a party delay proceedings by frequent court applications?

Risk of court intervention

A party can frustrate or delay the arbitration proceedings with frequent court applications. However, any request for court intervention must comply with relevant laws. For example, a party can dispute the validity and scope of an arbitration agreement. If the party fails, the party can later challenge the appointment of an arbitrator, the mode of collecting evidence or later request an arbitral award be cancelled on applicable grounds. If there is a legal basis for the request, a party cannot be prevented from seeking judicial intervention.

Delaying proceedings

The Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) prohibits the parties from delaying the proceedings (that is, providing claims and defences, disclosing supporting documents and witnesses in an untimely manner). In the event a party seeks judicial intervention, the arbitral proceedings will continue until and unless a court issues a decision that requires the arbitration to cease temporarily or permanently.

22. What remedies are available where one party denies that the tribunal has jurisdiction to determine the dispute(s)? Does your jurisdiction recognise the concept of kompetenz-kompetenz? Does the tribunal or the local court determine issues of jurisdiction?

A party can raise the lack of jurisdiction argument with the tribunal or a competent court under the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA). Vietnam laws recognise the concept of competence-competence, even requiring the tribunal to first decide its jurisdiction. This power is not exclusive and can be reviewed by a competent court, whose decision is final and binding on the parties and the tribunal.

The arbitral proceedings continue until the court decides that there is no valid arbitration agreement or limits the subject matter subject to arbitration.


23. What interim remedies are available from the tribunal?


The tribunal can award security, resorting to the rules of the administering body (if applicable) (Article 34, Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA)).

Other interim measures

The tribunal can order the following interim measures or interim injunctive relief (Article 49, LCA):

  • Prohibit any change in the status of assets under dispute.

  • Prohibit or force a party to take action that would prevent the proceedings from being adversely affected.

  • Seize assets under dispute.

  • Order the preservation, storage, sale or disposal of any asset under dispute.

  • Request temporary monetary payment between the parties.

  • Prohibit the transfer of assets under dispute.

24. What final remedies are available from the tribunal?

The tribunal has broad powers to award appropriate remedies, such as damages, injunctions, declarations, costs and interest. However, the remedies must have been specifically requested by a party and not be contrary to the fundamental principles of Vietnamese law. Remedies that are immoral, illegal or manifestly unreasonable, including excessive punitive or exemplary damages, may be deemed to contravene fundamental principles of Vietnamese law.


25. Can arbitration proceedings and awards be appealed or challenged in the local courts? What are the grounds and procedure? Can the parties effectively exclude any rights of appeal?

Rights of appeal/challenge

The parties in an arbitration proceeding have the right to challenge and cancel an unfavourable award by lodging a petition with a local competent court (setting aside the award). An award cannot be appealed, that is, the merits of the underlying dispute cannot be re-adjudicated.

Grounds and procedure

A party must lodge a request to cancel an adverse award with a competent court within 30 days of receipt of the award. The merits of the dispute cannot be re-litigated. The aggrieved party can only request the court to review and cancel the award on the following grounds:

  • Whether there exists a valid arbitration agreement.

  • Whether the subject matter decided by arbitration falls within the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal.

  • Whether the arbitral tribunal was properly convened and whether the arbitration proceedings followed applicable procedures.

  • Whether the evidence was properly submitted.

  • Whether the arbitral tribunal was objective and impartial.

  • Whether the award contravenes fundamental principles of Vietnam law.

Recently there is an alarming trend of awards being set aside. Some of the awards are set aside on the grounds that there was no arbitration agreement, or that pre-arbitration negotiations were not exhausted. Some awards are set aside because it is contrary to the fundamental principles of Vietnam law, such as the principle of pacta sunt servanda (or the principle of objectivity).

This trend is a growing concern because court decisions setting aside arbitral awards are not usually subject to revision or appeal. There is a possibility that the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) may be amended to address this shortcoming and allow court decisions to be appealed and/or revised.

Excluding rights of appeal

There is no right to appeal arbitral awards. However, the grounds to set aside an award can be considered waived if not properly reserved. Under Article 13 of the LCA, one party waives its rights to protest violations of the LCA, if during the arbitration proceedings the perceived violations were not properly raised. However, this Article does not apply if the award contravenes fundamental principles of Vietnamese law.

26. What legal fee structures can be used? Are fees fixed by law?

There are no prohibitions on the type of fee structures that can be charged by lawyers representing parties in arbitration proceedings.

27. Does the unsuccessful party have to pay the successful party’s costs? How does the tribunal usually calculate any costs award and what factors does it consider?

Cost allocation

The unsuccessful party must pay the arbitration costs (not lawyer fees) unless otherwise agreed to by the parties or ordered by the tribunal (Article 34, Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA)).

Cost calculation

The LCA defines arbitration costs as the:

  • Remuneration paid to the arbitrators.

  • Travel and other expenses incurred by the arbitrators.

  • Consultation of expert witnesses or other assistance requested by the arbitrators.

  • Cost of administering the arbitration and other services provided by the arbitration centre.

The costs usually correspond with the amount of dispute, and not with the time spent by the arbitrators.

Factors considered

The LCA allows the tribunal to allocate the costs between the parties, but in general the losing party bears the costs.

Enforcement of an award

Domestic awards

28. To what extent is an arbitration award made in your jurisdiction enforceable in the local courts?

A domestic arbitration award is fully enforceable, unless there are grounds for cancellation. The award creditor can request the provincial civil judgment enforcement authority where the award was issued to execute the award. In the case of an ad hoc arbitration award, the award creditor must first register the award with a competent court before requesting the civil judgment enforcement authority to carry out the award.

29. Is your jurisdiction party to international treaties relating to recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards, such as the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (New York Convention)?

Vietnam has been a member of the New York Convention since 1995. Vietnam made four reservations at the time of agreement:

  • The New York Convention applies to contracting states.

  • The New York Convention applies to non-contracting states on the basis of reciprocity.

  • The New York Convention will be applied only to commercial disputes as determined under the laws of Vietnam.

  • The interpretation of the New York Convention before Vietnamese courts or competent authorities must be in accordance with the Constitution and the law of Vietnam.

30. To what extent is a foreign arbitration award enforceable in your jurisdiction?

To enforce a foreign award in Vietnam (including from the UK and the US) a party must first file a petition with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) in the country’s capital, Hanoi (along with the award and relevant documents). The MOJ reviews the documents for compliance with procedural requirements and then transfers the documents to a competent court. The competent court then notifies the award debtor and the public prosecutor before considering the petition.

The grounds for refusing recognition and enforcement are those set out in Article V of the New York Convention and Article 370 of Vietnam’s Civil Procedure Code.

Length of enforcement proceedings

31. How long do enforcement proceedings in the local court take, from the date of filing the application to the date when the court makes its final order? Is there an expedited procedure?

The award debtor has 30 days after compliance is required to satisfy the award. If the award is not satisfied, the award creditor can request a competent enforcement agency to enforce the award after it has become final.

In contrast, the procedure for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards is more time consuming. It can take one to two years from the date of submission to receive a final order. This is despite the approximate timeline of five months provided in the Civil Procedure Code 2004 (CPC) from the time the petition is first lodged with the Ministry of Justice until a final decision is rendered by the Supreme Court.


2. Are any changes to the law currently under consideration or being proposed?

Amendments to the Law on Commercial Arbitration No. 54/2010/QH12 dated 17 June 2010 (LCA) are currently under consideration to reduce the risk of awards being set aside. The discussions are very preliminary and no changes are expected in the coming year.

The Supreme Court has issued a Resolution and an Official Letter that clarify the grounds to set aside foreign arbitral awards. Resolution 01 was made effective on 01 July 2014. In addition to clarifying the grounds to cancel foreign arbitration awards, Resolution 01 reaffirms the jurisdiction of Vietnamese courts to issue interim injunctive relief. Official Letter No. 246/TANDTC-KT was sent to all provincial level courts in Vietnam, providing guidance on the application of the New York Convention with respect to foreign arbitral awards. Specifically, the Letter reminds the lower courts to apply the substantive laws and arbitration rules selected by the parties and not the Vietnamese Civil Procedure Code.


Main arbitration organisations

Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC)

Main activities. The VIAC is responsible for resolving commercial, construction and financial disputes

The Financial and Commercial Centre for Arbitration (FCCA)

Main activities. The FCCA is responsible for resolving financial, construction and investment disputes

The Asean International Commercial Arbitration Centre (ACIAC)

Main activities. The ACIAC resolves commercial disputes

The Pacific International Arbitration Centre (PIAC)

Main activities. The PIAC resolves commercial disputes


 Online resources

Office of National Assembly


Description: The website is provided by the Office of National Assembly. It provides Vietnamese versions of soft copies of the constitution, laws, ordinances, decrees, circulars and other sub-law documents.


Description: The website is unofficial, but the largest provider of English-language translation of Vietnamese laws.


Description. This is a legal blog run by LNT & Partners that has insight reviews and connects between the facts and the laws (including arbitration).


Description. This is a law blog run by Allens Linklaters, which provides a subscription database of Vietnam law in English.


Contributor profiles

Le Net, Partner, VIAC Arbitrator

LNT & Partners

T + 84 83 8212 357
F + 84 80 9103733

Professional qualifications. Vietnam, Attorney at Law.

Areas of practice. Infrastructure; financial services; dispute resolutions.

Non-professional qualifications. Lecturer, Ho Chi Minh City University of Law.

Recent transactions

  • Acting for the employer in a US$150 million ICC construction arbitration on the Saigon River Tunnel and East West Highway.
  • Advising the employer on the US$2.7 billion Metro Line No 2 Ho Chi Minh City
  • Advising the lenders in a US$345 million oil and gas project finance.

Languages. English, Vietnamese, Polish, French.

Professional associations/memberships. Vietnam International Arbitration Centre, Arbitrator. Drafting Committee, Principles of Asian Contract Law.


  • Vietnam Contract Law, International Encyclopaedia of Laws, Kluwer Law International, Boston (1ST Edition, 1999, 2ND Ed 2012, 3RD Ed 2014).
  • Vietnam Corporate and Partnership Law, International Encyclopaedia of Laws (co-author), Kluwer Law International, Boston (1ST Ed 2012, 2ND Ed 2014).
  • Vietnam Intellectual Property Law, International Encyclopaedia of Laws (co-author), Kluwer Law International, Boston (1ST Ed 2012, 2ND Ed 2014).

Please refer for PDF by clicking the link HERE or HERE.

By Vietnam Law Insight (LNT & Partners)

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact the author Net Le at ( or visit the website: Http://

Partner Tuan Nguyen commented on the URC company’s products

Nearly 40,000 barrels of  Red Dragon and C2 by URC Vietnam Company Limited produced that contains the lead content exceeding the permitted level was consumed out of the market. In spite of being obligated administrative penalty with the total amount over 5.8 billion Dong, the more concerning issue should be consumers’ health who directly suffered from such products. So in this situation, what shall consumers need to do to reclaim their rights?

Let’s watch the video to see how Mr. Tuan Nguyen – Partner in charge of Antitrust practice group at LNT & Partners gave comments on this case:

A Liberalised Framework

This article is our newest publication from “FDI Growth Economies Special Focus (2016)” which will be published in June 2016 by the International Financial Law Review (IFLR). This section is written by Mr. Bui Ngoc Hong – Managing Partner of LNT & Partners

Bui Ngoc Hong of LNT & Partners assesses the impact of Vietnam’s new FDI framework on the country’s growth prospects.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam, in 2015 FDI into Vietnam reached $24.11 billion, an increase of 10% year-on-year. The first four months of 2016 witnessed a surge of FDI into the country, with new FDI reaching $6.88 billion. This represents an increase of 85% over the same period last year.

It remains to be seen whether this wave of new investment will last. From a regulatory and policy perspective, one possible explanation is that many legislative improvements have recently been introduced to attract more FDI into the country.

A new framework

Vietnam’s new legal framework for FDI comprises two main elements: domestic laws and Vietnam’s commitments to international treaties. The latter are mainly in the form of free trade agreements (FTAs). With respect to domestic laws, the new Law on Enterprises (LOE) and new Law on Investment (LOI) were implemented on July 1 2015. On December 27 2015, Decree 118/2015/ND-CP became effective, completing the new legal platform for investment activities in Vietnam.

Vietnamese laws have narrowed down the areas where foreign investment is restricted. A foreign investor should generally be entitled to invest in and own their invested share capital in Vietnam in any sector, unless exceptionally
restricted in accordance with: (i) industry-based regulations and international treaties; (ii) laws on state-owned enterprises (SOEs), particularly those on the privatisation of SOEs; and, (iii) securities law in cases of investment in public, listed companies, or securities companies.

The restrictions in industry-based regulations and international treaties are being reduced due to recently concluded FTAs. Regarding the restrictions set out in the laws on SOEs, in October 2015 Vietnam’s Prime Minister instructed 10 state-owned conglomerates to divest their entire state-ownership. It is notable that these so-called mega-SOEs operate in crucial sectors such as insurance, mining, infrastructure and real estate, dairy, plastics, trading, and telecommunications. This development offers one of the biggest opportunities for foreign investors to enter into lucrative sectors, acquiring long-established brands and strategically located lands, together with a highly skilled managerial work-force in these privatised SOEs. This move is a signal of the government’s determination to leave private business to the private sector.

With respect to the restrictions in the securities law, according to Decree 60/2015/ND-CP, a local Vietnamese public company can now include the maximum ratio of foreign ownership in its charter. This means a foreign investor’s proposed investment into a local public company should have the company’s by-law restrictions lifted through the public company’s general meeting of shareholders.

Investment forms for foreign investors 

A foreign investor can choose to conduct their FDI in Vietnam by way of: (i) entering into a contractual arrangement – either a public-private partnership agreement (PPP) or a business co-operation contract (BCC); (ii) forming a joint venture (JV) with local investors, especially in those sectors where foreign ownership is yet to open fully; or, (iii) wholly owning a company (a wholly foreign owned company, or WFOC), in sectors open to foreign investors.

As for contract forms, foreign investors must use a BCC in certain restricted sectors. Foreign investors who would like to test the water before setting up their legal entity for market expansion may also choose a BCC. Meanwhile, the PPP is mainly used for infrastructure projects. This has great potential given that Vietnam is calling for more privately financed infrastructure projects. The PPP is advantageous to foreign investors because, once negotiated and agreed between the investors and the authority, a PPP agreement under Vietnamese law will generally have the same contractually-binding effects and enforceability as a private transaction, despite the negotiated matters being of a public nature.

The other two forms – the JV and WFOC – require foreign investors to own partially or wholly a Vietnam-based company. This foreign ownership can be achieved either by setting up a new company or through the foreign investor’s acquisition of share capital in an existing local company.

If choosing to set up a new company, whether a JV or WFOC, foreign investment is project-based, which must undergo two steps. First it is necessary to obtain an Investment Registration Certificate (IRC) approval for the proposed investment project. Second it is necessary to obtain an Enterprise Registration Certificate (ERC), setting up a company to run the approved project.

If choosing to acquire share capital in an existing local company (via M&A), the procedure is significantly simplified. No IRC is required. The general requirement is that the foreign investor conducts the M&A deal, and has it recorded in the relevant corporate registration documents of the target company (for example, the target’s amended ERC or the shareholders’ book) to reflect the foreign investor’s acquired share capital. Approval for the proposed M&A deal is only required when the target company is registered to engage in business lines conditional to foreign investment, or the target has 51% or more of its charter capital held by either: (i) a company with 51% or more charter capital held by foreign investors; or, (ii) a company with 51% or more of its charter capital held by the company in point (i).

Local status entitlement

This is the new legal regime’s most liberal improvement in favour of foreign investors, especially in those sectors where foreign investment is still subject to restrictions. In particular, under the LOI, a foreign invested enterprise (FIE) in which foreign investors hold, directly or indirectly, at least 51% of the FIE’s charter capital, will be treated as a ‘foreign investor’ in applying investment conditions and investment procedures. The others are treated as a ‘domestic investor’ with local status, and will be entitled to enjoy investment conditions and investment procedures applicable to domestic investors such as the freedom to invest in sectors still restricted to foreign investors.

This recognition of the LOI opens legal ways for foreign investors to enter into virtually any and all business sectors in Vietnam. As long as the foreign investor’s investment is structured to be entitled to local status, a foreign investor can invest, own and control their investment, even in sectors not yet open to foreign investment.

Highly restricted areas
Vietnam has a large potential logistics market, currently valued at approximately $60 billion and with an annual growth rate of 20%. As of 2016, all of Vietnam’s market openings to foreign investors in logistics services have become due. These can be grouped into three categories.

Group one is where foreign ownership is lifted completely, ie setting up a WFOC is allowed. This group includes: warehousing and storage services; freight transport agency services; and, maritime transportation services (except for operating a fleet under the national flag of Vietnam). Group two is where foreign ownership can be up to a majority, but a JV is still required. This group includes road transport services and transportation agency services (except for freight transport agency services). In group three foreign ownership is restricted to 50% or less. It includes: loading and unloading services; towage services in Vietnamese seaports; shipping agency services and maritime transportation services which operate a fleet under the national flag of Vietnam; internal waterway and rail transportation services; and, air transport business services.

Retail sector
Vietnam’s current population is approximately 92 million, more than 60% of which are of working age. Vietnam’s economy is growing fast (the GDP was 6.7% in 2015) and the middle-class is growing rapidly. During the last 10 years, Vietnam has been one of the world’s most buoyant retail markets. The current annual revenue of Vietnam’s retail market is approximately $110 billion. Over recent years, the Vietnamese consumer trend has shifted from traditional to modern shopping channels, offering huge opportunities for the retail sector.

A foreign investor can legally set up their subsidiary in Vietnam in the form of a WFOC to retail almost anything. There are a small number of restricted products such as cigarettes, books and newspapers, pharmaceutical products and drugs, explosives, processed oil and crude oil, and rice. The restrictions to foreign retailers are not in the form of a maximum foreign ownership. Rather, it resides in a tool that is potent to the retail sector: the Vietnam authority’s discretion to permit opening retail outlets– or the socalled Economics Needs Test (ENT). The ENT applies to all FIEs. With the ENT, the establishment of more than one outlet is subject to approval based on the number of existing service suppliers in a particular geographic area, and the stability of the market and geographic scale. These criteria are vague, and difficult to judge. They give the licensing authority a high degree of discretion to permit – or otherwise – a FIE to open retail outlets beyond the first. The success of a retail business depends heavily on the number of outlets, which in this case is subject to approval of the authority.

Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), Vietnam has committed to abolish the ENT within five years from the TPP’s effective date. This is positive news for foreign investors from TPP countries. Even so, during the next five years, a foreign-invested retail company must either accept being subject to ENT restrictions, or use special legal structures for their investment so as to enjoy local status, to win end-customers and build their retail outlets in this buoyant sector.

The pharmaceutical sector
Vietnam is the ASEAN’s third-largest by population. With living conditions improving rapidly, pharmaceuticals is one of the most lucrative sectors in the country. However, foreign investment into pharmaceuticals is welcomed only
in manufacturing, and is highly restricted in pharmaceutical retail. Despite the restrictions, as a result of the LOI’s liberal provisions, a foreign investor in pharmaceuticals can still find ways to achieve their commercial purposes either by using a special legal structure, licence partnerships, or product manufacturing arrangements.

Looking forward
Vietnam has recently made great efforts to improve its legal framework to attract more foreign investments. With the economy expanding and opening to foreign investors, the country seems to have committed to joining and playing by the rules of the global market. The playing field has become almost level, so foreign investments have never been so welcome. The coming years should see much more interesting competition and cooperation among investors.

By Vietnam Law Insight (LNT & Partners)

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact the author Hong Bui at ( or visit the website: Http://

In-House Congress Ho Chi Minh City 2016

LNT & Partners is delighted to present the third annual In-House Congress Ho Chi Minh City, which is part of the highly successful In-House Community Congress series, hosted by Pacific Business Press, will be held on 7 April 2016 at Lotte Legend Hotel Saigon.

In-House Congress Ho Chi Minh City 2016 will bring together leading in-house lawyers, CEOs, company directors and compliance professionals from both the private and public sectors in Vietnam. Delegates will participate in specific practice area workshops featuring prominent business leaders and private practice lawyers, hosted by leading law firms and industry experts.

Especially, Ms. Hoang Nguyen Ha Quyen, Partner in charge of Corporate practice at LNT & Partners will speak at the congress in a panel “The Biggest Challenges in my job are…?” and “A candid and off the record discussion on External Counsel Management, Cost Effectiveness and tried and trusted methods to enhance the reputation of the Legal Department“.

  • Ly C.T. Le, Legal and Public Affairs & Communications Director – Indochina, Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam
  • Jeff Olson, Partner, Ho Chi Minh City, Hogan Lovells
  • Eddie O’Shea, Senior Associate, Ho Chi Minh City, Hogan Lovells
  • Long Huynh, Senior Associate, Ho Chi Minh City, Hogan Lovells
  • Quynh-Anh Lam, Counsel, Hanoi, Hogan Lovells
  • Michael Sturrock, Partner, Singapore, Vice Chair of Global Corporate Department, Latham & Watkins
  • Posit Laohaphan, Partner, Hong Kong, Global Co-Chair Financial Institutions Industry Group, Latham & Watkins
  • Trinh Hoang, Associate, Hong Kong, Latham & Watkins
  • Hoang Nguyen Ha Quyen, Partner, LNT & Partners
  • Nguyen Huu Minh Nhut, Partner, Russin & Vecchi
  • Sesto E Vecchi, Partner, Russin & Vecchi
  • Vo Ha Duyen, Chairperson, VILAF
  • Nguyen Truc Hien, Ho Chi Minh City Office Managing Partner, VILAF
  • Patrick Dransfield, Publishing Director Asian-mena Counsel and Co-Director, In-House Community
  • Tim Gilkison, Director, In-House Community

08.30 – 09.00          Registration

09.00 – 10.30          Welcome Remarks by Tim Gilkison, Director, In-House Community. Followed by a panel discussion.

10.30 – 11.00          Networking Coffee Break

11.00 – 12.10           Practice Area Workshops – Session A

  • International Financing Options for Vietnamese Corporates
  • Investment Laws and Enterprise Laws

12.10 – 13.20           Lunch

13.20 – 14.30          Practice Area Workshops – Session B

  • Cross-border M&A in Vietnam
  • FCPA & Investigations

14.30 – 14.50          Networking Coffee Break

14.50 – 15.20          Practice Area Workshop – Session C

  • Competition regulations

15.20 – 16.00          Closing Panel

For further information and registration, please click HERE.

 Vietnam Law Insight

Legal briefing February, 2016

Please click here to download our report: Legal Briefing October _ LNTpartners

I. Circular No. 20/2015/TT-BTP giving details and providing guidelines for implementation of a number of articles of the Decree 23/2015/ND-CP dated 16 February 2015 issuing copies from masters registers, certification of true copies from originals, authentication of signatures and contracts (Circular 20)

Sector: Administrative

Effective date: 15 February 2016


Circular 20 has provided the guidelines for implementation of a number of articles on certification of true copies from originals, authentication of signatures, notarization of contracts, transactions, in particular:

Decree 23 has simplified the procedure on notarization of contracts. However, due to the unfamiliarity with new administrative procedures, some of local authorities themselves invent additional provisions or require additional documents in the notarization dossier. The Circular 20 has addressed this shortcoming: in receipt and settlement of the notarization requests, the notary is not allowed to invent any additional step, or request for more documents other than those stipulated in the Decree 23. Circular 20 also regulates that if the notary fails to settle the notarization requests within 15 hours and fails in producing results within one day or having to extend the settlement schedule under Article 21, 33, 37 of Decree 23, a clear appointment letter is required to be sent to the requester.

Besides the cumbersome in notarization, Decree 23 has not also detailed the template of testimonies on document of legacy inheritance, document of legacy refusal.  Consequently, the competent authorities were confused and even refused to authenticate. Therefore, Circular 20 has given details for this matter in Article 3.1 and issued a template attached with the Circular. In addition, Circular 20 also attached a sample of authentication testimony of signatures to ensure the consistency of application of the Circular.


Circular 20 expectedly settles the problems arising from implementation of Decree 23 such as the lack of templates and inconsistency of required dossier.

II. Circular No. 59/2015/TT-BLDTBXH detailing and guiding the implementation of some articles of the Law on Social Insurance on compulsory social insurance (Circular 59)

Sector: Insurance

Effective date: 15 February 2016


Circular 59 has various remarkable points as follows:

(i) Circular 59 supplements the provision on the payment of compulsory social insurance drawing from the monthly wage, allowances (from 1st January 2016 to 31th 2017), in which such allowances are the ones to offset the factors of working conditions, the complexity of work, activity conditions, level of labor attraction for which the agreed wage in labor contract is not calculated or incompletely calculated such as allowances of position, title, responsibility, heaviness, hazardousness, dangerousness, seniority, region, mobility, attraction and the like. Besides, the monthly wage paid for compulsory social insurance shall not include the other benefits and welfare, initiative bonus, meals between shifts, gasoline, telephone, travel, accommodation and child care allowances; assistance upon the death of employees’ relatives, the marriage of employees’ relatives, employees’ birthday, subsidy to the employees in difficult situation in case of work accident, occupational disease and other allowances and assistance recorded in separate items in the labor contract.

(ii) Circular 59 provides conditions to enjoy an one-time subsidy upon birth giving as follows: (a) In case only the father participates in the social insurance, the time of payment must be from full 06 months or more within the period of 12 months before birth giving; (b) For the husband of the mother requesting surrogacy, the social insurance payment must be from full 06 months or more within a period of 12 months to the time of child receipt.

(iii) Under Circular 59, when applying monthly pension, a rate of 2% of monthly pension shall be reduced for each year of retirement prior to the prescribed age, which is higher than the rate of 1% under Circular 03/2007//TT-BLDTBXH.

(iv) The rate of entitlement to enjoy one-time social insurance of the employees having the time of social insurance payment of less than 01 year is equal to 22% of the rates of monthly wage of social insurance payment; the maximum rate is equal to 02 months of the average monthly wage of social insurance payment.


Circular 59 has provided a means for realization of the Law on Social Insurance and Decree No. 115/2015/ND-CP. The Circular is expected to protect tens millions employees and financial resources of entities engaging in social insurance.

III. Circular No. 09/2015/TTLT-BCA-BYT-BTC guiding implementation of health care insurance applicable to employees, students, relations of solider of People’s Public Security of Vietnam (Circular 09)

Sector: Insurance

Effective date: 11 February 2016


Noticeably, Circular 09 details the scope of employees whose health insurance is contributed by the local Public Security and the employee themselves, and the ones whose health insurance is contributed by state budget. Accordingly, the relations of soldier, students of Public Security cultural school and foreign students who are granted scholarship at Public Security school shall enjoy the health insurance covered by the state budget.

Regarding the contribution responsibility in special cases, Circular 09 prescribes that within the time of sick leave from 14 days onward, in which the sick leave benefit is applicable, employees and their employers are not required to contribute into the health insurance while the health insurance benefit is still applicable.

Circular 09 provides that within the time of detention, in custody or temporarily suspended from their work before being investigated or judged guilty or not guilty of their offences, ratio applicable to health care insurance contribution shall be 4.5% of 50% of the monthly salary subject to social insurance contributions as stipulated by laws. The remaining contribution shall be contributed in case it is concluded that there is no violation accordingly.

Employees who are currently living and working abroad are not subject to health care insurance contribution within the period of being aboard. The period of being abroad shall be counted as uninterrupted in application of health care insurance contribution.


This Circular has come into effect from 11 February 2016. However, the provisions on contribution level, contribution liability, and contribution method in respect of health insurance have been effective since 1 January 2015.

IV. Decree No. 11/2016/ND-CP providing guidelines for implementation of Labor Code on foreigners working in Vietnam (Decree 11)

Sector: Labor

Effective date: 1 April 2016


The scope of foreigners who are exempted from work permit is extended to include experts, individuals being the chief executive officials or those holding management positions or technicians who work in Vietnam for less than 30 days per period and the total accumulated working day in Vietnam is no more than 90 days per year. Further, method for determination of an expert, a chief executive official and management positions is also detailed in this Decree.

Confirmation of demand for use of foreign employees by Chairman of provincial people’s committee is not required in particular cases, noticeably for foreign employees with abovementioned working period in Vietnam.


With respect to the application for obtaining work permit, in case a foreigner has been residing in Vietnam, only criminal record issued by competent authority in Vietnam is required. However, there is still no further clarification for applying this provision, i.e. how to determine that a foreigner has been residing in Vietnam. In addition, processing time for the issuance of work permit is shortened from 10 to 7 working days from full submission.


Decree 11 simplifies the process of work permit and facilitates favorable conditions for foreigners working in Vietnam.

V. Circular No. 36/2015/TT-NHNN on restructuring of credit institutions (Circular 36)

Sector: Banking and Finance

Effective date: 1 March 2016


Inheriting positive points of Circular 04 and being amended, supplemented to qualify requirements on restructuring of bank system and sustainable development of credit institutions system, Circular 36 has the following notable points:

  • The Circular 36 applies to credit institutions being commercial banks and finance companies only.
  • In addition to merger and consolidation, conversion of legal form of credit institutions is also be governed as one of restructuring form. Accordingly,
  • a commercial bank or finance company may convert from a limited liability company into a shareholding company, or vice versa; and a commercial bank or finance company may convert from a single member LLC into a multiple member LLC, or vice versa.
  • In case of conversion, the credit institution must have a conversion plan approved by its competent body and satisfy other requirements in accordance with laws.

It is strictly prohibited to disperse assets in any form.


Circular 36 is expected, by supplementing regulations regarding conversion of legal form of credit institution and improving regulations regarding merge and consolidation of credit institution, to create a bank system fully complying with current market principles.

By Vietnam Law Insight

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