Legal & Regulatory
By: Dezan Shira & Associates
The Office of Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, recently expanded the Lào Cai boarder-gate economic zone through the issuance of Decision 40/2016/QD-TTg. Issued on September 22nd, it clarifies the boundaries of the economic zone, which includes additional districts previously excluded from the zone’s coverage. Companies operating or establishing within the Lào Cai province will be the most likely to benefit from the expansion and should note that adjustments to the zone will take effect from November 15th.
Prior to the expansion, the Lào Cai border-gate economic zone was geographically limited by Decision 44/2008 QD-TTg to the Lào Cai border-gate international area and the Muong Khuong border-gate area. Annulling previous decisions on the matter, the Prime Minister’s latest announcement maintains coverage of previous location while including a number of new localities. Under the updated guidelines, companies operating in any of the following areas will be eligible for the zone’s incentives:
By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Vietnam’s state bank (SBV) has published a draft circular which looks set to limit the ability of foreign nationals to open and deposit within Vietnamese bank accounts. With significant interest rate differentials on the side of investors, as well as a healthy appetite for capital on the part of many governing officials, the announcement has naturally been met with mixed reactions.
Understanding Banking Limitations
Under the draft circular, it is stated that “depositors of Vietnamese and foreign currencies” would be open to Vietnamese citizens. While not explicitly banning foreigners, the specific nature of the regulation does bring into question the prevailing state of affairs with regard to banking within the country. Currently, given the proper documentation – usually a passport and valid visa – foreign nationals are permitted to open and operate vietnamese bank accounts. However, in recent years, the operation of these accounts has seen increased regulation. As per a decree released in 2014, foreign accounts have been restricted to denomination in Vietnamese Dong. It is feared that the omission of foreign nationals under the latest draft Circular would effectively end the ability of foreign nationals to deposit within the country all together.
By: South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk
On June 8, 2016, Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communication and the Ministry of Science and Technology issued a Joint Circular on the amendment and recovery of domain names which breach the law on intellectual property. The Joint Circular introduces a set of administrative proceedings that are available under the Vietnamese Law on Intellectual Property, for companies experiencing internet domain name infringement disputes. Such measures include clear deadlines for infringers to ensure they stop their activities and return the domain names to their rightful owners, as well as steps that the authorities can take if the infringers refuse to obey these regulations. Understanding these regulations will be of great benefit to a variety of investors keen on tapping into Vietnam.
New Exemption for Import and Export Duties
The Ministry of Finance on August 31 issued new guidelines in Law no 107/2016/QH13 on import and export duties. Goods that are eligible for duty exemption now include:
- Import duty exemption is now for both toll manufacturing and contract manufacturing.
- Goods that are temporarily imported or exported for warranty, repair, replacement and subject to certain conditions
- Goods that are filed under commercial temporary import for re-export custom procedures
- Materials, supplies, and components imported for digital content, information technology and software.
- Fertilizers and pesticides which cannot be locally made.
The above exemption will be welcomed by investors who want to enter the country. The exemption apply to items that are typically not found in the country or are difficult to get. Investors should look out for such sectors that are exempt to benefit from the latest regulations.
Licensing Procedures for Foreign Contractors Amended
New regulations by the Ministry of Construction was introduced for foreign construction contractors in relation to licensing procedures. The ministry came out with Circular 14/2016TT-BXD which went into effect on August 15. The regulation refers to foreign companies and individuals who want to conduct construction related activities in the country.
The changes have been made to the documentation requirements which must be submitted to the licensing authority. In addition, the process will take longer and will now be 20 days instead of the previous 15. License holders will now only need to submit annual operations reports instead of on a bi-annual basis. Licenses can be revoked if contractors have been sanctioned for violations twice as compared to three times before.
Vietnam, Cambodia to Strengthen Information Exchange
Vietnam’s government agencies will coordinate with Cambodia to deepen bilateral relations in all areas including information and communications. In a reception hosted by the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Sen urged greater information sharing between the two countries. Both the countries signed four cooperate documents including documents on information sharing between 2016-2020 between the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Cambodian Ministry of Information. The event was held in Phnom Penh on September 22 and 23. The developments bode well for investors in both countries.
Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email email@example.com or visit www.dezshira.com.
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Annual Audit and Compliance in Vietnam 2016
In this issue of Vietnam Briefing, we address pressing changes to audit procedures in 2016, and provide guidance on how to ensure that compliance tasks are completed in an efficient and effective manner. We highlight the continued convergence of VAS with IFRS, discuss the emergence of e-filing, and provide step-by-step instructions on audit and compliance procedures for Foreign Owned Enterprises (FOEs) as well as Representative Offices (ROs).
Navigating the Vietnam Supply Chain
In this edition of Vietnam Briefing, we discuss the advantages of the Vietnamese market over its regional competition and highlight where and how to implement successful investment projects. We examine tariff reduction schedules within the ACFTA and TPP, highlight considerations with regard to rules of origin, and outline the benefits of investing in Vietnam’s growing economic zones. Finally, we provide expert insight into the issues surrounding the creation of 100 percent Foreign Owned Enterprise in Vietnam.
Tax, Accounting and Audit in Vietnam 2016 (2nd Edition)
This edition of Tax, Accounting, and Audit in Vietnam, updated for 2016, offers a comprehensive overview of the major taxes foreign investors are likely to encounter when establishing or operating a business in Vietnam, as well as other tax-relevant obligations. This concise, detailed, yet pragmatic guide is ideal for CFOs, compliance officers and heads of accounting who must navigate Vietnam’s complex tax and accounting landscape in order to effectively manage and strategically plan their Vietnam operations.
By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Eugenia Lotova
Once a foreign investor has decided on Vietnam as a location to establish operations, the next big step is identifying where and how to obtain land for the business. In Vietnam, private ownership of land is technically not permitted, but the law allows ownership of a right to use land—called the Land Use Right (LUR). While this may seem like an inconvenient system, other countries such as the United Kingdom also employ this system without significantly constraining investors. In fact, with a proper understanding of current regulation, leasing land in Vietnam can provide all the resources for successful investment within the country.
With the Housing Law No. 65/2014/QH13 coming into effect on July 1st, 2015, foreigners in Vietnam have acquired many of the same land rights prescribed to Vietnamese nationals, particularly the right to own land. A non-Vietnamese entity can own land for up to 50 years, with the option to extend. Despite the liberalization, foreigners are still prohibited from possessing more than 30 percent of the apartments in a given building and more than 205 houses in an area where the population is that of a ward-administrative division.
Uber Required to Pay Tax
Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) issued a new rule making it mandatory for Uber to pay taxes in the country. Uber will be required to pay taxes as a foreign establishment, which earns income in Vietnam without resident offices. The tax amount will be based on revenue multiplied with the tax rate, which is 3 percent for value added tax (VAT) and 2 percent for corporate income tax (CIT). The MoF has asked Uber to ask either its subsidiary or a third party to pay the relevant taxes. Drivers that have signed contracts with Uber will be required to pay tax on their income.
Uber drivers will be taxed at 3 percent for VAT and 1.5 percent for individual income tax. Uber entered Vietnam in June 2014 and has been able to avoid paying taxes till now. Its rival Grab is registered and has already been paying taxes.
By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor (MOLISA) has released the text of proposed technical standards that, if enacted, would apply to companies involved in commercial forging – a key component of heavy manufacturing and related production. Outlined at the circular level, details of the proposal were made public on August 23rd and have been issued as a means of improving safety standards for workers within the country.
Understanding Technical Standards
Under the proposed circular, the following aspects of the forging process are set to be standardized and have been detailed extensively within the public draft:
- Requirements for the structural parts of the control system.
- System requirements for hydraulic cooling lubrication
- Requirements for pipes and pressure vessels
- Requirements for shielding
- Requirements for working platform and stairway work for workers
- Electrical safety requirements
Exposure and impact of these changes will likely be dictated by the current practices of companies involved in forging.
By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Vietnam’s conditional investment list may soon see the removal of a number of items related to healthcare and medical services following the submission of a proposal to the National Assembly on September 1. Included as part of a larger proposal to change the nation’s conditional investment list, the removal of items seek to amend the Law on Investment (No. 67/2014/QH13), passed in late 2014 and effective as of July 1, 2015. As adjustments to the conditional investment list are currently in a proposal form, specifics surrounding the time and date of implementation are currently not available.
Vietnam and Brunei to Boost Trade, Investment
Vietnam and Brunei are expected to improve trade and invest in several sectors in an effort to strengthen economic ties. During talks held in Brunei on August 26-28, Vietnam’s President, Tran Dai Quang, spoke of several ways in which both countries can cooperate. Dignitaries of both countries have vowed to increase trade to over US $500 million by 2025. In addition, business leaders of both countries signed various documents and have promised to expedite other agreements.
Among the documents signed were MoUs on Cultural Co-operation and Economic and Trade Co-operation, while the leaders applauded the progress on the defense MoU between the Royal Brunei Navy and Vietnam People’s Navy on Bilateral Co-operation which was signed in December 2013. Both governments have also agreed to have the Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) at an earliest date to expand cooperation between the countries. The governments of both countries now want to finalize the agreement on maritime transport. The developments bode well for Vietnam and Brunei as they seek to strengthen ties and plan for greater investment and cooperation.
By: Anh Ta
Vietnam’s National Wage Council has decided upon a modest 7.3 percent average increase in monthly minimum wages across the country for 2017. From January, workers must be compensated between minimums of VND 2.60 million (US$116) to VND 3.75 million (US$166). This is the lowest annual increase since 1997 and seems to be a compromise between the employers’ proposed increase of 5 percent and that of workers which pushed for an 11 percent increase. The decision also seems to be in response to competition from fellow manufacturing powerhouses in the region and hence primarily an effort to maintain its attractiveness to foreign investors and businesses.